Electronic Games

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Electronic Games
Electronic Games Logo.png
Cover of the first issue (Winter 1981)
Publisher1st run: Reese Publishing Company, Inc.
Katz Kunkel Worley Inc.
FounderBill Kunkel, Arnie Katz, Joyce Worley
First issue1st run: October 29, 1981 (October 29, 1981)
2nd run: October 1992 (1992)
Final issue1st run: August 1985 (1985)
2nd run: January 1997 (1997)
CountryUnited States

Electronic Games was the first dedicated video game magazine published in the United States[1] and ran from October 15, 1981 to 1997 under different titles. It was co-founded by Bill Kunkel, Joyce Worley, and Arnie Katz, and is not to be confused with Electronic Gaming Monthly.[2]


The history of Electronic Games originates in the consumer electronics magazine, Video. Initially video games were covered sporadic in Deeny Kaplan's regular "VideoTest Reports" column. In the summer of 1979, Video decided to launch a new column to focus on video games. Arcade Alley became a regular column and would represent a journalistic first. Written by Bill Kunkel, Arnie Katz (initially pseudonymously writing as Frank T. Laney II), and Joyce Worley, the three writers became close friends and in 1981 they founded Electronic Games magazine.[3] The magazine was active from Winter 1981, during the golden age of arcade video games and the second generation of consoles, up until 1985, following the video game crash of 1983. The magazine was briefly revived during the 16-bit era in the early 1990s, but ended in 1995 and was renamed to Fusion.[4]

Initially, the release of the first issue was scheduled for October 15, 1981.[5] However, the release was postponed to October 29, 1981[6] and featured a slightly different cover than initially advertised.

1st Run[edit]

Title Start Cover Date End Cover Date
Electronic Games October 29, 1981 April 1985
Computer Entertainment May 1985 August 1985

2nd Run[edit]

Title Start Cover Date End Cover Date
Electronic Games October 1992 July 1995
Fusion August 1995 February 1996
Intelligent Gamer's Fusion March 1996 May 1996
Intelligent Gamer June 1996 January 1997

Arcade Awards[edit]

Electronic Games is notable for hosting the Arcade Awards, or Arkie Awards, the first "Game of the Year" award ceremony[7] simultaneously running in Video's "Arcade Alley" column. The following games are the winners of the magazine's annual Arcade Awards. The awards for each year took place in the January of the following year. No single game was allowed to win more than one award in the same year.

1980 Arcade Awards (1979)[edit]

According to the Winter 1981 issue of Electronic Games, the 1980 Arcade Awards (i.e., the first set of "Arkies") were announced in February 1980 and covered all hardware and software produced prior to January 1, 1980.[8]

Award Winner Platform
Game of the Year Space Invaders Arcade
Best Pong Variant Video Olympics Atari VCS
Best Sports Game Football Bally Professional Arcade
Best Target Game Air-Sea Battle Atari VCS
Best S.F. Game Cosmic Conflict Odyssey²
Best Solitaire Game Golf Odyssey²
Most Innovative Game Basketball Atari VCS
Best Audio and Visual Effects Bally[9] Arcade/Bally

1981 Arcade Awards (1980)[edit]

The 1981 edition of the awards reflects accomplishments during the 12 months of the preceding year.[10]

Award Winner Platform
Best Coin-Op Electronic Game Asteroids Arcade
Game of the Year Superman Atari VCS
Best Targest/WarGame Armored Battle Intellivision
Best Pong Variant Volleyball Odyssey²
Best S.F. Game Space Battle Intellivision
Best Audio-Visual Effects Fishing Derby Atari VCS
Best Solitaire Game Skiing Atari VCS
Best Sports Game NASL Soccer Intellivision
Most Innovative Game Adventure Atari VCS

1982 Arcade Awards (1981)[edit]

The third annual Arcade Awards were sponsored jointly by Video and Electronic Games and honored outstanding achievements in the field of video games of the year 1981. The 1982 Arcade Awards were published in the March 1982 issue of Electronic Games.[11]

