Lawson still hip for new generation of gamers

A Great Day in Gaming
One of the drawbacks of black innovation is the tendency to discard past advances in favor of the hottest new thing.
That didn’t happen when Gerald A. Lawson attended his first Game Developers Conference.
Lawson invented the Channel F, the first video game console with a removable cartridge, between 1972 and 1976 for Fairchild.
A front page article in the San Jose Mercury News this morning introduced him to today’s gamers.
But there was nothing like meeting him in person.
Lawson demonstrated that not only had technology not passed him by, but today’s products still haven’t caught up to his fertile mind.
One could hear a pin drop as he gave a very contemporary analysis of the gaming industry.
Robert Miles of Sega of America and Anime Superstar couldn’t wait to come up to Lawson. He told the great inventor that his father had brought him to a meeting with Lawson when Miles was eight years old.
Miles was so inspired that he went into the video game industry and has thrived for two decades.
Gordon Bellamy, the new African-American executive director of the International Game Developers Association, was meeting Lawson for the first time although he also had been in the industry for more than two decades.
Bellamy told Lawson he would do everything possible to provide the inventor with new outlets to express his very contemporary thoughts about the direction of the gaming industry.
Lawson is one of the pioneers featured in Freedom Riders of the Cutting Edge, a documentary which unlocks the incredible contributions of African-Americans to today’s high technology as early as the 1950s, when many of their fellow African-Americans could not even pursue any but the most menial jobs.
The video game innovator broke out in a smile as the gamers surrounded him for a photo in the IGDA lounge. In phone conversations earlier, he’d been somewhat regretful that more blacks had not followed him into the industry.
Today, he got to see how important his legacy has been.

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