I was saddened this morning to hear that Joyce Worley-Katz, 1/3 of the editorial team of the pioneering ‘80s Electronic Games Magazine, has passed away. She was married to fellow EG editor Arnie Katz, and together with the late Bill Kunkel, they opened up a whole new area of entertainment journalism that many take for granted today.
I corresponded with Joyce early in the 2000s, at the urging of Bill K. (who was a mentor to many of us trying to follow in the gaming journalism field), about her experience in working with many of the behind-the-scenes personnel at Magnavox during the Odyssey2 years. I was working on a book to chronicle the system’s rise, shaky flight, and fall, and Joyce was happy to pass along any remaining contacts from those years, though some of them had already left us, leaving me without enough story for a whole book. (Which was a bummer – when two of your writing/editorial heroes who set you on the path you’re on today tell you that yes, you are the guy to tell this story…that’s a lot of validation right there.) What notes I was able to gather… form some of the backbone of the Select Game podcast covering the Odyssey2 and Videopac libraries.
Joyce will be missed. She plowed a new road alongside an emerging art form. And she is proof that, from the very beginning, women were a vital force in video games, and those trying to marginalize or silence their voices in that medium betray a complete lack of understanding of its history.