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Thread: Jerry Lawson passed away (developed Fairchild Channel F video game console)

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    Exclamation Jerry Lawson passed away (developed Fairchild Channel F video game console)

    Jerry Lawson passed away Saturday morning (4/9/2011).

    A Memorial service is being planned. I will post more information regarding memorial services, etc. as I get it.

    Here is a link to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News about Jerry.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/...nclick_check=1

    Here is another interview with Jerry.
    http://www.vintagecomputing.com/index.php/archives/545

    Here are some links to YouTube videos of Jerry doing a Q&A after a presentation about the Channel F at VCF 9.0:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqiKTG_ONaA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H161f...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boYwN...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ynvq...eature=related

    If anyone has pictures or stories that they would like to share at the memorial service, please contact me so I can include them.

    He will be sorely missed.

    Regards,
    david.
    -------------------------
    David W. Erhart
    david@daviderhart.com
    daviderhart@hotmail.com

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    I'm glad that he was honored at the GDC before he passed, that was long overdue. After reading up on him, I'd guess why he never made a fuss about being a pioneer was because he was an engineer to the core, they're in it for the technological challenges rather than the glory. Like Steve Wozniak, who retired from Apple and ended up spending his time teaching computers to underprivileged kids, hoping to encourage those kids to become engineers.

    He also worked on the game Death Race, didn't he? I could swear that I'd read that he was quietly working on that as a freelancer, and after it hit the arcades (and drew all the controversy) Fairchild's management found out and asked him if he could create a game console for them out of the company's electronics components.

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    I'm a gen 3 and on gamer but this guy's interviews are amazing. I could listen forever. What a cool guy, sucks that he's gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve W View Post
    I'm glad that he was honored at the GDC before he passed, that was long overdue.
    Ditto. I've never played the system he worked on or any of his games but the man deserved to be recognized for all his hard work.
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    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read up on a true legend in the field that I knew nothing about. A truly amazing story, one that everyone should read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daviderhart View Post
    Jerry Lawson passed away Saturday morning (4/9/2011).
    If anyone has pictures or stories that they would like to share at the memorial service, please contact me so I can include them.
    My memory of Jerry was during the 2004 CGE in San Jose. Jerry gave a keynote speech, which, unfortunately, was sparsely attended (unlike the Steve Wozniak keynote in the same room where all seats were filled). I had the honor of introducing Jerry to the crowd and I had to help him up from his wheelchair to his seat on the stage. About five minutes into his talk, the fire alarm rang and we had to evacuate the building. I helped Jerry back down to his wheelchair and then waited with him until we could reenter. When he resumed his talk, there were less people in attendence then before the fire alarm, something that I was very upset about, but Jerry never said anything about it.

    The same thing happened last year at CGE when I interviewed Ralph Baer via Skype....very few people came to see it.

    Most gamers don't realize that it's very rare that you can meet and talk with living legends (how many of us would have loved to meet Thomas Edison?). In the videogame industry, we still have the opportunity. Ralph Baer is 89. Jerry wasn't nearly as old (I believe he was 71) but he has been in poor health for many years, and yet he still dedicated a lot of his time to our community. We should cherish these legends while we still have them.
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    Thanks for the heads-up David, I'm spreading this around so people recognize who Jerry was:

    http://www.1up.com/news/video-game-p...ry-lawson-dies

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    Pretty sad news. I remember that panel, though I don't recall why I didn't go. I suspect it may have had to do with a killer hangover. It sounded really cool, however, and Lawson's contributions really do deserve more recognition. For my money he's right up there with Bushnell, Baer, and Yokoi.

    Excellent time to go check out the mp3 of that panel in the Digital Press archives.
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    I remember that mp3. He seemed like a really interesting guy. RIP Jerry Lawson.


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    Where can I get this mp3? Sounds interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingzrow View Post
    Where can I get this mp3? Sounds interesting.
    http://www.digitpress.com/cge/2k4_mp3/2k4_mp3.htm

    Right here. There's some pretty good stuff to listen to on the page.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rolenta View Post
    Most gamers don't realize that it's very rare that you can meet and talk with living legends (how many of us would have loved to meet Thomas Edison?). In the videogame industry, we still have the opportunity. Ralph Baer is 89. Jerry wasn't nearly as old (I believe he was 71) but he has been in poor health for many years, and yet he still dedicated a lot of his time to our community. We should cherish these legends while we still have them.
    Very well put.
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    I'm happy to say that, despite the fire alarm, I was one of the people there. Saw him twice at CGE actually. Bummed to hear he's gone. :-(
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    Quote Originally Posted by rolenta View Post
    My memory of Jerry was during the 2004 CGE in San Jose. Jerry gave a keynote speech, which, unfortunately, was sparsely attended (unlike the Steve Wozniak keynote in the same room where all seats were filled). I had the honor of introducing Jerry to the crowd and I had to help him up from his wheelchair to his seat on the stage. About five minutes into his talk, the fire alarm rang and we had to evacuate the building. I helped Jerry back down to his wheelchair and then waited with him until we could reenter. When he resumed his talk, there were less people in attendence then before the fire alarm, something that I was very upset about, but Jerry never said anything about it.

