If you haven’t checked out today’s Google Doodle, we recommend checking it out before reading this article. It’s both a tribute to an incredible figure in video game history and a pretty fun game in its own right.
Doodles are known for their quirky tributes to people and events, but today’s one is especially special for those of us interested in gaming.
This isn’t the first time the Google logo temporary change has taken the form of a video game (we’ve certainly played Google Pac-Man a little too long), but it’s rare for the Doodle to become an interactive meta homage like that of today. It’s educational, quite fun and a fitting testament to a great figure.
By playing the interactive Doodle, you not only learn about one of the most inspiring and influential pioneers of game design, but you also get to design games yourself.
So if you haven’t played it yet, go check it out – it won’t take long. But keep reading if you want to know more about the brilliant Jerry Lawson.
Who is Jerry Lawson? Today’s Google Doodle explained
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1940, Jerry Lawson would build his own radio station at age 13 and then develop what would become the widely used removable game cartridges in adulthood.
Black Enterprise magazine called him the “father of the video game cartridge” in 1982. pause button on a home game console, so you have it to thank for those much-needed toilet breaks in the middle of a cramped situation.
In the mid-1970s, he was one of the few black members of the Homebrew Computer Club – a set that included Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. In fact, he once interviewed Wozniak for a position at his company (Fairchild) – Woz didn’t get the job.
In one of his last interviews, Lawson told Vintage Computing, “I think when kids go there [the Computer Museum, where he was made a fellow] – Black kids – and they see someone who is black, it will make a big difference to them.
To learn more about him, you should watch High Score, a 2020 Netflix series. In the first episode, his children, Karen and Anderson, tell his story. The Command Line Heroes series also devoted an episode to him entitled Jerry Lawson: The Engineer Who Changed the Game.
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Today would have been his 82nd birthday, so what better time to acknowledge and admire his legacy?
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