Computer Entertainment

Computer Entertainment is a magazine devoted entirely to computer games, although coverage was still given to arcade games. It is a revamped version of Electronic Games, but lasted only four issues before getting killed.

History

After the 1983 holiday season, it was quickly becoming obvious to anyone in the game industry that the console business was in decline. The Atari 2600 was running its course; the 5200 was a disaster upon launch and was instantly doomed with Atari’s surprise 7800 announcement; Atari itself was being decimated in a computer price war with Commodore; Mattel was putting out a wealth of useless Intellivision accessories; Coleco was spending millions on the launch of the ill-fated Adam; and Magnavox was just being plain silly with the Odyssey 3.

All of this naturally had a detrimental effect on Electronic Games. By the end of 1984, each issue only had 10-12 pages of advertising, and despite a reader base that was still fairly sizable, pressure came from within Reese Communications to retool the magazine. Conflict began to arise between editor-in-chief Arnie Katz and advertising director Diane Mick, and Katz and co-editor Joyce Worley were fired from their positions on December 7, 1984. Bill Kunkel, the third editor, left at the end of the year to join Katz and Worley’s new consulting firm.

In their place came Doug Garr, the editor of Reese’s Video magazine and a man with more of a background in computer hacking than video games. With him at the lead, it was plain to see which direction Electronic Games would take — his new magazine, reborn as Computer Entertainment, focused less on games themselves and more on all forms of computer diversions, including everything from baseball and betting programs to more techncial topics like text-adventure parsers.

The resulting magazine was better written, more professional-looking and arguably more connected with the industry than Computer Gaming World, its only real competition at the time. However, the computer marketplace was also shrinking in 1985, and there were barely enough advertising dollars in PC games to support the newsletter-sized CGW, much less a full-sized glossy monthly magazine.

Under these circumstances, Reese was forced to close Computer Entertainment after only four issues. CGW continued to play it safe until 1986, when it began an expansion that ultimately made it an industry-leading magazine in the early 1990s.