Fairchild Channel F inventor Lawson dies

Created Demolition Derby arcade, too.

Jerry Lawson, the African American inventor who designed the Fairchild Channel F console, has died.

He passed away due to unknown causes on Saturday morning. He was 70.

His Fairchild Channel F console, released August 1976 for the price of $169.95, pioneered changeable cartridges. The Atari 2600 didn't show up until a year later.

Games available for Fairchild Channel F included the iconic Space War as well as Video Black Jack and Spitfire.

"He's absolutely a pioneer," declared Pong designer Al Alcorn in a San Jose Mercury News piece. "When you do something for the first time, there is nothing to copy."

Lawson went on to found VideoSoft and produce six unreleased games for the Atari 2600.

Lawson was also apparently part of a computer hobbyists group that counted Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak among its number. Lawson is also credited with creating the Demolition Derby arcade machine.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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