Google often dedicates Google Doodles to important historical figures. Today, the company honored video game pioneer Jerry Lawson for his 82nd birthday. Lawson led the team that invented the video game cartridge in the 1970s. The interactive doodle enables you to design your own video game.
Lawson was born on December 1, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York. From an early age, he was very interested in electronics, often performing television repairs for neighbors and eventually building his own radio station out of recycled material. After attending Queens College of New York, he began his career in technology by moving to Palo Alto, California, and joining Fairchild Semiconductor as an engineer. While at Fairchild, he designed the Fairchild Channel F console, the first machine to employ ROM cartridges. His work earned him the title “father of the videogame cartridge.”
In the 1980s, Lawson started his own video game company, VideoSoft, which developed software for the Atari 2600. Although the company only lasted about five years, his work there was enough to cement his reputation as a trailblazer in the nascent video game industry. He went on to consult on various game projects throughout the years and was even an early member of the Homebrew Computer Club. Lawson died in 2011. He was 70 years old.
The interactive Google Doodle honoring Lawson allows you to select what kind of game you want to design and customize it to your liking. And when you’re done, you can share your creation with your friends. If you have trouble figuring out how exactly it works, there’s a fun tutorial to show you how it all works.