A little more than 100 Kotaku readers entered our contest for a chance to be a Kotaku Editor for a day... and to get their hands on all of that lovely swag.
We randomly picked out five finalists from the list for you, the rest of the readers, to check out. I'll be creating a poll later today for votes. The person with the move votes on the morning of December 30 will get the guest pass to our tower and all of those goodies.
A Weighty Debate: Discussing Fat Princess
Summer 2008 was bloated with big video game news. However, nothing had such caustic social impact on the quiet hamlet that is the video game community as the reaction by some gamers to the screenshots of Fat Princess. Some were amused, some ambivalent, others angered and others were ready to eat the heart of the title's art director.
Leigh's article on the matter was an honest meditation on what the whole hullabaloo was about and, most importantly, opened the virtual floor to discussion on why this game in particular had awoken such strong feelings on gender biases and the effects a game's aesthetic can have on our own social stigmas.
Lunchtime With The Brothers Chap: Strong Bad's Creators Speak And Eat
Simply put, all Kotaku interviews should be held in a Waffle House. This interview had such a casual vibe to it that made for a much different experience than the run of the mill video game interviews. That and it was just damn funny.
Sure this piece could come off as, I dunno, pointless… but to me it came off as a welcome breath of fresh air. There was no pretentiousness, no sterile questions, no butt kissing; just some good freakin' conversation on a video game the two rogueish gentlemen helped create.
Kotaku's 2008 Gift Guide of Obscene Nicety and Sublime Naughtiness
I started reading Kotaku in Fall of 2007 rather casually. Then, that holiday season I read the 2007 gift guide. Since then I check Kotaku several times a day. Reason being, that year end gift guide proved to me that Kotaku was more than just a blog about video game news but more about gaming/geek culture.
This yearly feature is something I love about Kotaku because it's not just a review of the best games/peripherals/systems of the year. There's heart behind this list. There's a genuine care for the video game community and then some. The list is Kotaku winking at me while gently delivering a playful punch to my shoulder as if to say "I gotcha, kid". This year's list is no different.
Braid Review: Time, Time, Time, See What You've Done To Me?
Don't get me wrong, I really liked Braid. It was a really great game. But, this review of the game ended a little too much as though Michael was on the take. While I completely respect his opinion, I feel as though putting that "I finished the game" as a con diminishes the weight of the review.
Resident Evil 5 Interview Confirms Africa Setting, Explains Why
The teaser trailer for Resident Evil 5 that came out in late 2007 had fans of the series (including yours truly) salivating with excitement and groups outside of the gaming spectrum perspiring with outrage. As claims of racism and the creation of an "ethnic cleansing" video game were being made, no one could really say anything of measure to counter the claims.
When it was finally revealed that the nature of the infamous "black zombies" was decided upon for artistic reasons it seemed to me like there could be some great discussion on where creative license ends and social responsibility begins when it comes to video game creation. I was hoping to hear this from Kotaku, but I didn't.
I chose this article in particular because I felt that when it was revealed that RE5 was taking place in Africa that perhaps Kotaku would bring some voice and opinion to the matter, not unlike it has done in the cases of politics in video games or social stigma and video games (See Leigh's article above). When there was some opinion on the matter by Kotaku it didn't happen until much later and was very restrained.
E3 Survey Indicates 2008 Edition May See More Changes
I heard about E3 when I was still in middle school. Back then, E3 sounded about as awesome as riding a rollercoaster while hopped up on soda and touching a boob at the same time. That fantasy sounded about right up until Kotaku's E3 2008 coverage. It wasn't your guys' fault, it was the ESA's new convention format that slew what was one of the most amazing gamer events. And you guys knew it.
Since the readers get to live vicariously through you guys who were actually there, I was hoping to hear just how awful it was not having the hands on demos, the awesome giveaways and the booth babes. This article by Michael McWhertor was about the industries opinion on E3 2008 and seemed the most opportune moment to offer soem genuine retrospect. I wish I had heard something more insightful and entertaining than "the inefficiency of press conference schedules. Come on, Mike, raise your fist and brainstorm on how E3 2009 should be a return to gamer Valhalla!
Things We Wish We'd Seen at E3, But Didn't
It's articles like that which show Kotaku as a website that know what gamers want to see, not a news website with faceless editors that exists only to make money from advertising revenue. It's a gaming community website, that exists to be firstly good for the gamers. Then to make money from advertising revenue.
Here's Your Kotaku Podcast, Maybe
This one is gold. It's a brilliant idea for a podcast, it's original and doesn't just do the same thing every other gaming podcast in the world does.
What's All This Playstation Wars Business
Again, this one says another thing about Kotaku; it isn't sensationalist. It didn't try to capitalise on the "playstation wars" story, instead offered the truth about what's happening.
