We publish hundreds of stories per week, and I like quite a few of them. Here are my five favorites from last week:
- A Chronicle Of Buggy, Broken Telltale Games, 2012-2015 | Kotaku featured a semi-intentional theme about quality control in gaming last week. We kicked it off with this horrifically thorough rundown by Kirk Hamilton of the many, many bugs reported by players of Telltale's Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and other licensed games. As Kirk noted, those games are usually well-reviewed, and yet they are routinely quite buggy. We thought it was about time we showed how technically flawed Telltale's games tend to be, because, really, how can this be acceptable?
By week's end we also have published a listing of all the big 2014 video games that got day one patches, an update on a dozen gaming-related Kickstarters that were funded but hadn't delivered, and a close look at a debacle involving a game controller Kickstarter that was over-funded to the tune of $200,000 but still not delivering. So, yeah, this is a loose theme and one we'll be revisiting throughout the year, with a focus on why so many games launch in such flawed states these days.
- Video Games' Blackness Problem | With refreshing specificity, Evan Narcisse and four game critics and developers talked about how black people are depicted in today's video games, noting pros and cons. I'm hoping they do another round of this, because it elicited some really interesting response publicly and privately. There's more to say on the topic, for sure.
- Meet A Teenager Who Says He's A Swatter | After having a lengthy conversation with someone who claimed to be a 16-year-old swatter, our reporter Patrick Klepek faced a conundrum. Even if the kid's story rang true—even if it passed muster with experts—what if we couldn't prove he'd done everything he said he'd done? We balanced that uncertainty with a desire to continue covering one of the worst modern Internet pranks/crimes. Patrick had written about swatting victims before and tried to show readers how they could better protect themselves from having mislead cops called to their homes. To get at why swatters would do what they do, we decided to present this story and put it, primarily, in the words of the self-professed swatter to let readers be the judge.
- The 5 Best TV Shows For Little Kids | Longtime readers know we don't only cover video games (though you can get a slightly slimmer gaming-only version of the site through Kotaku Core). That said, I'm still not sure people would have expected this piece from our man in Australia, Luke Plunkett. It made sense, though. Luke is one of several parents on the staff, and he's also been doing a fine job starting up our new The Bests subsite, which is dedicated to, well, talking about what our writers think is the best... portable Zelda, movie shootout, anime on Netflix, start to an Assassin's Creed, etc. So why not a list of the best TV shows for little kids? My runner-up for best non-gaming story of the week? Probably Brian Ashcraft's comical tour of Kim Jong-Un's hairstyles.
- YouTube Leak Derails Launch Of Big PS4 Exclusive | At the start of last week, numerous gaming news outlets ran stories about the how short then-upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive The Order: 1866 was. We didn't, because we thought that talking about the game's brevity without factoring in its quality didn't make much sense. I also thought that the more pressing story here, as Jason Schreier would chronicle, was how most people even knew how short The Order was. They didn't find out from a leaked review or a blog post from a rogue game tester. They found out via the unprecedented pre-release posting on YouTube of an entire playthrough of the game—a sort of Let's Play Early that garnered 100,000 views and transformed how people were literally looking at the game.
We failed to track down the people who did it to get their story, but some fortuitous keeping open of a browser tab allowed us to present some of the chatter about the video from YouTube comments that had otherwise been scrubbed from the Internet by the time our story ran. They did a good job of showing some of the differing opinions about the leak. I suspect we're going to see more and more pre-release playthroughs leak to YouTube, and I wonder how that'll impact those games which are sold not based on innovative gameplay but on exceptional graphics.
Bonus: If I can plug something I (half-)did, then how about this Metroid Prime chat between me and Kirk? Damn, that game holds up well. Our chat about Retro's GameCube classic is part of a recently-launched initiative to publish more of the casual conversations our staffers regularly have about video games. Too many of them good gaming conversations are left in our chatrooms, and I want to get more of them in front of readers. This was an example of that.
Got thoughts about what we published last week or about stories you'd like to see on the site? Let me know.