Award Winner Platform(s) Honorable Mention
Coin-Op Division (Arcade)
Best Commercial Arcade Game Pac-Man Namco Pac-Man Defender, Battlezone
Videogame of the Year Asteroids Atari VCS Quest for the Rings (Odyssey²), Missile Command (Atari VCS), UFO! (Oddyssey)
Most Innovative Game Quest for the Rings Odyssey² Freeway (Atari VCS), Asteroids (Atari VCS)
Best Competitive Game Tennis Atari VCS
Best Solitaire Game Missile Command Atari VCS Dodge 'em (Atari)
Best S.F game UFO! Oddyssey Laser Blast (Activision)
Best Sports Game Auto Racing Intellivision Tennis (Atari VCS)
Best Pong Variant Warlords Atari VCS
Best Audio-Visual Effects Kaboom! Atari VCS
Computer Game of the Year Star Raiders Atari 400/800
Best Computer Action Game Jawbreaker Atari 800, Apple II, Commodore 64
Best Computer Sports Game Computer Baseball Apple II

1983 Arcade Awards (1982)[edit]

The 4th "Arkies" cover games published between October 1, 1981 and October 1, 1982 and were published in the January 1983 issue of Electronic Games.[12]

Award Winner Certificate of Merit
Coin-Op Game Awards (Arcade)
Coin-Op Game of the Year Tron
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Coin-Op Game Bosconian
Best Coin-Op Game Audio/Visual Effects Turbo
Most Innovative Coin-Op Game Tempest
Videogame Awards (Console)
Videogame of the Year Demon Attack (Atari VCS)
Best Solitaire Videogame Donkey Kong (ColecoVision)
Best Arcade-to-Home Videogame Translation Frogger (Atari VCS) Galactic Invasion (Bally Astrocade)
Best Action Videogame Chopper Command (Atari VCS)
Best Adventure Videogame Pitfall! (Atari VCS)
Computer Game Division
Computer Game of the Year David's Midnight Magic (Apple II) Bandits (Apple II)
Best Computer Adventure Deadline (Apple II) Kabul Spy (Apple II)
Best Arcade/Action Computer Game K-razy Shoot-Out (Atari 400/800) Star Blazer (Apple II)
Best Solitaire Computer Game Snack Attack (Apple II) Neptune (Apple II)
Stand-Alone Game Awards (Dedicated)
Stand-Alone Game of the Year Galaxian (Coleco Mini-Arcade)
Best Mini-Arcade Game Cartridge Scramble (Vectrex)

1984 Arcade Awards (1983)[edit]

The 5th "Arkies" were published in the January 1984 issue of Electronic Games.[13]

Award Winner Certificate of Merit
Coin-Op Games Division (Arcade)
Coin-Op Game of the Year Pole Position
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Coin-Op Game Xevious
Most Innovative Coin-Op Game Q*bert Baby Pac-Man
Best Coin-Op Game Audio/Visual Effects Dragon's Lair
Videogame Division (Console)
Videogame of the Year (Less than 16K ROM memory) Ms. Pac-Man (Atari 2600) BurgerTime (Intellivision)
Videogame of the Year (16K or more ROM memory) Lady Bug (ColecoVision) Zaxxon (ColecoVision)
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Videogame Vanguard (Atari 5200) Moon Patrol (Atari 2600)
Best Videogame Audio/Visual Effects Donkey Kong Jr. (ColecoVision) Qix (Atari 5200)
Best Action Videogame River Raid (Atari 2600)
Best Adventure Game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Intellivision)
Best Arcade-to-Home Videogame Translation Kangaroo (Atari 5200) Turtles (Odyssey²)
Computer Game Division
Computer Game of the Year Lode Runner (Apple II) Repton (Apple II, Atari 8-bit)
Electronic Game of the Year (Players Pick) Miner 2049er (Apple II, Atari 8-bit)
Best Computer Adventure Witness (Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, DOS)
Best Computer Action Game Centipede (Atari 8-bit) Jumpman (Atari 400/800)
Most Humorous Computer Game Free Fall (Apple II) Preppie! II (Atari 8-bit)
Best Arcade-to-Home Computer Game Translation Frogger (Atari 8-bit)
Best Multi-Player Computer Game M.U.L.E. (Atari 8-bit) Oil Barons (Apple II)
Best Educational Computer Game Learning With the Leeper (Apple II)
Most Innovative Computer Game Archon: The Light and the Dark (Atari 8-bit) Moondust (Commodore 64)
Stand-Alone Games Division
Stand-Alone Game of the Year Q*bert (Parker Brothers)
Mini-Arcade Game of the Year 3-D Sky Attack (Tomytronic 3D)

1985 Arkie Awards (1984)[edit]

The 6th "Arkies" were printed in the January 1985 issue of Electronic Games.[14]

