Obituaries Archive


Commodore founder Jack Tramiel has died

Jack Tramiel (left), the founder of Commodore International – the company that brought you the Commodore 64 – has passed away at age 83.

Born in Poland in 1928, Tramiel and his family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. After they were rescued in April of 1945, Tramiel emigrated to America and joined the army, where he learned to repair office equipment.

In the early 1950s, Tramiel opened a typewriter repair shop in the Bronx, called Commodore Portable Typewriter. The business soon expanded to include the manufacture and sale of typewriters from Czechoslovakia, which Tramiel had manufactured in Canada to get around US trade restrictions. The business was renamed to Commodore Business Machines.

The focus on typewriters sooned turned to calculators, and then onto Commodore’s most successful product, computers. Commodore’s computer line started in 1977 with the Commodore PET, followed by the VIC-20 and the world famous Commodore 64.

Tramiel resigned from Commodore in 1984, but his retirement was short lived as he set up the company Tramiel Technology, which purchased the consumer division of Atari Corporation from Warner Bros. He turned control over the company to his son Sam in the late 1980s, but retook the reigns after the younger Tramiel suffered a heart attack in 1995, until the company’s merger with JT Storage.

He is survived by his wife Helen and three sons, Samuel, Leonard and Garry.


RIP Gary Garcia (1948-2011)

Retro Gaming Australia has learned that Gary Garcia, co-writer of the song (and album) Pac-Man Fever has passed away.

In late 1981, songwriting duo Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia released an album full of songs about popular arcade games, the most popular of which was the titular Pac-Man Fever track.

Jerry Buckner has written a rather touching obituary at the duo’s official website.


RIP Bill Kunkel (1950-2011)

Bill Kunkel (pictured left), known to many as the Game Doctor and one of the founding fathers of the video games press, passed away suddenly on Sunday. He was 61.

With Arnie Katz and Joyce Worley-Katz (right and center), Kunkel had a major hand in the creation of the first dedicated video games magazine Electronic Games. The magazine was published from 1981 to 1985. Kunkel’s nickname came from the Game Doctor section of the magazine. He was often referred to as the grandfather of the video games press.

After Electronic Games closed, Kunkel would go on to write for a number of publications before crossing to the other side of the video game industry to work in production, founding Subway Software with Katz and Worley-Katz.

Kunkel produced a lot of work outside of video games as a comic book writer (including Superman at DC in 1977-78 and Spider-Man at Marvel in 1978-79) and columnist for Pro Wrestling Torch and Wrestling Perspective.

Rolenta Press published his memoirs Confessions of the Game Doctor in 2005.


RIP Takeshi Miyaji, Game Arts co-founder and Grandia creator

Japanese developer G-Mode issued a statement earlier today informing the public that its CEO Takeshi Miyaji passed away suddenly on July 29, at age 45.

Miyaji founded Game Arts with his brother Yoichi at just 19. He worked on many games at the company, including Silpheed and Lunar: The Silver Star for the Mega CD, Alissa Dragoon for the Mega Drive and the Grandia series, which he created.

In 2000, Miyaji broke away from Game Arts and founded G-Mode, which primarily worked on mobile games until it gained control of arcade developer Data East’s back catalogue in 2004.

G-Mode did not comment on the cause of Miyaji’s death. Ryu Okoriyama, CEO of Gaia Holdings will replace Miyaji as G-Mode’s CEO.

Via Andriasang