I’m taking a break from podcast and video editing to drop some actual written content into the site. I know we haven’t done a lot of writing here lately, and that is something that’s going to change soon. Right now, I want to talk about “The Game Doctor” Bill Kunkel for a minute.
Bill Kunkel was a writer of many things. He was someone I was a big fan of, because he was pretty well the prototypical supergeek. In the ’70s he wrote a very highly regarded column for the Pro Wrestling Torch, a newsletter that still exists today. He wrote issues of Superman for DC, Spider-Man for Marvel and even Richie Rich for Harvey Comics. Most prolifically, and of most interest to visitors to this site, he wrote about videogames (note: my spellcheck still doesn’t acknowledge “videogames” as one word, but I’ve always preferred it and Bill Kunkel was a big proponent of spelling it that way, so deal with it). Bill Kunkel, along with Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley-Katz, started the first US magazine dedicated to videogames: Electronic Games.
Electronic Games only lasted a few years, but Kunkel would help revive it in the early ’90s, as well as write for EGM and go on to be editor-in-chief of Tips & Tricks before it went under in 2007. He was also a prolific writer of strategy guides. He wasn’t just a game reviewer, though, he took games very seriously, and even taught classes in game design at UNLV. He also ran a consulting business with his cohorts from Electronic Games and worked on several games, including Konami’s excellent Batman Returns for the SNES and the first WWF licensed videogame, Microleague Wrestling.
Bill Kunkel was a true pioneer and renaissance man when it came to geeky shit. His greatest legacy is embracing his geekiness. Even now, many people are ashamed of being wrestling fans, or adults who read superhero comics, there are even a few who are still ashamed of their gaming habits. Bill Kunkel owned his geekiness. He was proud of it and he worked in all of these fields. For that, Game Doctor, we at On the Stick thank you.
If you want some recent(ish) wisdom from The Game Doctor, check out this interview he did with our friend Frank Cifaldi at Gamasutra in 2005.