Award Winner
Coin-Op Game Division (Arcade)
Coin-Op of the Year Star Wars
Most Innovative Coin-Op Game Punch-Out
Best Coin-Op Audio-Visual Effects TX-1
Certificates of Merit
Videogame Division (Console)
Videogame of the Year Space Shuttle (Atari 2600)
Best Action Videogame Buck Rogers (Atari 2600/5200, ColecoVision, Intellivision, SG-1000)
Best Adventure Videogame Pitfall II (Atari 2600)
Best Videogame Audio-Visual Effects Congo Bongo (ColecoVision, Atari 5200, Intellivision)
Certificates of Merit
Computer Game Division
Computer Game of the Year Ultima III: Exodus (Apple II, Atari 800, Commodore 64)
Electronic Game of the Year (Players Pick) One on One (Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64)
Best Computer Adventure Game Gateway to Apshai (Atari 400/800, Commodore 64)
Most Humorous Video Computer Game Quest for Tires (Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX)
Best Arcade-to-Home Translation Joust (Commodore 64)
Electronic Educational Game of the Year Agent USA (Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64)
Certificates of Merit
Stand-Alone Games Division
Stand-Alone Game of the Year Zaxxon (Coleco Mini-Arcade)
Mini-Arcade Game of the Year Miner 2049er (Tiger)
Certificates of Merit

1992 (7th)[edit]

Following the magazine's revival in 1992, it published the Electronic Gaming Awards in January 1993, where editors nominated several games for each category and the readers would vote which games win. The following games were nominated for 1992.[15]

Award Nominees Platform
Video Game of the Year
Computer Games of the Year
Multimedia Games of the Year

1993 (8th)[edit]

The following games were nominated by editors for the EG Awards of 1993.[16]

Award Nominees Platforms
Video Game of the Year
  • Genesis
  • SNES
  • Genesis / SNES
  • SNES
  • Genesis
  • SNES
Portable Game of the Year
Computer Game of the Year
Console Multimedia Game of the Year
Computer Multimedia Game of the Year
  • PC

Reader polls[edit]

From May 1982 onwards, the magazine carried out a reader poll in each issue to see which are the most popular games of the month among its readers, up until the January 1985 issue. The top-ranking games in these polls are listed below.


October & November

The games that were top-ranked the most in these 1982 polls were:



The games that were top-ranked the most in these 1983 polls were:



The games that were top-ranked the most in these 1984 polls were:



There was no reader poll held for the March 1985 issue.

Hall of Fame[edit]

The twelve games voted by readers as part of the magazine's Hall of Fame up until January 1985.[17]


  1. ^ Plunkett, Luke. "A Little Background On The World's First Ever Video Game Magazine". Kotaku. 29 December 2009.
  2. ^ Cifaldi, Frank (2005-12-12). "Playing Catch-Up: Bill 'The Game Doctor' Kunkel Lets Loose". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  3. ^ Kohler, Chris (September 6, 2011). "Bill Kunkel, Original Gaming Journalist, Dies at 61". Wired. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  4. ^ Katz, Arnie. "Power On: The End of an Era—Hooray!" Electronic Games. Pg. 6. July 1995. ISSN 0730-6687.
  5. ^ Video. Volume 5, No. 6. Pg. 88. ISSN 0147-8907. September 1981.
  6. ^ Video. Volume 5, No. 9. Pg. 65. ISSN 0147-8907. December 1981.
  7. ^ Weston, D.B. "Greatest Moments in Video Game History" Page 47. Published 2011
  8. ^ The Arcade Awards – 1980Electronic Games Winter 1981, page 38.
  9. ^ "Bally Awards" (PDF). Arcadian. 2 (3): 20. 1980-01-15. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  10. ^ The Arcade Awards – 1981Electronic Games Winter 1981, page 39.
  11. ^ 1981 Arcade AwardsElectronic Games March 1982, pages 46–49.
  12. ^ 1983 Arcade AwardsElectronic Games January 1983, pages 22–37 and page 120.
  13. ^ 1984 Arcade AwardsElectronic Games January 1984, pages 68–81.
  14. ^ 1985 Arcade AwardsElectronic Games January 1985, pages 22–28.
  15. ^ "Electronic Gaming Awards". Electronic Games (38): 26–7. January 1993. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
  16. ^ "Electronic Gaming Awards". Electronic Games. 2 (17): 32–51. February 1994.
  17. ^ "Hall of Fame Winners". Electronic Games. 3 (35): 58–59 [58]. January 1985. Retrieved 2 February 2012.

External links[edit]