Kotaku Video Podcast: Excuses Testicles and Resistance 2
While the TF2 one was a hit, this one was badly disorganised and I found it a bit too annoying to finish watching. Too many times did an attempt to spark converstation end in a stream of "uh"s and it's just a bit too long for me to watch without getting bored and... well... wanting to play Resistance 2 for myself.
Nintendo Feels All Grown Up Changes Logo
Not notable in the slightest. That is really all there is to say.
Look Ma I'm a Death Knight
I like the way Kotaku gives an insight into the bloggers via the day\night notes etc, but tbh I don't think an article about how Fahey managed to reach Death Knight fits into the site at all.
Elvis Aint Dead
Jack Thompson Defends Mass Effect
I honestly found the original clip of the Fox News program hilarious, with one of my favorite quotes of all - time "Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas." The entire Mass Effect controversy was one of the funniest in video game industry history. So when Jack Thompson said "OK, guys, you're going a little overboard with your attacks on video games here" that's what really brought it to the forefront in my mind. I also love that Brian sort of regularly tries to make Jack Thompson go insane via email.
Two Brothers Meditating Upon Questions of Pac - Man
Owen talking with his brother about Pac - Man poop? Yeah, that needs to be on this list. I liked how Owen wanted to count the ghosts as "roughage" and Fletch responded with "THEY GHOSTS." I have had my share of IM conversations somewhat similar to this one, but none are as hilarious.
What Game Developers Do When Their Games Launch
This really interested me, it sort of makes me look forward to when I'm out of college working in the graphic design industry, and I get to go down to see my design in action, see someone purchase something or look at something that's been printed with my own design. It has to be an interesting day in the life of a game developer, when something you've thought about and worked on for months or years is truly finished, is finally accomplished.
You Gotta Have Faith: Does Style Beat Out Realism?
I love most of Leigh's work, I've actually read Sexy Videogameland a few times since I read her on Kotaku for the first time a while back. This article, I can't say that I got. I was unsure as to why the topic sparked so much discussion in the first place, was it just a bunch of guys arguing over breast size? As for Style vs. Realism, both have their place in the industry, and they can also work hand in hand. That seems obvious to me so the article didn't work for me in that regard. The other part about the article I didn't like was that it sort of seemed like one of those junior high school papers that you write when you're supposed to give both sides of the argument. When I see a title of "Does Style Beat Out Realism?" I'm thinking that the writer has a strong opinion. While her opinion ended up being similar to mine, I found the whole article kind of unnecessary and felt dissatisfied after reading it. Just want to reiterate that it's definitely not a knock on Leigh, it's more about the topic she chose.
Analyzing the Analysts, Episode Two
I was bored. I tried reading through all of it and I simply could not. This post was just extremely boring. I honestly applaud Tori for going that in - depth, but I can't imagine that a whole lot of your readership really cares that much about analysts.
Spore Review: Evolutionary Creationism
At the time I was trying to decide whether to get Spore or not. I didn't feel any closer to a decision by the end of the review, I felt a little confused about what the game was. From the review, it sounded like it was 5 games in one, and that none of them would really fall under my definition of fun. Yet, at the end of the review it was heralded as a "spectacular game, one that everyone should experience." There were 5 reasons to hate this game according to Brian, and I felt like they were cast aside somewhat by the end. Also, I disagree strongly with the love/hate thing about Will Wright making the game a certain way to have "praise and problems." I don't care if it's Will Wright, you make a game to sell copies, and to entertain, not to frustrate gamers with problems. Wright isn't infallible, Spore appeared to prove that, but it came across as if Brian wasn't willing to admit it. I don't think objectivity is a problem with any of Kotaku's writers, but the praise of Wright could make someone who doesn't know any better perceive it that way. I went to Metacritic after reading this review to help make my decision, and Kotaku reviews are way better than Metacritic.
"Please, Economic Crisis, Put an End to the Christmas Rush"
- Luke Plunkett makes a very good point in this article. For the past who-knows-how-many-years, I've found myself in a crunch over which games to ask for or purchase during the holiday season. I personally had not thought of how the crisis was going to affect that this year, possibly because as a first year college student I've found I don't have as much time for games. Yet thinking of how this will affect sales and ultimately decide the fates of new IPs (i.e., Mirror's Edge,
Dead Space), is actually quite interesting. It also provides insight onto which months might be best for releasing your games, but also provokes the thought of "what happens if no one released their games during the holidays?" and "how will this affect my wallet?"
"The Rush to Review"
- I had always wondered how some sites get their reviews up days, sometimes as far as a week before the full game comes out. I always suspected beta copies, but I never wanted to admit it. Brian Crecente's article about rushing to review Little Big Planet did make some good points – when is it safe to review? Do consumers not want reviews prior to release do they know whether or not to buy? Is the beta close enough to the final product? What if the game needs to be patched? Quite personally, I've always like the timely review, on or shortly after release date, but this article made me re-think that. If I get my article prior to release, what exactly was being reviewed? Few articles change my perception of how I buy, but this one did.
