My Five Favorite Kotaku Stories From Last Week

Illustration for article titled My Five Favorite Kotaku Stories From Last Week

An unusually intense week down, another five Kotaku stories to highlight.

  • The Game Maker Who Became CEO: What Satoru Iwata Meant To Nintendo | The week began with the wrenching news that Nintendo’s much-liked CEO, Satoru Iwata, had passed away. I don’t usually highlight my own writing in these round-ups, but my obituary for him feels like the right thing to put first here, as I tried to explain what made him so special, at least on a professional level. Iwata’s death affected millions of gamers and we did our best to cover it with the care we believed readers wanted.
  • Girl Gets Back At Bullies With Pokémon Battle | Tina’s round-ups of reader anecdotes are always fun. This one was particularly rich as everyone told their tales about their best Pokémon victories.
  • God of War III Reveals Kratos For What He Is | I told Yannick that I didn’t think people were going to be very interested in a character study about Kratos, but he’d already written it and, once I read it, well, wow. Yes, people will always be interested in gaming analysis that is this smart. You were right, Yannick!
  • The Death Of Adobe Flash Is Coming, And Game Developers Are Worried | A good same-day reported piece from Patrick, the kind of which I always want to see more of. News hits, reporter burns up some shoe leather trying to find out what people affected by that news make of it, story runs by day’s end. Pretty basic, but essential, too.
  • Every Single Popular Destiny Gun Is Getting Nerfed | It’s not the story, frankly, it’s the opening paragraph of any Jason story about Destiny. Seriously, go through the pieces we’ve run about the game, especially the ones that have his byline. As a commenter said on the gun piece, his Destiny stories are worth checking out now just to see the latest way he’s describing Destiny, a game that Jason Schreier is hopelessly addicted to.

There were some other really strong stories last week, something I’m extra happy about given that two of our full-time writers, Kirk and Patricia, were out all week. Also, if you guys like MMA, do check out Nathan’s great writing about UFC. He’s still covering Steam as his primary beat, but he writes so much about MMA in our private chat room that I suggested he might as well just write about it for readers. He’s done so, and done it quite well.

One of the other big happenings for us last week didn’t involve Kotaku directly but is worth addressing for readers curious for any context. On Thursday night, one of our sister sites ran a highly-criticized piece about a publishing executive and an escort. The story was pulled on Friday following a vote by our company’s management team. Gawker themselves reported about the vote here. And company founder Nick Denton explained his discomfort with the post and reasons for wanting it pulled here. While there is occasional editorial overlap, Gawker Media sits are run fairly autonomously, and we all tend to read stories on sister sites the same way you do. In this case, our reactions were similar to a lot of the public’s.

The only thing Kotaku readers may have seen about any of this on was a statement from our editorial union, of which U.S.-based Kotaku writers are all a part of. The statement was about the union’s unhappiness with the process behind pulling the post, a decision that was made mostly by non-editorial employees. To outsiders, this may have seemed like a tangential concern, and I get that, but it actually pertains to the traditional approach to editorial at Gawker Media that we as writers and editors of sites like Kotaku value greatly. In the six years I’ve been at Kotaku as both deputy editor and editor-in-chief, I’ve never once even gotten pushback from the business side of the company about any stories we’ve run. I’ve worked through any issues involving our stories—blowback to articles I’ve believed in and blowback to articles I’ve regretted—with my team and, occasionally, with editors above me. We sometimes hear stories about other media outlets who publish—or don’t publish—in fear of how the sales people might freak out or how other people on the business end might react. It’s obviously on us to do stories that you guys believe in or that we can persuade you are worth doing. We will always strive for that.

A weekly post like this from me is also a place where, as I always say, I’ll hear out feedback about what we’ve run. And if there are ever instances where I worry that the business end of the company is affecting what Kotaku publishes, I will let you know.

Best GIF we ran last week? This one, made by Sam Woolley for Chris Suellentrop’s excellentTetris review (sorry if the review felt a little late):


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 or find him on Twitter@stephentotilo. Top image from Brian’s Japan travel FAQ, illustration by Taro Jacoby.



The issue with the Gawker piece is a really sticky one.

I see the editors’ side, wanting to maintain the autonomy of editorial and to prevent non-editorial from interfering in editorial matters. It seems counter to what the company is about to have such a decision made. Most of you do amazing work at this megasite, and it got a little less easy for you to have confidence in your reporting mandate with the new threat of a non-editorial axe over your heads.

I also see Nick’s side, both wherein the editors exercised extremely poor judgment in publishing that story, and wherein it contributed to the continued public view of the Gawker brand (and all its associated sites) as synonymous with tabloid garbage.

The story should have never seen the light of day; it’s a disgusting example of the shaming of gay people and it reveals no kind of social ironies or hypocrisies that shed light on any relevant issues. But once it was published, I think it should have stayed up.