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GAME DAY

Press Release Date 
Thursday, 9 June, 2011
"To me, a game should be something like a skill you should develop - if you play this game, you walk away with something of value"- Gerald A. Lawson Gerald A. Lawson lived his life believing one of the quotes of the "Great Emancipator," Abraham Lincoln: "All through life, be sure and put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm." Lawson stood firm with his ideas and ended up changing video gaming technology into the global giant it is today. He was the inventor of the first video game cartridge to be used in a console, the Channel F for Fairchild Semiconductor, developed in 1972. Lawson's pioneering ways will be recalled June 18, during San Jose's "Juneteenth" celebration when The Tech Museum premieres "A Great Day in Gaming: From South Bronx to Silicon Valley - The Gerald A. Lawson Story," an hour-long documentary that tells the story of the largely self-taught engineer who made it possible to play video games at home - setting the groundwork for what would become an obsession decades later for millions of electronic gamers worldwide. The film, co-produced by John William Templeton, former editor of the San Jose Business Journal, and filmmaker William Hammons II, includes footage of Lawson attending the Game Developers Conference weeks prior to his passing. Although he lost his battle with diabetes in April, his legacy lives on in the consoles of today, such as the Xbox360, the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. "That we live among these giants in the field and have no idea who they are or the trails they've blazed for us is unacceptable," Templeton said. "That has to change and I'm excited that The Tech Museum, as part of its mission, is helping to shed light on these very important people and their contributions to Silicon Valley." The film will be followed by a panel discussion including notable techies such as Silicon Valley Hall of Famer and chairman of Rod-L Electronics Roy Clay, Sr.; Ken Coleman, chairman of MIPS Technologies and Accelrys; technology transfer pioneer Scott Taper; Dr. Thomas Mensah, CEO, Georgia Aerospace and Green Energy Transportation Systems, and Bill Stewart, president of Apollo Programming. The screening and discussion will be presented against the backdrop of an exhibition that includes examples of new products from participants in the Catapult Innovation Competition, a 12-city tour to find the best manufacturing ventures among black entrepreneurs worldwide. The Juneteenth celebration is an event celebrated countrywide in commemoration with the ending of slavery in the United States. Though President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to be effective by January 1, 1863, it had little effect to slaves in the Confederate States of the U.S. Juneteenth represents June 18 and 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take over the state and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations. Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year. "This exciting celebration represents an important part of American history - one that gives us an opportunity today to recognize the groundbreaking achievements of African-Americans, particularly those who had a hand in the success story that is Silicon Valley. Gerald Lawson was one such person," said Mike Hackworth, museum board member, currently serving as Interim Museum President. "Lawson was the embodiment of the museum mission we hold dear - to create experiences that educate, inform, provoke thought and inspire action." WHEN: Saturday, June 18, begins 11:00 a.m. WHERE: New Venture Hall - Free and open to the public Contact: Roqua Montez Director of Public Relations +1 (408) 795-6225 rmontez@thetech.org About The Tech Museum The Tech Museum is a hands-on science and technology institution designed to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in experiences that educate, inform, provoke thought, and inspire action. Ensconced in the heart of Silicon Valley, the museum captures the spirit of the region through innovative content and programs such as The Tech Challenge, our annual team design competition for youth, and the internationally renowned The Tech Awards, which recognizes technology to benefit humanity. Daily, The Tech Museum celebrates the present and encourages the development of pioneering ideas for a more promising future.