As both a gamer and a user of Facebook, I found this article extremely interesting. Reading that Gnosis Games CEO Dan Irish is considering using Facebook gamers as a sort of focus group to see which elements of games could work in other projects make me wonder if those few games of Jetman a day are my contribution to the game industry. I've never (besides Scrabulous) considered the effects of Facebook on any sort of games. Until I read this, I really thought Facebook games were made for some people to have a little fun – not as focus testing.
"It's Not Games Convention Until the Stripper Mobile Arrives"
As much as I love my coverage of the industry conventions (E3, ComicCon, TGS, you name it!), I did not see a point in this article. When I look at my Games Convention news, I expect something involving the industry. This particular post seemed like an anecdote posted for the sole purpose of getting some laughs because of outrageous statements. While I love to hear about your misadventures, some stories are better for around the water cooler, where they don't get
mixed in with the real stories. If this absolutely had to be posted, (which it didn't, all it did was get woman-objectifying comments), it could've been saved for a Day Note/Night Note.
When I got to this post, the first thing I thought was "uh-oh, here comes the flame war. " Luckily, the flame war wasn't too terrible. However, part of the article was. Besides asking the question, Owen Good described the two distinct problems. He also makes the mistake of being judgmental in a poll, expressing that "Is it — I'll go ahead and put it out there — at all equivalent to Xbox's Red Ring of Death PR nightmare?" There are times, even as a journalist, when one must keep their ideas to themselves, and when you're asking an opinion poll, that's one of them. It made the entire poll lopsided. Owen's opinion is a valid one, but was not meant for the information section of that article.
"Kill Uwe Boll in Postal 3"
Everyone knows Uwe Boll's movies are all a few fries short of ahappy meal. Now that we've moved past that, this headline is really what killed the article for me. Reading the article further, it was about so much more – how Postal 3 was going to be different from others in the series. Even then, it focused on the buxom babes and killing Uwe Boll. This article should have focused more on the details (which, I will admit, quite a few were there) and analyzed those,
rather than glorifying being able to kill Uwe Boll. An appropriate headline would have made a world of difference in how I perceived this article.
Kotaku Podcast, Now With Zombies
I liked this podcast because its fun just to watch people play this game, and it gets better when people attempt to have a conversation during the mayhem. "I think the economy could really take a turn for th-AHHH DAMNIT, HUNTER ON ME, HELP HELP!" "Oh I quite disagr-TANK TANK TAAAAAANK!!!!"
While I'm not sure which side of the fence I'm on, the article really made me think about the gap between those that are "in the know" and those that are true hobbyists that don't really care what other people had to say about a game. On one hand you could be taken as a game snob who spews a mass of review snippets at any game you ask about, or you could be seen as someone who just happens to know more then you and who is there to help. Maybe its all in the presentation. To this day I hate it when people throw review numbers at me in GameStop. I don't care if GTA got game of the year and an avg of 9.8 on metacritic, if I want to buy imagine: Party Babiez then that’s what I'm going to buy. I think the outcome is now I try to convey my experience with the game, and if I haven’t played it yet, I just say that.
Jack Thompson Disbarred
I was sincerely impressed with the classy way kotaku handled this situation. From start to finish I never really saw kotaku go for the cheap shots that most of the web had been engaging in. No "Kill Jack Thompson" GIFs, no "neener neener hahaha" behavior. This story pretty much wrote itself and I was impressed that kotaku presented it in such a way that didn't cheapen it.
The Death of (Video Game) Criticism
Personally, I want Ebert’s jowls above my fireplace, something about him just rubs me the wrong way. Aside from that, there’s only so much room for game journalists to reflect and write about game journalism before it becomes something that nobody wants to hear anymore, this article crossed the line for me. I officially don't care who has what to say about game journalism and critics anymore. I'm sure I'll eventually float back to neutral on this but my quota is filled at the moment, please pass the DLC posts with a side of game cake.
Mirror's Edge Review: Leap of Faith Ends in Splat
First off let me say I appreciate how kotaku is approaching reviews. I really enjoy it and I wholeheartedly endorse the non numeric system. Having said that, when your title includes "ends in splat" it doesn't really persuade readers to read on. The lich king review quoted led zeppelin. Smart, quirky, non revealing. But when you stack up a few links for mirrors edge on a site and you see "2.5, 1 1/2 stars, ...ends in splat" your not enticing anyone to even read the article.
A Concrete Jungle
OMG nostalgia! Not picking on Luke, I realize that this was just for funzies, but I found it to be filler. I know I'm knit picking but I seriously hit kotaku twice an hour daily, so new posts are like candy. This was the sugar free hard candy that no one likes but grandparents.