Jon-Paul Dyson

Bill Kunkel, 1950-2011: Video Game Journalism Pioneer

On September 4th, the video game industry lost a true pioneer. Bill Kunkel, founder of Electronic Games magazine and longtime video game journalist, passed away at the age of 61.

Kunkel began his career writing comic books and covering the wrestling industry, but he made his greatest impact as a journalist chronicling, celebrating, and critiquing video games. Over the years he worked on numerous publications, designed games and taught about them, and in 1981 cofounded, with Arnie Katz and Joyce Wetzel, Electronic Games magazine.

Ten Good Books on Video Game History

This summer three students provided important assistance to ICHEG. Two Rochester Institute of Technology game design majors, Ned Blakely and Matt Fico, upgraded equipment in our research lab, captured game footage for archival purposes, and created multimedia experiences to include in our eGameRevolution exhibit opening this November. Josh Keaton, a student from the State University of New York at Brockport, assisted with background research for the exhibit. Here, in no particular order, are ten books Josh found helpful:

Happy Birthday Home Video Games!

Home video games turn 45 this week. That’s right, on August 31, 1966, Ralph Baer originated the idea of playing a video game on a television. An electrical engineer and employee of defense contractor Sanders Associates, Inc., Ralph had toyed with the idea of using a television to play some sort of game before, but, now, the thoughts crystallized into a definite concept.

Everyone's a Gamer

The Entertainment Software Association just released their newest data on the current state of video game play in the United States. The document reports that sales of video game software and hardware topped $25 billion last year, the average age of a gamer is 37, and 29% of gamers are over the age of 50. The report also notes that 72% of American households play video games.

The Influence of Dungeons and Dragons on Video Games

My two favorite childhood Christmas gifts were a red three-speed bike and a blue-boxed Basic Dungeons and Dragons set. On the bike, I rode miles from home, shifting gears to climb previously unconquered hills and discover new places around my small Connecticut town.

Geeking Out on Game History at D.I.C.E. and GDC

Over the last month, fellow CHEGhead Eric Wheeler and I attended two video game events—D.I.C.E. Summit and the Game Developers Conference (GDC)—featuring lots of information not only about the latest titles, but also about classic games and the history of the industry.

Chess Problems and Computer Games

I’ve played chess for decades, and during most of that time I’ve also enjoyed chess problems. Such puzzles, which chess players have constructed and enjoyed for centuries, present a chess position and task players to solve a particular problem related to it—white checkmates in four moves or black sacrifices a knight to win the queen.