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Official Releases By Bill "the Game Doctor" Kunkel


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It has been a long time in the making, and is a work in progress, but the time has come, Retromags.com is proud to release with full cooperation and endorsement from the original author himself, Bill Kunkel, the first 6 "The Kunkel Report" columns that were published in the 2nd publishing run of Electronic Games (sometimes referred to as the 90's EG).

A quote from the press release announcing this great gift that Bill Kunkel is giving to anyone that wishes to read his work:

It's an honor to have people who are interested in preserving your work more than three decades after you started producing it. I think many writers associate paper with permanence, but the fact is that the content being reproduced here is all-but-unavailable except as collectibles. I love collecting and recommend anybody interested in holding the actual magazines in their hands visit J2Games.com, where many of those issues can be obtained at extremely reasonable prices. But the idea that anybody who wants to read this content can have access to it is something I have long wished to see and many thanks to Retromags for making it possible.

Here is the first Kunkel Report, published in the first issue of Electronic Games from the 90's, October 1992.

Electronic_games_october_1992_01.jpg

Below will be links to the remaining 5 releases along with a CBZ file for those interested in downloading them all at once.

The Kunkel Report:

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

CBZ file with all 6 releases in one for your convenience available here.

Also, for those that don't know, it is Bill's birthday today. If you wish to tell him happy birthday we have the forums here available for that and for discussion of anything related to Bill's work.

Happy Birthday Bill!

The work that went into collecting these works by Bill was a widespread effort and could not have been done without the help of many people, #1 on that list is Bill himself, had he not done the work and been willing to release it for anyone to enjoy we would not be doing this. Next up, Ter, owner of Zap! and the Retromags Team, it has been a team effort and this is what happens when everyone works together. Thank you to everyone that helped with this effort and please support the people that made this and future releases possible.

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Very cool! Interesting articles.. thanks guys! Great idea for a release.

Glad you like it.  We have permission from Bill to do a lot more, this is just the start (hint, if anyone has anything Bill has had published, it would be great if you could contact me so we can get more work done on future releases). 

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I payed 20 dollars in 1992 to play Dactyl's Nightmare at the local carnival for 10 minutes. It was pretty cool at the time but the world was small and lacking detail. Popularity fizzled for further development of virtuality machines although Sega and Nintendo both made units.

Specifically for the Master System and Nintendo's Virtual Boy. There was always talk about furthering this idea in the mid to late 90's but it was forgotten by the 21st century.

I believe these million dollar machines are now developed for science labs and the military.

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It has been a long time in the making, and is a work in progress, but the time has come, Retromags.com is proud to release with full cooperation and endorsement from the original author himself, Bill Kunkel, the first 6 "The Kunkel Report" columns that were published in the 2nd publishing run of Electronic Games (sometimes referred to as the 90's EG).

A quote from the press release announcing this great gift that Bill Kunkel is giving to anyone that wishes to read his work:

Here is the first Kunkel Report, published in the first issue of Electronic Games from the 90's, October 1992.

Electronic_games_october_1992_01.jpg

Below will be links to the remaining 5 releases along with a CBZ file for those interested in downloading them all at once.

The Kunkel Report:

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

CBZ file with all 6 releases in one for your convenience available here.

Also, for those that don't know, it is Bill's birthday today. If you wish to tell him happy birthday we have the forums here available for that and for discussion of anything related to Bill's work.

Happy Birthday Bill!

The work that went into collecting these works by Bill was a widespread effort and could not have been done without the help of many people, #1 on that list is Bill himself, had he not done the work and been willing to release it for anyone to enjoy we would not be doing this. Next up, Ter, owner of Zap! and the Retromags Team, it has been a team effort and this is what happens when everyone works together. Thank you to everyone that helped with this effort and please support the people that made this and future releases possible.

I just wanted to thank everybody who put their efforts into making this all happen. I always remembered the "Kunkel Report" columns fondly but I haven't read most of them in well over 15 years so it was almost like stepping into a time machine. In re-reading the columns, I am pleased that the obsession with swords & sorcery as the dominant paradigm in the design of adventure games is over. There's a lot more sci-fi, but there are also exactly the type of western, war and other genres that I had hoped to see when I wrote that column. There are even games based on organized crime, espionage and assassin cults; we have urban gang banging, platoon-level combat, western quests and a satisfying selection of other subject matter instead of the old parade of agitated elves, serial spellcasters, dyspeptic dragons, souped-up swords and magical medallions. I think that diversity has been a good thing.

