Bill Kunkel, a driving force in the creation of games journalism, is dead at 61.
Reading and writing about videogames has become second nature to a whole generation of gamers, but it wasn’t always so. Bill Kunkel, one of the men who brought games journalism into the mainstream, died of a heart attack on September 4, 2011. His magazine, Electronic Games, was one of the first publications to take gaming seriously from both a technical and artistic perspective, and Kunkel himself was a staunch enemy of censorship and media hype. He was 61 years old.
After stints writing comics for both Marvel and DC, as well as professional photography, Kunkel started writing a column called “Arcade Alley” for Video magazine. Three years later, in 1981, he founded Electronic Games along with his business partners. In addition to producing a literate, intelligently-written magazine, Kunkel invented much of the gamer lexicon. Words like “play mechanics” and “screenshot” can be attributed to him, and the term “Easter egg” first showed up in his magazine.
Kunkel’s projects were not limited to writing; he was also an accomplished game designer and consultant. Despite health problems over the last few years, Kunkel was an active writer right up until the time of his death. He wrote a book, Confessions of a Game Doctor in 2005, and a was a regular contributor to J2Games, where he wrote an article about the Deus Ex/Gamestop controversy only two weeks ago.
Kunkel’s work, in a very real sense, paved the foundation for games journalism sites like The Escapist, and we will do our best to honor his legacy. Kunkel is survived by his wife, Laurie.