One week ends, another begins and here I return with another five (or so) Kotaku stories to praise.

  • If You Die In This Game, You Can Never Play Again. Ever. | This story by reporter Nathan Grayson was an unexpectedly huge hit with our readers and with people on Facebook. There's no great digging here. The piece certainly isn't as challenging to report as Nathan's ongoing coverage of Steam nor as tricky to write as his heartfelt tour through the 2015 Game Developers Conference. But sometimes the concept for a new video game is so enticing that even a short post about it will go viral. This one was helped by its irresistible headline.
  • Far Cry 4's Yeti DLC Is Fun, Has Yetis | Speaking of headlines, we still haven't figured out how to hook people's interest with our coverage of Far Cry 4, which is too bad, because this impressions piece by Kirk Hamilton is, to me, just about perfect for telling people about a new game. The writing is informative and entertaining, and Kirk's heavy use of captured visuals helps you see what he's talking about.

    Kirk and I have both been trying hard to make heavily-illustrated gaming impressions the norm on Kotaku, and you'll see that in a couple of other pieces we ran last week, including our second Metroid Prime "vgchat" and my bumped-up-for-the-PC-release review of the excellent Assassin's Creed Rogue. (You'll see a lot of captured footage in Evan Narcisse and Yannick LeJacq's work these days, too, to say nothing of madman Mike Fahey doing his thing in the new First Five series.)
  • The Face of Japan Is Changing, But Some Aren't Ready | A smart piece by our head of Kotaku East, Brian Ashcraft, about the reaction by some people in Japan to the nation's newest Miss Universe contestant and what it says about where the country is at. My other favorite non-gaming piece from us this past week was reporter Patrick Klepek's ranking of the Friday the 13th movies, a perfect indulgence for our resident horror movie buff.
  • When You Go To War, Be Sure To Drive A Couch | This was one of the better, funnier episodes of our regularly Highlight Reel show. The couch bit was great, but it's just one of several entertaining moments in this episode. Good work, as always, by video editor Chris Person. I am glad that, over the past year, we've found more and more ways to highlight the amazing/funny stuff gamers do in games. That's what gets us winners like this post about yet another incredible Halo snipe.
  • The People Who Make Brutal Video Game Porn | This long, reported feature about video-game-themed virtual porn by writer Patricia Hernandez was easily our most controversial piece of the past week. Patricia was fascinated by the Source Filmmaker porn scene which, not surprisingly, turns out popular work that isn't covered by the gaming press nor highlighted by the company behind Source, Valve. A popular, controversial thing that no one writes about? Sounds like something worth looking into, no? As she was reporting her story, Patricia decided to focus on one particularly productive and slick studio, FOW, which tends to make "non-con" porn. "Non-con" is pretty much a euphemism for rape, which made this a tricky topic even trickier. Why would people make these things? Why are people into it? What kind of pushback have the creators gotten? Etc.

    The article was widely read and seemed to satisfy a lot of people, but Patricia and I both heard from people who thought the article was either too condemnatory or not condemnatory enough. As I edited the piece, I thought it was clear that Patricia was repulsed by the videos but that, empathetic reporter (and person!) that she is, she wanted to listen and understand as best she could. There's a lot in her piece to chew on. It's an uncomfortable read, but I want Kotaku to tackle difficult subject matter involving the gaming sceneā€”whether it's stuff like this, SWATting, cheating, hacks, and so onā€”not just material that's familiar or palatable.

And that's it! Unless you're interested in some runners-up? Like this? Or this?

Got thoughts about what we published last week or about stories you'd like to see on the site? Let me know.

To contact the author of this post, write to stephentotilo@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter@stephentotilo. Top image via a Luke Plunkett rollercoaster post. "My five favorite posts" runs every Monday on our TMI blog, even on daysā€”grumbleā€”that I've supposedly taken off.