And I'm hardly surprised that Virtuality is the answer to a trivia question as opposed to an arcade staple. In fact, VR itself never quite became what it was supposed to be. I've always been told that the primary reason VR never caught on in the entertainment world had more to do with insurance than gameplay. One way or another, it only took one or two cases of people in non-tethered VR headpieces stumbling down the stairs or toppling off a terrace for the safety folks to insist that the player be tethered to their computer or console. Whether this was in arcades, where heavy headpieces and lockdown player cages assured that no player would ever either hurt themselves or forget for so much as a second that they were in a crude facsimile of "reality."

However, VR wasn't just about putting on eye and ear pieces and pretending to interact in a simulated plane of existence. Arnie Katz and I once had the pleasure of meeting the visionary Jared Lanier who brought a bunch of his VR materials up to the Electronic Games office back in the 80s. All you needed for Jared's brand of VR was a video camera, a monitor and a computer. He turned on the camera and monitor and you could see yourself in the same room you occupied in "reality." The only difference was that in the room on the monitor, you could slo see a variety of musical instruments which the user could "play" by manipulating them using the position of the instruments on the monitor as a guide.

Sound familiar, fans of Wii Music? :)

In any case, I have quite a few more columns and I am flattered that the good folks at Retromags are interested in posting them.

--Bill Kunkel

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I just wanted to thank everybody who put their efforts into making this all happen. I always remembered the "Kunkel Report" columns fondly but I haven't read most of them in well over 15 years so it was almost like stepping into a time machine. In re-reading the columns, I am pleased that the obsession with swords & sorcery as the dominant paradigm in the design of adventure games is over. There's a lot more sci-fi, but there are also exactly the type of western, war and other genres that I had hoped to see when I wrote that column. There are even games based on organized crime, espionage and assassin cults; we have urban gang banging, platoon-level combat, western quests and a satisfying selection of other subject matter instead of the old parade of agitated elves, serial spellcasters, dyspeptic dragons, souped-up swords and magical medallions. I think that diversity has been a good thing.

And I'm hardly surprised that Virtuality is the answer to a trivia question as opposed to an arcade staple. In fact, VR itself never quite became what it was supposed to be. I've always been told that the primary reason VR never caught on in the entertainment world had more to do with insurance than gameplay. One way or another, it only took one or two cases of people in non-tethered VR headpieces stumbling down the stairs or toppling off a terrace for the safety folks to insist that the player be tethered to their computer or console. Whether this was in arcades, where heavy headpieces and lockdown player cages assured that no player would ever either hurt themselves or forget for so much as a second that they were in a crude facsimile of "reality."

However, VR wasn't just about putting on eye and ear pieces and pretending to interact in a simulated plane of existence. Arnie Katz and I once had the pleasure of meeting the visionary Jared Lanier who brought a bunch of his VR materials up to the Electronic Games office back in the 80s. All you needed for Jared's brand of VR was a video camera, a monitor and a computer. He turned on the camera and monitor and you could see yourself in the same room you occupied in "reality." The only difference was that in the room on the monitor, you could slo see a variety of musical instruments which the user could "play" by manipulating them using the position of the instruments on the monitor as a guide.

Sound familiar, fans of Wii Music? :)

In any case, I have quite a few more columns and I am flattered that the good folks at Retromags are interested in posting them.

--Bill Kunkel

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A fascinating read and I look forward to future posts. Thanks to everyone involved, and especially Bill Kunkel for his support of Retromags. It's great when people from the industry take time out of their schedule to help out with these kind of projects.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Happy belated birthday Bill!

I'm so sorry that I couldn't be here on the day itself as I remember vividly how excited triverse was about the thought of presenting you with the very first compilation of the Kunkel report. :)

Really looking forward to the next one.

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Happy belated birthday Bill!

I'm so sorry that I couldn't be here on the day itself as I remember vividly how excited triverse was about the thought of presenting you with the very first compilation of the Kunkel report. :)

Really looking forward to the next one.

Me too -- I finally got a Les Paul guitar for my 59th birthday (been wanting one since I was 16) and got to see my old Kunkel Report columns reprinted on this most excellent site, so now I'm actually looking forward to the big 60. :) Again, thanks to everyone on this site for their hard work, interest and best wishes. I hope that at least some of you will make it to this year's VGXPO in Philly this fall so I can meet you in person.

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It's funny how the little things in life can sometimes make it all worth it. :)

While I will most likely never have such a guitar (and I can't actually play any instrument either), I think I can at least understand partially what something like that should feel like.

For me a similar moment was when I finally got my own NeoGeo only a few years ago, after wanting one ever since I played one in a shop when it was first released.

I know it's not the same, but the sentiment comes close, at least for me.

Too bad I won't be able to make it to Philly since it's quite a way from home for me, but I must say that being able to talk to you like this is almost just as sweet :)

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