Bill Kunkel (Electronic Games, Sega Visions)
I'm going to announce the first batch of industry legends we've confirmed attendance for at this year's Classic Gaming Expo at the Classic Gaming Expo site, but in this forum I'm going to detail them. Take note of games and items that you might want to bring along for signatures!
Bill Kunkel is, literally, the co-creator of the field of electronic game-related journalism. After collecting a decade or so of experience as a professional musician; comic book writer (for publishers DC, Marvel and Harvey); and pro wrestling journalist (editor of MAIN EVENT magazine and co-host of The Main Event Radio Show in NYC), he and long-time partner Arnie Katz conceived and authored Arcade Alley - the first newsstand magazine column dedicated exclusively to the review of video and computer games - in 1978 for Video magazine. The success of that column led directly to the duo's launch of Electronic Games magazine, the first newsstand periodical to cover the entire new world of interactive electronic gaming, from handhelds, video games and computer software to state-of-the-art coin-op coverage. EG was created for Reese Communications in 1981 and Kunkel served as Executive Editor of the magazine until he left Reese in January '95 after the firing of his partners Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley.
The trio then formed Katz Kunkel Worley Inc. (KKW) as a vehicle for providing print and online sources with journalistic content, and Subway Software as a vehicle for game design. Kunkel has written on the subject of electronic entertainment for The NY Times, Town & Country, Games, Mondo 2000 and Computer Gaming World. In addition, he has written extensively for both consumer game magazines and business magazines covering the wide world of electronic entertainment software. He has been interviewed in numerous books on the subject and has appeared regularly on TV and radio shows, and documentaries.
Through KKW, Kunkel did everything from helping design new magazines -- including Video Games & Computer Entertainment (for Larry Flynt Publications) in 1987, the original Sega Visions and a new incarnation of Electronic Games (published by Decker/Sendai) in 1992 -- to serving as an expert witness in several major industry litigations (including Galoob vs Nintendo and Capcom vs Data East). During his tenure with Sendai/Decker, he began writing his popular column "The Kunkel Report" featuring his extremely personal views of the industry. Kunkel also continued the Game Doctor column which he had created in 1981 for the original EG and subsequently revived in such varied publications as Computer Gaming World, EGM, Computer Gaming Review, Sega Visions and Video Games & Computer Entertainment. It was at this point that Sendai stipulated that the Game Doctor character belonged exclusively to Kunkel, who has retained it both in print and on-line ever since.
Through the Subway Software side of the business, Kunkel worked extensively as a game designer/consultant/design doctor, with nearly two dozen computer and video game credits that include Batman Returns (Konami), Blood Bowl (MicroLeague), Ringling Bros. Barnum & Baily Circus Games (Tynesoft), The Omnicron Conspiracy (Epyx), Borrowed Time (Interplay), Bart's Nightmare (Acclaim), Star Trek: First Contact (Simon & Schuster--this is the original version from the mid-80s, not a work based on the recent film of the same title) and Superman, Man of Steel (Intracorp).
In 1994, Kunkel left what had become Katz Kunkel Worley & Dille, Inc. (KKWD) and created Fog Studios with partner Ed Dille and an impressive crew of exclusive talent (including Steve Honeywell, flight sim expert Tom Basham, news maven Laurie Yates and Webmaster/writer Kevin Perry). This group co-founded the magazine PC Ace before going on to help make Attitude Network's Happy Puppy (www.happypuppy.com) site the number seven destination on the WWW according to Web 21 (up there with AOL, Compuserve and Netscape) before the entire Fog crew departed as the result of differences with Attitude Network in December '96.
Without a sufficiently large vehicle to support it, Fog broke up into a series of smaller companies, one of which became Kunkel Enterprises Inc., aka Spyglass Studios. This group served as the content provider for Metropolis Media's PC Gamefan site -- an attempt to "brand" the GameFan name beyond the video game universe -- through most of 1997. The period of employment with Metropolis Media saw Kunkel provide original news and PC-related content to the site, while also working on the creation of a print magazine, Gamefan Sports Network, an all-platform print publication devoted to coverage of all types of sports games. Kunkel was in charge of features (including interviews with Don Daglow, Scott Orr and Tony LaRussa in the first two issues) and all PC reviews and previews, working closely with an inexperienced-but-talented young editor, Rustin Lee who was based in the GameFan offices in Los Angeles. Remote-control editing has become one of Kunkel's specialties since moving from New York City to Las Vegas in 1989.
Kunkel next began working as an editor-columnist for the Inside Games (www.insidegames.com) site, where he reunited with old partners Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley. He continues to generate his column "The Kunkel Report" on the site until the end of 1998.
Kunkel Enterprises (aka Spyglass Studios) are also involved in any book or film projects generated by the Running With Scissors' game, Postal and maintains an ongoing consulting relationship with Platinum Studios and a primary contract position with EBCI, a new educational institution which looks to become the first North American school to teach students electronic game development, with courses in design, art, music and programming a Canadian-based school that intends to offer education to students of Electronic Game Design throughout North America.
In addition to his journalistic work, Kunkel has consulted for just about every major player in the entertainment software field, with a specialty in legal consultation. In 1993, Kunkel also began a mini-career as the author of game strategy books for Prima Publishing, producing guides (sometimes alone, sometimes with a co-author from the Fog group) for Maximum Carnage (Acclaim), Descent (Interplay) (which has been reprinted in several languages), FPS: Baseball (Dynamix) and Gex (Crystal Dynamics), among several others. Kunkel and co-author Ken Vance most recently completed the strategy guide to Die Hard Trilogy (Fox Interactive) for Metropolis Media and a football strategy guide to NFL Quarterback Club '98 and Madden 64 for the N64 for Brady.
Kunkel is currently Director of Interactive Development for Platinum Studios, an amazing media content provider founded by former Malibu Comics owner and media visionary Scott-Mitchell Rosenberg (the man who published the comic book version of Men in Black and then fought for years to bring it to the screen) and European comic book legend Ervin Rustemagic. "Working at Platinum Studios is the ultimate dream job for someone like me," Bill exults. "Generating ideas and stories for movies, TV, comic books, and electronic games? I couldn’t make up a job this great if they let me." While a relatively new company (just over a year old), Platinum has already placed several key film projects (including Cowboys & Aliens with Dreamworks, and Dead of Night with Dimension), has successful TV shows on the air (the animated Men in Black series and Nightman) and produces its own original graphic novels in addition to its ownership of over a thousand of Europe’s most successful comic book licenses (Jeremiah, Dylan Dog, Nathan Never, Legs Weaver, etc.). "In another year," Kunkel predicts, "This will be one of the hottest multi-media entertainment companies in the business. The level of talent and professionalism here just stuns me. I have never been happier in over a quarter century as a writer."
Today, you can also find Mr. Kunkel at the Digital Press site, writing the ever-fascinating The Kunkel Report.
Banana (Level 7)
DP, tell Bill that I just borrowed his book from the library!
It's called: "The Player's Strategy Guide to Atari VCS Home Video Games".
It's a fun read!
I think you just told him, since he's sure to read this thread
Originally Posted by dreamcaster
Banana (Level 7)
Oh, I didn't know he browsed the forums.
The books in quite good condition for 1982.
*dreamcaster considers keeping the book and just paying for the replacement fee that they'll charge him...*
//checks original of Borrowed Time for C64...
Cool... script writing huh? Looks like I might just bring it with me for him to sign then
drowning in medals
I'd say it's worth it, but think of all the little grubby children who'll never get to read the book now that you've taken it! :O
Originally Posted by dreamcaster