Today’s Google Doodle is in honor of Jerry Lawson, the engineer who designed Channel F, the first gaming console to use removable cartridges. Today would have been his 82nd birthday.
Prior to this innovation, video game consoles were dedicated, meaning that they could only play a single pre-programmed and hard-coded game (usually Pong or some variation thereof.) Lawson’s innovation opened the door to longer console life, providing a cheaper means to extend the usefulness of the console base by making it simple to swap out the software that ran on it, allowing gamers to accrue a library of games that could all be played on one system, rather than having to disconnect and hook up a different system for each game they wished to own.
Sadly Jerry is no longer with us, as he passed away in 2011, but he is immortalized through his engineering accomplishments, which hundreds of millions of gamers have been able to appreciate over a span of nearly 50 years and counting.
Thank you, Jerry.