Wow… didn’t know a black guy had a hand in this first videogaming system…
Consider the humble video game cartridge. It’s a small, durable plastic box that imparts the most immediate, user-friendly software experience ever created. Just plug it in, and you’re playing a game in seconds.
If you’ve ever used one, you have two men to thank: Wallace Kirschner and Lawrence Haskel, who invented the game cartridge 40 years ago while working at an obscure company and rebounding from a business failure. Once the pair’s programmable system had been streamlined and turned into a commercial product—the Channel F console—by a team at pioneering electronics company Fairchild, it changed the fundamental business model of home video games forever. By injecting flexibility into a new technology, it paved the way for massive industry growth and the birth of a new creative medium.
Almost two decades ago, cheaper means of distributing game software—first optical media, then the Internet—began to supplant cartridge technology. Even so, the business model created by Kirschner, Haskel, and engineers at Fairchild still remains as relevant as ever. Until now, their amazing story has never been told.