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Chris Kohler papers

 Collection — Box: 1-2
Identifier: 117.501

The Chris Kohler papers contain materials from 1993 through 2000, with the bulk of the papers dated between 1994 and 1998. This collection contains materials related to original fanzines created and collected by Chris Kohler. These include digital and audio materials, correspondence, reviews, clippings, stories, fanzines, fliers, administrative materials (labels, business cards, receipt), and drawings (original and copied).

The Chris Kohler papers have been arranged into three series, one of which has been divided into subseries. This collection is housed in two archival document boxes.


  • 1993 - 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1994 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access

Cassette tape and 3.5” floppy disks require advance notice to access and are limited to on-site researchers only.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)


This compilation of fanzine materials exhibit Chris Kohler’s role in video game culture as well as provide a unique and unfiltered view of video games, the gaming industry, and culture from a community of players passionate about video games. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1994 and 1998.

Biographical Note

Chris Kohler is an American author and video game journalist.

While in sixth grade, Chris Kohler worked on his first video game “magazine” that included tips, reviews, and artwork. In 1993 at age 13, Kohler produced the first six-page issue of his fanzine Video Zone (titled after the final level of the television show Nick Arcade) using Microsoft Publisher 1.0. Kohler continued publishing Video Zone throughout the 1990s. (Though fanzine creators rarely profited from their homemade publications, the primary method of compensation was sending someone a copy of your own ‘zine in return.) Kohler received his first paid assignment at 16 years old to write for Game On! USA. He later became Editor of the Game|Life section of WIRED from 2005 to 2016.

As of 2017, he is Features Editor at the video game website Kotaku. Kohler is the author of Power Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, Retro Gaming Hacks: Tips & Tools for Playing the Classics, and Final Fantasy V. He is also a co-host of the long-running trivia podcast “Good Job, Brain!”

For additional information on Chris Kohler and his fanzine history, see his interview with J.P. Dyson for the CHEGheads Blog.

System of Arrangement

Series I: Fanzines, 1993-1999

Subseries A: Video Zone fanzine, 1994-1999
Subseries B: Fanzines with contributions from Chris Kohler, 1994-1998
Subseries C: Fanzines collected by Chris Kohler, 1993-1995

Series II: Correspondence, 1993-2000

Series III: Miscellaneous, c. 1996-1998

Custodial History

The Chris Kohler papers were donated to The Strong in January 2017 as a gift from Chris Kohler. The papers were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 117.501 and were received from Chris Kohler in one box (along with other fanzine materials housed in the library).

Related Materials

Copies of other fanzines collected by Kohler, as well as copies of Video Zone, have been transferred to library holdings at The Strong and can be located by searching the online library catalog.

Processed by

Nicole Pease, August-October 2017
Finding Aid to the Chris Kohler Paper, 1993-2000
Nicole Pease
October 2017
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)