I’ve been working at Kotaku for *checks watch* nearly ten years now. In that time I’ve seen a lot of things change, and most of them have been for the better.
While we occasionally go public with editorial decisions, for most of that ten years we’ve evolved quietly and confidently behind the scenes, growing as a site as we’ve grown (up) as writers and as people.
That’s probably not something you notice if you just pop in every day/week/month and see how things are going. It’s been a gradual thing. Glacial. But if you take a step back and look at the longer view, it’s easy to see that there are things we talk about now that we never used to, and things we used to talk about that we just don’t care for any longer.
When I started here, in late 2006, our coverage was chaotic. The goal was basically to report on anything and everything we could find that related to video games. We were part of a wave of games publications that, embracing the 24/7 news cycle and trying in an adorably “I’m a grown up now” way to be important, strived to cover video games like a proper news site would cover proper news.
So we posted press releases. Financial reports. We listened in on investor calls. We posted .bmp screenshot galleries for upcoming games, we posted 117 trailers for games that would eventually be “meh”, we would post about an executive reading something from a script in a terrible interview.
It was successful, though, and amongst all that we did some very good work! But after a while, it was also tiring. In our rush to cover everything, we weren’t taking the time to examine whether the mountain of #content we were publishing was actually important. Whether it meant anything beyond acting as an independent branch of a game publisher’s PR hype cycle, or served any other wider purpose than to fan the flames of some bullshit fanboy struggle.
So first under the leadership of Brian Crecente, and now Stephen Totilo, we slowly moved away from that stuff. And a load of other stuff! When this site started we were mostly a bunch of writers in our mid-20s who were happy putting stupid inside jokes and giant faces on the internet for a few bucks per post. As we’ve grown older, become salaried employees, had kids and hired smart new writers, our tone has, if not matured, then...softened. Just a touch.
Anyway, all this reminiscing has a point: this is Senior Week 2016 here at Gawker Media! We’ll have new owners by next week, and we’re celebrating the last 14 years of quality and not-so-quality independent journalism with features across the network looking back at some of the work we’ve done in that time.
So below, enjoy a taste of the Kotaku that was. If you’ve been with us since the start, it’ll be a walk down memory lane. If not, well...websites are a lot like people. And just like people, from the safety of adulthood we’re free to look back on our formative years with equal measures of pride, shame and a dash of regret.
Oh, and please do not confuse any of this with the dumb shit that Kotaku still posts, thanks.