Computer Entertainer is a long-running newsletter/mini-magazine that has been going strong since 1982. It covers both computer gaming and video game news and reviews. Up until recently it hasn’t had a lot to say about the NES, since it’s still only available in Los Angeles and New York (although that’s about to change in the coming months). The editors of the publication have finally gotten their hands on the new 8-bit system and the library of games that are currently available. As such, they have begun reviewing the various games as well as delivering the latest news filtering out of Nintendo. We just got our hands on some scans of the latest issues and wanted to share them with our readers, since there aren’t any other magazines currently in production after the huge crash of the gaming market a few years ago.
First up is a bit of news from the February issue that caught our attention. According to them, the next markets to receive the NES will be Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. We reached out to some of the national chains, like Toys R Us, and it appears that some stores have shipments pending. In other words, by mid-June it looks like the nationwide rollout of the NES will be in full swing. It’s only a matter of time before you finally see them stocked in your local market.
Also noteworthy is that Computer Entertainer talks about the connector port on the bottom of the NES Control Deck. As in Japan, Nintendo is preparing a disk drive to attach to it that will allow for more sophisticated games. If you remember, back in February the Famicom (the Japanese equivalent to the NES) received its disk drive add-on and launched a new game called Zelda. Computer Entertainer has gotten word that the NES disk drive is slated to be ready for Christmas of this year. Apparently a flight simulator will launch alongside it and Nintendo has a five-year plan for the NES, so no worries about having to upgrade to a new console until sometime in 1991.
If you’re into other gaming news (and yes I realize how odd it is to even write that sentence because video games have been dead in the market for the last two years), Intellivision has quietly been making a comeback into the gaming market. It’s relied heavily on mail-order catalogs to get customers to bite, and it has succeeded in satiating a market that Terrence Valeski insists never disappeared in the first place. He told Computer Entertainer reporter Celeste Dolan that “We of INTV take credit, in terms of convincing a lot of people that the market for good products is not dead just because the banks closed some of the companies. The consumer desire for good entertainment product didn’t go away”. He added that Nintendo entering the market is good for everyone involved and that “It’s a good product and lends credence to the category in terms of proving again that the consumers’ desire is there for entertainment software…everyone has learned from the mistakes of the past.”
While we’re on the subject of other video game news, Computer Entertainer is teasing that a new video game system is under secret development. They’ve been sworn to secrecy, but insist that the new system could be ready for Christmas of this year. It looks like Nintendo might have some competition on its hands.
Also in the February issue is a review for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The reviewer was incredibly impressed with the new console, giving it a maximum score of 4 out of 4 in both graphics as well as game play & entertainment value. You can read the full review in the scan below, but all you really need to know is that “It’s a top-quality entertainment system that offers a lot of play value for the price.”
Moving on to game reviews, we’ve already posted Computer Entertainer’s opinions on Pinball, Ice Climber, and Kung Fu and integrated them onto our review pages. However, they’ve had the opportunity to play some other games that we haven’t and have offered up their takes on them. Their review guidelines are:
Computer Entertainer Review Guidelines:
THE RATING SYSTEM:
4 SYMBOLS = EXCELLENT
3 SYMBOLS = GOOD
2 SYMBOLS = FAIR
1 SYMBOL = POOR
♦ = ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS (1st set of diamonds = quality of graphics; 2nd set = quality of game play and entertainment value)
Any program for a given system is compared only to other programs for the same system. In other words, all C64-compatibles are judged separately from Apple. Some programs, which are virtually identical for multiple systems, will be so noted. When we review software for more than one system, we will note differences and which system we reviewed.
10-Yard Fight was reviewed in the April 1986 issue and received 3 out of 4 for graphics and 3 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Revised 10-Yard Fight Score
In an odd move, they revised their score for 10-Yard Fight in the May 1986 issue. It now sits at 3 out of 4 for graphics and 2 out of 4 for gameplay & entertainment value.
Clu Clu Land
Clu Clu Land was reviewed in the April 1986 issue and received 3 out of 4 for graphics and 3 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Excitebike was reviewed in the April 1986 issue and received 3.5 out of 4 for graphics and 4 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Wild Gunman was reviewed in the April 1986 issue and received 3 out of 4 for graphics and 3 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Golf and Tennis (sold separately)
Golf was reviewed in the May 1986 issue and received 3.5 out of 4 for graphics and 3.5 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value. Tennis was also reviewed in the May 1986 issue and received a 3 out of 4 for graphics, and 3.5 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Hogan’s Alley was reviewed in the May 1986 issue and received 3.5 out of 4 for graphics and 3.5 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Baseball was reviewed in the May 1986 issue and received 3.5 out of 4 for graphics and 2.5 out of 4 for game play & entertainment value.
Some of the readers have reached out to Computer Entertainer to give their impressions of the NES in the April 1986 issue. According to the editors, the reactions have been outstandingly positive.
Going forward we will post Computer Entertainer’s opinions and reviews as well as any news they might discover regarding the NES. If any other publications start up we’ll offer their information as well!