Bill Kunkel | Video-game writer, 61

Posted: September 15, 2011

Bill Kunkel, 61, who helped invent video-game journalism and create the first video-game magazine in the United States, died Sept. 4, apparently of a heart attack, at his home in White Lake, Mich.

Mr. Kunkel and his friend Arnie Katz are widely credited with starting the first published gaming column, "Arcade Alley." It began running in Video magazine in 1978. The column drew more readers as home gaming systems became popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. By 1981, about two million home systems were in use in the United States.

To cater to those new consumers, Mr. Kunkel and Katz teamed up with Joyce Worley to start a monthly, Electronic Games, which had a peak circulation of more than 250,000.

The magazine folded in 1985 after taking the name Computer Entertainment but was revived for three years in the early 1990s. Mr. Kunkel's writing on the subject, however, survived years longer in other publications and online.

Mr. Kunkel, born in New York, wrote comic books for DC Comics and Marvel and covered wrestling for magazines such as Main Event and Pro Wrestling Torch before reporting on video games. In 2005, he published Confessions of the Game Doctor, a memoir about the early days of the gaming industry. - N.Y. Times News Service

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