Google Doodle celebrates Jerry Lawson, game cartridge inventor
If you love video games, then the Google Doodle for 1 December 2022 will be right up your alley. The custom Google logo for the day is actually a faux video game console, complete with a variety of different games, and a level editor that allows you to design your own games. It celebrates Jerry Lawson, the pioneering engineer who invented the video game cartridge in 1976. Lawson was born on 1 December 1940, and he would have been 82 years old in 2022.
After activating the Google Doodle, you’ll be thrown into a retro video game interface, where you’ll start out by controlling a little character that looks like Lawson, and learn a little bit about his history and influence as you move through a simple video game level.
You’ll then be prompted to edit the level yourself, play a variety of other different video games, and be encouraged to create your own video games and share them with the public.
Lawson’s influence on the video game industry we know today cannot be understated. His work on the Fairchild Channel F video game console, creating swappable video game cartridges, completely changed the way games were made – previously, software was programmed directly into the hardware.
Of course, he was also a pioneer in another regard – as he was one of the very first African Americans to ever work in the video game industry. Lawson was honoured as an industry pioneer by the International Game Developers Association in March 2011. A month later, he sadly passed away.
His legacy lives on, however, as a person that fundamentally changed the course of how people make video games. The new Google Doodle looks to inspire the same kind of creative thinking he encouraged, opening up the idea of video game-making to everyone who interacts with it.
Hopefully, it’ll inspire a few future pioneers.