A trip down memory lane with Electronic Fun magazine

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Electronic Fun covers home Donkey Kong, December 1982.

I recently found something that I wanted to share with you guys. This is the December 1982 issue of Electronic Fun with Computers and Games. Although I don’t remember reading this specific publication in its time, I think it’s a pretty good example of prototypal video game journalism long before there were debates over the ethics of same.

The almost 100-page magazine features reviews of lots of then-current games including Pitfall! and Demon Attack for the Atari 2600, Beauty and the Beast for Intellivision and K.C.’s Krazy Chase for Odyssey 2. Other highlights include a piece on modems on page 77 of the PDF, a “computers made easy” guide on page 80 (including one of the best basic descriptions of a computer I’ve ever read), and a feature on the Commodore VIC-20 (page 73) which had recently come down in price. A feature on page 57 compares Coleco’s just-released versions of Donkey Kong for Colecovision, Intellivision and the Atari 2600, the latter of which actually fares pretty well under the reviewer’s scrutiny.

The writing style leaves no doubt as to the primary demographic of video games at the time, reminding me of a high-tech version of old Scholastic kids’ magazines like Bananas or Dynamite. What’s really nice, though, is reading about classic video games at their pre-crash height. Some of these old publications got pretty cynical as the years went on, but here there is nothing but enthusiasm for this fantastic new hobby and its latest developments. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “A trip down memory lane with Electronic Fun magazine

  1. I really love old magazines. I downloaded a complete archive of all the old Atari magazines I used to read as a kid a while back and I’ve been really enjoying reading through them again. You’re right, the enthusiasm just shines through — and one of the most interesting things for me is how downright technical they get a lot of the time. Atari User had a feature on how to build your own hardware speech synthesiser, for example, and Page 6 magazine had a feature on… maths. Just maths. Wouldn’t get that today!

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  2. Electronic Games (not the modern, unaffiliated EGM) was the magazine I read the most back then. Just had a lot of fun as a kid absorbing the images and reading about all these really interesting looking games, many of which I couldn’t play because they were for stuff like the Vectrex, Apple II, or Atari computers. So many different systems 🙂 And the terminology was so different because they were making all this stuff up as they went along. I recently had a discussion with someone online who was mocking Atari 2600 games for stuff he didn’t understand – “What’s with the bullets following your ship? What was the dev team thinking?!” I had to explain that they they didn’t have “dev teams” back then – just one or two programmers – and stuff like what he was whining about were deliberate design features that could be switched off. Things have changed a bit 🙂

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