Joshua Rivera, Kotaku staff writer and noted Metroidvania hater, has decided to venture back out into the wilds of the internet from whence he came. We’d like to wish Joshua all the best on his way out the door that it feels like he only just entered through.
Although he’ll still be occasionally freelancing for Kotaku, we wanted to mark this seismic shift in his Kinja admin privileges with a third-degree roasting so if he ever comes back to whatever constellation of ex-Gawker sites still exists a third time, he’ll think twice before leaving again.
Josh and I share an office. It was a pretty okay set up, due to the fact that he gleefully joined me in stealing a couch from a studio stage and propping it in here so that we could be comfortable and not have to stay hunched over our desks like blog-gremlins. So right away, I knew he was legit. His time at Kotaku’s proven that even further. Josh is stupidly good at putting art into a historical context, honing in on why something is the way it is and what its legacy really has become. That’s not an easy thing to do but he does it as easy as falling asleep. Which I imagine he will finally be able to do, having extricated himself from the roller coaster nightmare ride that has been The Heartbeat of Next.
I never sat next to Joshua. I don’t know if he’s nice. I think so? Let’s hope.
What a sad day for two of Kotaku’s POC (?) to leave us. And you almost made it a year! I hope you appreciate my efforts to mask the fact that you’ve actually been fired for trying to burn down a federal building by throwing crumpled-up scraps of poetry at it in the rain. For your next shot at this sort of thing, try writing better.
I often find myself awed by your breakneck shifts between carefully practiced everyman chuckleheadedness and I-did-Lincoln-Douglas-debate-in-high-school-once oratory flair. I’ve come to admire you for the time you clearly spend practicing your goofy “I’m harmless” smile-and-shrug in the mirror. I will miss the times your “ehhh”—always performed with excessive vocal fry, sometimes lasting for several precious minutes of our meeting time—has led to absolutely nothing of import. You are the Barack Obama of ahhh-ing and tittering your way through “I wanna save the art, guys! J’accuse!” pitches in our morning meetings. Congratulations, you win a drone. The drone is you.
I will lament the absence of your Sisyphean effort to cram a Classical metaphor into every post and claim that it was easier that using plain fucking English, as I will miss the melodramatic way you write about yourself. I’ll try to recreate it here: I weep for Kotaku’s loss. I weep for your prose. I curse you with the gravitas of the internalized shame I have absorbed from the wood of the pew. I am haunted.
In seriousness, you’re one of the most passionate and genuinely talented writers I’ve ever worked with. My favorite kind of writer is one who’s not attached to any idea except the one that he can do better, stronger, more meaningful work, whether that’s from first draft to final draft, from pitch to pushback to knowing you can pull it off anyway. You can.
You’re going to do huge things in this hell industry. Or maybe you’ll get an MFA and write a shitty novel. I could see that for you. Either way, go be successful. You deserve it, you jerk.
I never got to meet Josh in person, which is good, because I feel like he’s the kind of guy I could team up with to do crimes. His endless inquisitiveness, which has lead to countless amazing articles on video games, would be perfect for planning capers and heists. Quite a waste, really.
I’d been following Joshua’s work since I first spotted his occasional aloof, try-hard gaming takes over on GQ, including such bangers as “Whaaa, whaaa I hate podcasts and Fallout 76.” Sometime after that I learned that he’d once interned at Kotaku back when blogging was still cool.
For some reason that made me think Joshua was perpetually 22-years-old or something, a notion he casually disabused me while talking shit on some acclaimed game, maybe Horizon Zero Dawn, at which point I realized he was approximately my age biologically, though many years wiser and more battle-hardened due at least in part to his already somewhat storied history of hitchhiking through the broken wasteland that is digital media.
Unfortunately, Kotaku has not ended up staying his home for long either. Instead, Joshua has decided to try and peddle his harsh truths elsewhere, a bold and unflinching endeavour in which I wish him all the best. Joshua always called on his colleague to aim higher and truer, a calling I will continue to try to live up to.
Josh was the only Kotaku staffer with whom I could comprehensively discuss timeless emo-turned-prog-metal band Coheed and Cambria—responsible for songs ranging from anthemic mainstream hit “Welcome Home” to more recent, underrated bangers like “The Dark Sentencer”—and that, to me, is the single most important quality in a human being. I suppose he also wrote some absolutely stellar pieces of criticism, reporting, and analysis, but mostly, I will miss our sporadic Coheed discussions. I’ll mourn them every day.
