Innovation – StoryCorps
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“He Created His Own Destiny”: Siblings Remember Their Video Game Pioneer Dad

Engineer Gerald Lawson was always fascinated with how things worked. 

He went from tinkering with TV parts as a young teen to helping lead the team that created the first ever home video game system that used interchangeable game cartridges. 

His invention allowed people to collect and play different games on the same system. It was one of the greatest technological innovations in the field — paving the way for a multi-billion dollar industry.

Lawson’s pioneering spirit also influenced the way he raised his two children, Anderson and Karen Lawson in 1970s Silicon Valley.

The Lawson Family: Catherine, Gerald, Anderson and Karen. Circa 1975. Courtesy of the participants.

Growing up, they remember a home filled with state-of-the-art technology — like an early digital clock and some of the first home computers. They came to StoryCorps to reflect on their unforgettable childhood and their father’s colossal personality.

Anderson, Gerald and Karen Lawson. 1973. Courtesy of the participants.
Top Photo: Anderson and Karen Lawson at their StoryCorps recording in Atlanta, GA in 2015. By Diana Guyton for StoryCorps.

Originally aired September 17, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.