    The same thing happened last year at CGE when I interviewed Ralph Baer via Skype....very few people came to see it.

    Most gamers don't realize that it's very rare that you can meet and talk with living legends (how many of us would have loved to meet Thomas Edison?). In the videogame industry, we still have the opportunity. Ralph Baer is 89. Jerry wasn't nearly as old (I believe he was 71) but he has been in poor health for many years, and yet he still dedicated a lot of his time to our community. We should cherish these legends while we still have them.
    I remember being there and seeing that. Hearing him speak was the highlight of my trip.
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    I was there at the CGE 2004 as well, and it was incredible to hear him talk. Such a nice guy, this is terrible news.
    I totally agree with you rolenta, we are really fortunate to be able to meet living legends such as Jerry.

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    I found a site with a few more articles:
    http://www.topix.com/search/article?...wson&x=37&y=12

    There's also a nice article on The New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/te...=lawson&st=cse


    Truly sad news. I last spoke with him 2 weeks ago, and he was as I've always known him to be - upbeat and entertaining. David contacted me over the weekend to confirm the sad news of Jerry's passing. He was truly an icon in the industry, in every sense of the word. Not to mention one helluva engineer, and a good friend, and I'm honored to have met and known him.
    Last edited by stonic; 04-15-2011 at 10:59 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonic View Post
    I found a site with a few more articles:
    http://www.topix.com/search/article?...wson&x=37&y=12

    Truly sad news. I last spoke with him 2 weeks ago, and he was as I've always known him to be - upbeat and entertaining. David contacted me over the weekend to confirm the sad news of Jerry's passing. He was truly an icon in the industry, in every sense of the word. Not to mention one helluva engineer, and a good friend, and I'm honored to have met and known him.
    +1,000,000.

    I've been hoping this was all a case of mistaken identity, like the rumor started because someone misspelled the name. Very sorry to hear that it's not. The world has lost a true pioneer, an icon, and a great guy.
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    Exclamation Jerry Lawson (Fairchild Channel F) - Memorial Celebration details

    Jerry Lawson passed away Saturday morning (4/9/2011).

    The Memorial Celebration is:
    Thursday May 19th, 7:30pm-10pm
    David's Restaurant
    5151 Stars and Stripes Drive
    Santa Clara, California 95054
    David's Restaurant is located at the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club, next to the Santa Clara Convention Center. Some light food/appetizers will be served.

    Here is a link to Google maps for directions to David's Restaurant: http://tinyurl.com/3q6odnb

    Here is a link to restaurantís site: http://www.davidsbanquetfacility.com/door/

    Regards,
    david.
    -------------------------
    David W. Erhart
    david@daviderhart.com
    daviderhart@hotmail.com

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    I interviewed Jerry for an hour and a half at CGE 2005. I've released the entire interview, uncut on RetroGaming Radio's website. A great man, with a great past (fantastic stories too).

    More info can be found at: http://bit.ly/gJp1Re

    You can find my pics of him from the interview at: http://www.retrogamingradio.com/cge/...05/index8.html

    A fantastic guy. He will be missed.
    Shane R. Monroe
    Host, RetroGaming Radio

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    Here is a new article about Jerry Lawson for Black History Month. (But seriously, this man shouldn't be remembered "just because he was 'black'" - "race" didn't matter to Jerry, and he should be remembered because he was nice and awesome!)

    http://www.techtimes.com/articles/34...rry-lawson.htm

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    Well said, skin color had nothing to do with his talent, and I never get the whole race card garbage anyway, the race is human and you're part of it or not. There is no need for special skin color shade of human month whichever it is. My mom surprised me as I never thought she liked games more than Pac-Man or SMB when we got the NES in the 80s, but one day I found out not only did her best friend have a console at her place for when we were bored, but my mom had the same one boxed up in the garage which I resurrected -- Fairchild Channel F 2 and it was ugly as sin and very based buzzy audio but it has some really fun games on those 8track looking carts. He did pioneer something great.

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    He should be remembered for inventing the cartridge, which essentially set up the business model for the more successful home consoles.

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