Josh is a messy bitch who lives for drama which is why i immediately knew we’d be good friends. I mean seriously: Josh is shady. He’s a walking eyes emoji. If there’s any way he can stir up drama for the sake of it, he will do so. Unfortunately this dweeb is also a master at rhetoric. The last time he shared a controversial video game opinion, he almost convinced me that I don’t like Horizon Zero Dawn, which is absurd, because that game is good and Josh is wrong. Eat shit, dude, and may the world always remember the Fear Of A Brown Kotaku.
I just want to congratulate Josh on finishing up his internship and say sorry it had to come to an end too soon. [holds finger to earpiece] I am being told this was actually a permanent job and he is resigning. Ah! Well, nevertheless,
The most effective roast I could deliver unto Joshua would be that it’s his fault that I don’t know anything embarrassing or ridiculous about him because he didn’t work here for long enough for me to find out any of the really good stuff. Instead, Joshua has just been a great writer and a cool person for the entire (all too brief) time that he worked here, so he gets to go out the door with basically a halo over his head, none of us any the wiser. So, that’s a messed up move to pull, clearly.
Joshua also had the “privilege” (ha ha) of working here during what has arguably been the most tumultuous time in the company’s history, although that’s debatable, because this company loves its tumult. The fact that he kept his head above water and put out some incredibly good articles in that time is worthy of a level of praise that I guess isn’t supposed to be in a roast. Every time Joshua and I have worked together on a story, or just forced the entire rest of Kotaku’s Slack to listen to us talk about X-Men for as long as we feel like it, it’s been a pleasure.
Lastly, Joshua isn’t even “really” leaving because he’s going to keep freelancing for us here, so this whole premise is fake, and he clearly just wanted an excuse to read a bunch of compliments and jokes about himself, even though he’s going to still kind of be around. Whatever, Josh!
Joshua is a sharp, brilliant writer whose work has inspired and provoked me. But there’s one thing that continues to confound me. Joshua consumes unfathomable amounts of film and television, plays through the entirety of massive games like Borderlands 3 and Jedi Fallen Order, reads books, maintains a healthy adult relationship, and yet still somehow finds the time to tweet 4,000 times a day. I can only assume he has one of those time traveling devices like Hermione in Harry Potter and all of his days are actually 48 hours long, which will be a nice boon as he prepares to re-enter the world of freelance writing.
I really enjoyed working with Joshua in the two weeks he’s been at Kotaku and I will miss him quite a bit.
I’m shocked I’m alive at a time when a major video game site had two illustrious brown brothers on staff. I’m even more shocked that the less hot one of us is leaving. I thought I would’ve been the first to go, but I guess the only Puerto Rican energy I’ll absorb now will be the all of the Bad Bunny I’ll bump in my office. Seriously though, Joshua has been someone I’ve grown to admire and have the realest conversations with in my office whenever he was nice enough to check in on me. He’s encouraged me to take bigger swings when I’m at bat and his writing continues to inspire me to say things with gusto. Joshua’s got the kind of energy to cut through the bullshit and tell it like it is and we desperately need more of that. In fact, I’m sure we’ll see more of it on this site anyway. I’ll probably see him pop into my office on Monday or something. It’s really been an honor working with someone like Joshua and I know this ain’t a goodbye forever because I also made the mistake of making plans to hang out soon. So I guess we’re like friends now or whatever.
Joshua’s still planning on freelancing for us, so I’m not sure why I’m writing a roast for him. But then I started thinking back to his first days at Kotaku, which were, what, about a month ago? How much he’s accomplished since then!
Josh is a stellar critic, one who cares deeply for each sentence he puts on the page, who works hard to draw the reader in and who endeavors to challenge them with new ideas. He cares for the voices others don’t hear, and he seeks to amplify them. He is doing essential work.
As a boss, I try to do right by all my employees. And so I end this with an apology to Joshua, avowed lover of in-game audio logs, that I have typed this appreciation for you so that it will appear on a webpage whenI should have recorded it on a tape, put that tape in a tape recorder, hidden that tape recorder in an air duct and then just let you find it. I assure you, you would have enjoyed it more that way.