Today's Google Doodle Honors The Creator of Video Game Cartridges

Gerald "Jerry" Lawson was one of the first Black engineers in the video game industry and led the development of the first gaming console with interchangeable cartridges.


Today's Google doodle highlights video cartridge creator Gerald "Jerry" Lawson, one of the first Black engineers in the video game industry.

Jerry Lawson' team at Fairchild Camera and Instrument developed the first console with interchangeable cartridges, the Channel F, in 1976. He got his start in games by developing his own arcade game, Demolition Derby, in his spare time. After exiting the video game industry after the 1983-84 crash, he mentored at Stanford and worked as a tech consultant. In the years since his passing in April 2011, USC Games opened an endowment fund in his name to assist Black and Indigenous students studying tech.

The Google doodle honors his legacy by letting aspiring designers and engineers make their own games, complete with cartridge theming. The game editor is a simple, browser version of something like Mario Maker. After playing a short introductory sequence to help you get familiar with the controls and editing tools, the doodle opens up to a menu, where you can play pre-made games as well as make and share your own.

Example games, which can all be edited, include a brickbreaker, several platformers, and a puzzle game. The games can also take on different tilesets. There are 8-bit and 16-bit style sets, featuring a Mario-like sprite of Jerry Lawson, a nature-inspired set called Butterflies, a cartoon candy world called Ice Cream, and a Halloween set called Spooky. It's fairly robust for a browser editor and it would be easy to make a simple arcade game, platformer, or puzzler in a matter of minutes.

The doodle was developed by Davionne Gooden, Lauren Brown, and Momo Pixel with collaboration from Lawson's two children, Anderson and Karen Lawson.

Grace Benfell on Google+

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 1 comments about this story