Al Backiel is just one of those guys that can't get enoughof video gaming. How well we can relate to that. His specialty is Atari 2600,and you can reach Al at

A Salute to "Video Game Update"

by Al Backiel

Dates: Jan’82 - July’90
# of issues: 100 + 1 index and 1 special edition
Publisher: same as title

VGU wasn’t exactly a fanzine, even though it was independently produced. It was an average of 16 pages of professionally done and somewhat unbiased info about the latest video game products. It started out as an informational newsletter to customers of a mail order company called Video Game Takeout. It had a surprisingly long run for an independent b/w publication. VGU survived the Crash of ’84 and continued into the Nintendo era. It saw the intro of Sega and the first signs of CD-Rom games. It added a computer games section when they gained in popularity. I found VGU to be a great source of information, reviews and listings during the early days of video gaming. They were notable for their programmer interviews, CES (pre-E3 industry convention) reports and annual best game awards. I got my name in an early issue as the discoverer of the “Easter egg” in Desert Falcon (2600). New games were rated separately for graphics followed by game play.

A regular feature was a complete listing of all soon to be released games. This list was constantly being updated to reflect delays in release dates, cancels, name changes and additions. A lot of titles wound up as vaporware and never got past the prototype stage. VGU ended rather abruptly and I still don’t know why. If anyone knows what happened, please email me. Celeste Dolan, if you’re still out there, I would love to hear from you again. One of my user friends clued me into VGU and I managed to get several gems for my game collection. In this issue I would like to reprint some of those articles strictly for nostalgia purposes. The companies mentioned most likely no longer exist.

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