Monday, February 6, 2017

Inspirational Story: Cartridge Maker Jerry Lawson


Fairchild Channel F gaming console
Jerry Lawson is a name in video game history that many don't know about, but when you review articles like this one linked above, you will realize that he should be more well known. Jerry Lawson should be held in an important light similar to that of Nolan Bushnell because Lawson was the creator of the video game cartridge. Yes, believe it or not, the very cartridges that us gamers used to buy at stores when we were young kids took root in the mind of Jerry Lawson.

I highly recommend that you go through this linked article and read what Anderson had done throughout his career in game development because he actually provided a lot of help for an industry that was just in its infancy. Lawson helped make video games for the Atari 2600 and for arcade machines. In fact Lawson produced one of the earliest arcade games in history. What was the name of that arcade game? Demolition Derby. Now whether or not you've ever heard of that arcade game it's interesting to note how Lawson is traced back to the very beginning of the Video Game Industry.

I personally would like to point out #8 on the list of 12 facts about Jerry Lawson. He had the support of his parents to pursue what he wanted to do, and that was to be a part of the Gaming Industry. I think this is important for many aspiring game devs because support has to come from somewhere. You have to have someone in your life who generally appreciates and respects your passion for wanting to make video games, and will encourage you to keep going no matter where you are in the game development stage. Encouraging others to chase their dreams and showing them that you care will go a long way. Believe me when I say that.

It is also worth noting which connections Lawson had in business that kept him afloat in the Gaming Industry. Check out Fact #3 where it states that the Homebrew Computer Club featured members such as Jerry Lawson and, surprise, Steve Jobs. Now I personally haven't been thrilled by any Steve Jobs business stories, but the point from me here is that in any club or organization that you join it helps to know someone who is chasing a dream similar to yours. Chances are Lawson got some information and advice from Steve Jobs that actually helped him to proceed in his career in the Gaming Industry, and for us game devs today it is that same scavenger hunt or sorts. You have to find notable people who can help you here and there.

November 1976 saw the release of the Fairchild Channel F console, making it the first ever video game console in existence. Not many people would know this fact, but when you dig into the details it turns out to be a very unique piece of gaming history.

The International Game Developers Association honored Lawson as a gaming pioneer in March 2011, and then 1 month later on April 9 Lawson passed away due to diabetes complications.

I'd like to pay tribute to Jerry Lawson here on the Gaming Journalist Gazette by submitting this post because his name is one that should be brought up more often in the archives of time in the Gaming Industry. Sometimes certain pieces of history get discarded for whatever reason, and it's up to us gamers in the present time to dig those pieces back up to the surface. Jerry Lawson was an innovator in gaming, and that's what I feel most of us aim to be in gaming. It all starts with a simple idea, and then it grows into something larger and more important than what you first thought it would be. When trying to present something that's revolutionary in gaming you have to make sure that it's tested and that it will fit in the Gaming Industry, that it will serve a real purpose.

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