Jerry Lawson: Father of the Video Game Cartridge

Jerry Lawson was an engineer from New York who had arrived at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1970 after having worked at various companies in the defense electronics industry. Working as part of their customer engagement effort, he achieved prominence in the company by revolutionising the point of contact with the customer using an RV (yes, a camping vehicle) converted as a demonstration lab for Fairchild products. He was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to be a member of the famous Homebrew Computer Club, cradle of so much of the later microcomputer industry, which put him at the center of a web of contacts covering the games business as it was in the early 1970s.

Though his employer was not involved in gaming, Jerry got his start in that field as a side project. When his friend Allan Alcorn installed the first Pong machine in Andy Capp’s Tavern it suffered from customers interfering with its coin mechanism to score free plays, so Jerry produced a game cabinet of his own called Demolition Derby that had a more robust system. This led to Fairchild Semiconductor International offering him the chance to start their new video game division, and the road to the Channel F was laid.

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There are many names from the annals of computing history who roll off the tongue. People such as Jobs and Wozniak, Bushnell, Dabney, Sinclair, Miyamoto, or Miner. We should also add Jerry Lawson to that list, as his vision to make one console and sell multiple games, done inexpensively with the use of the PCB edge connector, set the standard for decades to come.

via Jerry Lawson And The Fairchild Channel F; Father of the Video Game Cartridge — Hackaday

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