Kunkel Video Game Journalism Awards Announced

Annoyed at clickbait or gamer hating posts in the gaming media?  Want to support sites that don’t think Nintendo is doomed every time a new smartphone game becomes popular?  If so, you’ll be happy to know that the SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) has just announced the start of the Kunkel Awards for gaming journalism.  Judged by Michael Koretzky and open to submissions until February 2016, these awards are meant to promote high quality, ethical gaming journalism.  They’re open to all sites and sources (including ‘professional’ news sites, personal blogs and video channels), and include the following five categories:

Excellence in News Reporting

One story, or up to three stories on a single topic. News can be breaking (reporting on something that just happened), in-depth (studying a topic by surveying all sides), or investigative (digging into a topic by uncovering previously unknown facts). No one kind is considered superior by the judges.

Excellence in Feature Writing

One story, or up to three stories on a single topic. A feature can be a profile (an in-depth look at one person), a Q&A (a verbatim interview with one person), or a color piece (a descriptive put-you-there story).

Excellence in News Video/Streaming

One recording of no more than one hour. See description above. Can be edited down from a longer stream. As with written submissions, judges expect multi-sourcing

Excellence in Feature Video/Streaming

One recording of no more than one hour. See description above. Can be edited down from a longer stream. As with written submissions, judges expect multi-sourcing


Excellence in Photography/ Illustration/ Infographic

One photo, original illustration, or infographic. Visuals are a crucial part of journalism. Submissions should stand alone as visual elements but also complement any text surrounding them. Submit with any supporting text and as a separate file, so judges can focus on both elements.

So there’s plenty of room for all kinds of content, regardless of whether you’re a blogger, traditional journalist or video creator.  What’s more, all categories are judged based on things like accuracy (whether sources have been properly verified and facts are correct), balance (whether all sides have been covered in the article or video), clarity (whether the work is easy to understand), ‘verve’ (aka whether it’s interesting or ‘fun’ to read/watch) and whether the piece adheres to the society’s code of ethics.

Above: Descriptions and titles for categories from the SPJ website.

In other words, they want real journalism, not clickbait nonsense, rumours and personal attacks.  They want submissions that adhere to these guidelines and that try and give a balanced view of the story that takes into account different viewpoints.

Either way, it’s pretty impressive, and a real help for turning video game journalism into something of a more respectable field. We’ll be nominating our own favourites soon, and if you’re interested, you can find them here:

Excellence in News Reporting

Nintendo Force Magazine. The fact these fans and writers have come together to make a full print magazine about Nintendo (and entirely on their own dime, without publisher backing) is truly incredible and should be celebrated whenever possible.

Excellence in Feature Writing

Any of Emily Rogers’ works on Dromble (and past sites). I think her Star Fox article could be a good choice.

Excellence in News Video/Streaming

Maybe one of the Nintendo Direct streams, like GoNintendo’s. We haven’t thought much about this one yet, since we don’t get much news from fan made videos (and we doubt Nintendo Directs can be nominated)

Excellence in Feature Video/Streaming

Unseen64’s Project HAMMER video, no question about it. Both videos are amazingly well done, and give a ton of insight into the development of the game and the challenges within Nintendo as a company.

Excellence in Photography/ Illustration/ Infographic

Nope, we’ve got nothing here. Sorry.

But those are our choices for nominations, and we’ll be sending them in to the SPJ in the near future. So what do you think about the Kunkel Awards and their effect on video game journalism? Are we going to see more interesting, well written articles now that there’s actually an award to honour the best examples of the genre? Could this finally be the point at which the ad click chasing, bottom of the barrel scraping tabloid media gets replaced by a respectful gaming press that actually knows what it’s talking about?


SPJ Announces Kunkel Awards for Video Game Journalism – Techraptor

Nintendo; No Promises on a Waluigi Game

It’s not too surprising, but Nintendo were just asked about whether Waluigi could be getting his own game for once.  The answer?  Well, in their own words:

Basically, no promises on a Waluigi game, but have a joke picture instead. But hey, at least the fan game scene kind of made up for it, right?

Yeah. Just publish Psycho Waluigi and hey, there’s your official Waluigi game. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

The Future of Video Game Journalism

As many people know, gaming journalism is an industry that’s going through a bit of crisis at the moment. With AdBlock doing a huge amount of damage to revenue (up to 50% of gamers use Ad Blockers when browsing websites), competition getting fiercer by the day and events like GamerGate doing serious damage to its future sustainability, there are very real worries the field might disappear within the next few years or so.

