Jerry Lawson, a self-taught engineer, escaped the streets of Queens, New York, and made his way to Silicon Valley as part of an elite computer engineering group called Homebrew Computer Club.
It was at Homebrew that he cooked up this iconic innovation.
The video game cartridge. Before Lawson’s innovation, games were stored in the system’s memory, allowing users only to play pre-programmed games. His design was so advanced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) inspected each one before approving it, as there had been no regulations for this type of technology.
And guess who his inspiration was.
He kept Carver’s photograph on the wall near his desk. Lawson realized early on the importance of mentors and relentlessly pushed for more of our people to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
Today, video games have advanced into a new world, including virtual reality and the metaverse. Lawson deserves credit for inspiring these advances to be possible.
Jerry Lawson made history as a groundbreaking professional game developer. By following his passion while reaching back to encourage the next generation of our people, he gave us the blueprint for helping each other dream and innovate into the future.