Jerry Lawson


Jerry Lawson
Brooklyn, NY
Death date
Associated organizations
Fairchild Semiconductor
Fields of study
Video games


Gerald (Jerry) Anderson Lawson was born on December 1, 1940 in Brooklyn, NY. He developed an early interest in radio and at the age of 13 received a ham radio license. As a teenager, he repaired television sets, and after graduating high school, attended both Queens College and City College of New York.

In 1970, he was employed by Fairchild Semiconductor, where in 1975, he designed a coin-operated arcade game Demolition Derby using Fairchild's F8 microprocessor. He was made Chief Hardware Engineer and Director of Engineering and Marketing for Fairchild's video game division, and was instrumental in the development of the 1976 Fairchild Channel F console. While not successful commercially, it was greatly influential in design to the Atari 2600. Lawson left Fairchild in 1980 to found Videosoft, focusing on video game development for the Atari 2600.

Lawson was recognized as an industry pioneer by the International Game Developers Association in 2011, and was the recipient of the 2019 ID@Xbox Gaming Heroes award from the Independent Games Festival, for his work in developing a cartridge-based console.

Lawson died on April 9, 2011.