So what’s the future of this somewhat turbulent industry? What’s going to replace the Kotakus and Polygons and IGNs of the world in the few years? What will change going forward? Well, quite a few things, and that’s what this article is about.

Either way, let’s start with the obvious prediction:

Videos and Let’s Plays Will Replace Traditional Gaming Media

It’s already started (what with popular gaming channels racking up millions of subscribers on Youtube and live streams on Twitch becoming near global phenomenons), but it will only get more and more obvious as time goes on. Text articles are on the way out, video coverage is in.

So why is this happening? Well, ignoring the obvious (the move towards user generated content and its many positives, as discussed later in this article), it’s because videos are simply better for showing how games work than other mediums.

Need a good example of what we mean? Well, go to GameFAQs or some other walkthrough site, and download a text guide for a game you’re playing. Now, go on Youtube and find a Let’s Play of the same title.

Above: This is easier to follow than the GameFAQs equivalent.

Which one is easier to follow?

It’s probably the video. Because in the video, you can see for yourself just how the game works, how someone gets through the levels and how things like the enemy AI and special attacks and game mechanics work. In a text walkthrough, you just to have to try and read between the lines and figure out what to do based on a vague description.

And reviews are better for similar reasons. When a text review says the graphics are good, you just get a few screenshots as proof. And for anything else, you have to take their word for it, since things like music, game mechanics and game difficulty levels are not well illustrated in a text and screenshot review on a web page.

Video reviews let you judge everything for yourself. Oh sure, the video commentator says the graphics or music are good, but do you agree with him? He or she says the game’s engine works well and the levels are well designed, but you can be your own judge of that too. Need an example? Well, which of these reviews makes it more clear how bad the game is?


Above: Superman 64 Reviews by Gamespot and the Angry Video Game Nerd.

But now that the obvious is out of the way, how about non video content? What’s the future for written articles and news in the industry?

Well, it’s hard to say. But…

User Generated Content Is the Way Forward

Which again, is already pretty clear if you’ve a hardcore gamer. You’re probably getting more of your news from gaming forums, Reddit and social media anyway. But in the near future, it’s pretty much going to become the norm for everyone; all gaming news and articles will be written and posted by unpaid fans and amateurs rather than ‘professional’ journalists.

Continue Reading…

Nintendo Announces Miitomo, its first mobile title

So, the wait is finally over and Nintendo’s first smartphone title has been revealed!  So what is their first app?  What Nintendo franchise or IP is going to be the first to make it over to smartphones?

Well… none of them.  Instead, their first title is something called Miitomo.  A free to play Mii based game with micro transactions (in other words, a freemium game like Candy Crush Saga and such likes), it lets players use Miis to communicate with others, in what appears to be some sort of hybrid between a traditional mobile app and Animal Crossing.

Here are the slides from the financial presentation announcing the ‘game’:

Miitomo1 Miitomo2 Miitomo3 Miitomo4 Miitomo5 Miitomo6 Miitomo7 Miitomo8 Miitomo9 Miitomo10

Miitomo11 Miitomo12 Miitomo13 Miitomo14 Miitomo15 Miitomo16 Miitomo17

So what do we think about this new app?  Well to be honest… we’re not even sure what the point of it is.  Is it supposed to be a cross between SwapNote, Miiverse and Animal Crossing?  Is the focus purely on the Mii customisation and ‘random’ conversations?  Why are Nintendo going with this for their first title?

It’s certainly a strange situation, and it’s not one that’s got investors particularly confident either.  Apparently, the company’s shares fell by 7.5% after the reveal, which implies quite a few of the investors are confused about the thing as well.  Perhaps a more… ‘traditional’ game would have worked better here?

But what do you think?  Is ‘Miitomo’ something you’re interested in playing?


Nintendo Unveils First Smartphone Game – Wall Street Journal

Nintendo sharing details about its first mobile game tonight!

With their partnership with DeNA announced back in March this year, it’s been quite a while since we last heard anything about Nintendo’s plans for mobile games.  But now, it seems the wait is over.  Tonight, the company will share the first details about its first new mobile game, with said details being made available in the company’s financial briefing.

DeNA logo

As Nintendo president and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has said earlier:

We will provide updates on our project with DeNA tomorrow

So yes, the wait is finally over.  Later today (or early tomorow if you’re like us and live in Europe), Nintendo will share details about its first mobile game.  What do you thnk about the announcement?  Are you excited for the company’s first foray in mobile gaming?


Nintendo to Unveil its First Video Game for Smartphones – Wall Street Journal