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Video game pioneer Gerald Lawson, co-inventor of the Channel F video game console, died this week from complications of diabetes. The LA Times wrote that his father was “a science-loving longshoreman” The obituary includes an except from a 2009 interview with Lawson in which his talks about the value of teachers and role models in shaping a young person’s destiny.

“He loved to teach,” said Erhart. “If there was a young person around,
he loved to slow down and talk to them at the level they could
understand and try to get them engaged in science and technology.”

The son of a science-loving longshoreman father and a mother who
worked for the city of New York, Lawson was born in Brooklyn on Dec.
1, 1940, and grew up in Queens.

His mother saw to it that he received a good education.

“When she went to a school, she would interview the teachers, the
principal, and if they didn’t pass her test, I didn’t go to that
school,” he said in a 2009 interview with the website Vintage
Computing and Gaming.

A photo of black scientist and inventor George Washington Carver on
the wall next to his desk in the first grade — and a comment by his
teacher — made a lasting impact on young Lawson.

“She said, ‘This could be you,'” he recalled in the 2009 interview.
“Now, the point I’m getting at is, this kind of influence is what led
me to feel, ‘I want to be a scientist. I want to be something.'”

While growing up, he made and sold walkie-talkies, built an amateur
radio station in the housing project his family lived in and repaired
TVs at different shops.

Gerald Lawson dies at 70; engineer brought cartridge-based video game consoles to life

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.


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