About Bill "Potshot" Kunkel
Bill Kunkel is, literally, one of the leading figures in the creation
of the field of electronic game-related journalism. After collecting a
decade or so of experience as a professional musician, comic book writer
(for DC, Marvel and Harvey) and pro wrestling journalist he and long-time
partner Arnie Katz conceived and authored "Arcade Alley"-the first newsstand
magazine column dedicated exclusively to the review of video and computer
games-in 1978 for Video magazine. The success of that column led directly
to the duo's launch of Electronic Games magazine, the first newsstand periodical
to cover the entire new world of interactive electronic gaming, from handhelds,
video games and computer software to state-of-the-art coin-op coverage.
EG was created for Reese Communications in 1981 and Kunkel served as Executive
Editor of the magazine until he left Reese in January '95 after the firing
of his long-time partners Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley.
The trio then formed Katz Kunkel Worley Inc. (KKW) as a vehicle for
providing print and online sources with journalistic content, and Subway
Software as a vehicle for game design. Kunkel has written on the subject
of electronic entertainment for The NY Times, Town & Country, Games,
and Computer Gaming World. In addition, Kunkel has written extensively
for both consumer game magazines and business magazines covering the wide
world of electronic entertainment software. He has appeared on numerous
TV and radio shows, documentaries and in books by other authors.
Through KKW, Kunkel did everything from helping design new magazines--including
Video Games & Computer Entertainment (for Larry Flynt Publications)
in 1987, the original Sega Visions and a new incarnation of Electronic
Games (published by Decker/Sendai) in 1992--to serving as an expert witness
on the winning side in two major industry litigations (Galoob vs. Nintendo
and Capcom vs Data East). During his tenure with Sendai/Decker, he began
writing his popular column "The Kunkel Report" featuring his extremely
personal views of the industry. Kunkel also continued the Game Doctor column
which had been created in 1981 for the original EG and subsequently reappeared
in such varied publications as Computer Gaming World, EGM, Computer Gaming
Review, Sega Visions and VG&CE. It was at this point that Sendai stipulated
that the Game Doctor character belonged exclusively to Kunkel, who has
retained it both in print and on-line ever since.
Through the Subway Software side of the business, Kunkel worked extensively
as a game designer/consultant/design doctor, with nearly two dozen computer
and video game credits that include, among many others, Batman Returns
(Konami), Blood Bowl (MicroLeague), Ringling Bros. Barnum & Baily Circus
Games (Tynesoft), The Omnicron Conspiracy (Epyx), Borrowed Time (Interplay),
Bart's Nightmare (Acclaim), Star Trek: First Contact (Simon & Schuster),
Superman, Man of Steel (Intracorp) and Postal (Ripcord). Subway Software
worked with design groups from the U.S. to England to Czechoslovakia throughout
the 80s and early 90s.
In 1994, Kunkel left what had become Katz Kunkel Worley & Dille,
Inc. (KKWD) and created Fog Studios with partner Ed Dille and an crew of
exclusive talent (including Steve Honeywell, flight sim expert Tom Basham,
news maven Laurie Yates and Webmaster/writer Kevin Perry). This group co-founded
and designed the magazine PC Ace before going on to help make Attitude
Network's Happy Puppy site the number seven destination on the WWW according
to Web 21 (up there with AOL, Compuserve and Netscape) before the entire
Fog crew departed as the result of differences with Attitude Network in
Without a sufficiently large vehicle to support it, Fog broke up into
a series of smaller companies, one of which became Kunkel Enterprises Inc.
This group served as the content provider for Metropolis Media's PC GameFan
site--an attempt to "brand" the GameFan name beyond the video game universe--through
most of 1997. The period of employment with Metropolis Media saw Kunkel
provide original news and PC-related content to the site, while also working
on the creation of a print magazine, Gamefan Sports Network, an all-platform
print publication devoted to exclusive coverage of electronic sports games.
Kunkel was in charge of features (including interviews with Don Daglow,
Scott Orr and Tony LaRussa in the first two issues) and all PC reviews
and previews, working closely with an inexperienced-but-talented young
editor, Rustin Lee, who was based in the GameFan offices in Los Angeles.
Remote-control editing has become one of Kunkel's specialties since moving
from New York City to Las Vegas in 1989.
Kunkel Enterprises are also involved in an ownership position regarding
book or film projects generated by the Running With Scissors' computer
game, Postal, spent a year in an ongoing consulting relationship with Platinum
Studios (where he now works full-time) and developed the curriculum as
a primary consultant for EBCI, an educational institution which looks to
become the first North American school to teach students electronic game
development, with courses in design, art, music and programming a Canadian-based
school that intends to offer education to students of Electronic Game Design
throughout North America.
In addition to his journalistic work, Kunkel has consulted for just
about every major player in the entertainment software field, with a specialty
in legal consultation. In 1993, Kunkel also began a mini-career as the
author of game strategy books for Prima Publishing, producing guides (sometimes
alone, sometimes with a co-author from the Fog group) for Maximum Carnage
(Acclaim), Descent (Interplay) (which has been reprinted in several languages),
FPS: Baseball (Dynamix) and Gex (Crystal Dynamics), among several others.
Kunkel and co-author Ken Vance recently completed the strategy guide to
Die Hard Trilogy (Fox Interactive) for Metropolis Media and a football
strategy guide to Quarterback Club '98 and Madden 64 for the N64 for Brady.
Kunkel has been floating through cyberspace for more than a decade now.
From 1986, when he began hosting on-line seminars for Quantum Link (currently
known as America Online), to the present (where his reviews and columns
have just begun to appear regularly on www.InsideGames.com),
he has maintained an absolute fascination with online activity.
If that isn't enough, Kunkel has also written the official Acclaim Strategy
Guide to WWF WARONE and is working fulltime with Platinum Studios, a MAJOR
movie, TV, animation and international comic book powerhouse, as Director
of Interactive Development.
Perhaps Kunkel's greatest advantage is his flexibility. As one of the
very few people who have been a part of the electronic games industry for
two decades, he has seen it all and done it all, from journalism to game
design, giving him a perspective all but unique in the gaming community.
"With the exception of programming," he says, "I think I've gotten to work
in just about every creative area of this industry. And after 20 years,
it's still fun."
A valued contributor to Wrestling Perspective, Bill Kunkel brought a
new dimension to Wrestling Perspective in 1993 and has been member of the
family ever since. Perhaps none other than the Phantom of the Ring said
it best, "Bill Kunkel is the best pure writer I've ever seen."