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Inside the Arkie

by Arnie Katz

Not everyone gets to romp through the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years without having to think of anything more serious than the probable future availability of mistletoe. Here and there across the land, editors of Electronic Games are studying the eligible candidates and making their final recommendations for the Fourth Annual Arcade Awards to salute design excellence in both the home and commercial arcade arenas.

Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s really kind of fun to sort through the huge pile of cartridges that has accumulated this year and pick out winners of these coveted prizes. Yet if the Arcade Awards—Arkies for short—didn’t have an important, special meaning to the hobby of electronic gaming, the folks here at EG wouldn’t be so quick to exchange their turkey for Turbo or skip the Christmas goose to play a few extra test rounds of Galaga.

When Reese Publishing Company, which brings you Arcade Express and Video as well as Electronic Games, decided to sponsor the Arkies four years ago, it was with a definite purpose in view. Even back in 1978 when Space Invaders was still new, and a few pioneering gamers were telling their friends and neighbors about their just-purchased programmable videogame machines, the brain trust at 235 Park Avenue South could see the entertainment revolution coming. They knew that the pressures of the free marketplace might encourage some manufacturers to make quantity a higher priority than quality.

The Arcade Awards, then, are intended to make sure that the emphasis in our fast-growing hobby stays on good games, not just a lot of them. We need this type of qualitative yardstick more than ever these days. Why, more videogame cartridges came out last month than in all of 1978! It’s getting easier and easier for a really good game to get lost in a tide of ordinary ones. By calling attention to our field’s outstanding software achievements, the Arcade Awards throw the spotlight of public notice on these worthy games that might otherwise get overlooked. In short, the Arkies are a method for honoring those designers who are enriching our gaming experience with innovative graphics, sounds and play-action, while giving those who are content to just copy the successes of others the cold shoulder.

And so it is with great pleasure that I announce a major expansion of the Arcade Awards this year. Where once we gave fewer than a dozen plaques, a total of 26 Arcade Awards in four major categories—videogames, computer games, coin-ops and stand-alone games—will be presented.

Not only that, but the Arcade Awards Committee has also established a second tier of awards for the many superb games which simply can’t be given Arkies due to the incredibly fierce competition. Starting this year, we’ll be giving several Certificates of Merit in each Arcade Award classification. And, of course, we’ll also provide a list of Honorable Mentions, games which are good, but not quite good enough for an Arkie or Certificate of Merit.

The winners? Ah, but that would be telling. Hold onto your curiosity for 30 days and the January Electronic Games will be here with a complete report on the 1983 Arcade Awards. Meanwhile, why not look over the list of categories and make your own selections. Then you can have the fun of seeing how close you’ve come to the opinions of our judges when we unveil the winners next month.

Until then, the entire staff of Electronic Games and Reese Publishing wish you the happiest. and healthiest possible holiday season!

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The Fourth Annual Arcade Awards

Videogame Division:
Videogame of the Year
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Videogame
Most Innovative Videogame
Best Solitaire Videogame
Best Multi-Playing Videogame
Best Videogame Audio/Visual Effects
Best Arcade-to-Home Videogame Translation
Best Action Videogame
Best Videogame Adventure
Best Sports Videogame
Computer Game Division:
Computer Game of the Year
Best Computer Adventure
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Computer Games
Best Action Computer Game
Best Computer Game Audio/Visual Effects
Best Sports Computer Game
Best Solitaire Computer Game
Most Innovative Computer Game
Coin-op Division:
Arcade Game of the Year
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Arcade Game
Best Arcade Audio/Visual Effects
Best Action Arcade Game
Most Innovative Arcade Game
Stand-Alone Division:
Stand-Alone Game of the Year
Best Electronic Boardgame
Best Mini-Arcade Cartridge Game

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