Last year, the Society of Professional Journalists launched the Kunkel Awards. Designed specifically to cater to gaming journalists, the awards were meant to be a way to reward writers for good gaming journalism, and to lift the negative reputation the field had received over the years.
A noble goal to say the least.
As for how well they actually worked on the other hand… well the jury is still out on that one. The awards certainly went to good articles, but the actual concept itself never really hit the mainstream like it was expected to. No one covered it except for the winners.
But hey, the SPJ has decided to bring them back this year as well! And this time, there are some interesting new award categories to look out for.
Category 1 is the one for ‘best college journalism’, as to encourage a new generation of writers to start writing about video games. Fairly standard stuff, though perhaps kind of necessary given how non diverse the world of gaming journalism is at the moment.
And then there’s category 2. Or, as the SPJ puts it, the one for ‘worst story’.
Oh boy, this is gonna be contentious. Why? Because in a nutshell, it’s basically like the Golden Raspberry Awards/Razzies for gaming journalism. The winner is the most unethical, poorly written article related to video games. Like say, the ones listed in my article here.
Either way, based on how a lot of journalists handle criticism now (by whining about it on Twitter), I can see the nominations and results here going ‘viral’. Or at least, causing one hell of a fight on various social media sites.
Still, it’s necessary in today’s world of ‘fake news’ and poorly researched articles. And hey, maybe it’ll kill the whole ‘rush stories out as quickly as possible without fact checking’ trend that’s become so popular recently.
But what do you think? Are you interested in the Kunkel Awards returning? Is the idea of an award for worst story a good one? Post your thoughts on the matter at the Gaming Reinvented forums or on social media today!
Kunkel Awards Official Announcement (SPJ website)
As you probably know by now, gaming journalism… does not have a good reputation. It’s seen as corrupt, filled with obvious clickbait and flooded to the brim with articles based on questionable rumours from sources with absolutely no evidence behind it. Admittedly, that may or may not be a fair assessment of the field. But it’s definitely how the public think of it, for better or worse.
Yet as bad as the reputation may be, there are some examples of ‘journalism’ that well and truly live up to it. These include articles and videos based on questionable rumours, obvious clickbait made to attract pageviews from angry people and all manner of other things besides.
And so here they are. Here are the worst examples of gaming journalism in 2016!
12. SJW Says Super Mario Run is ‘Sexist’ Because She’s Captured in Super Mario Run
So let’s start this party with a bit of a bang. Or in this case, a delusional moron who’s never played Super Mario Run complaining that Peach being kidnapped is ‘sexist’ for the two hundred and fifty millionth time.
Of course, what makes it all more hilariously bad are the complaints brought up here. Oh no, she’s baking a cake instead of DJ-ing at a party! That’s a sexist stereotype!
No really, that’s actually from the article. As are comments about how the series should be ‘restructured’ to appeal to young girls. Because apparently Super Mario 3D World, Mario & Luigi Paper Jam and various other games where Peach is either an independent character or outright playable don’t exist, do they?
And to put the final nail in the coffin, this is in regards to Super Mario Run. You know, a game where…
Peach actually IS a playable character! No really, you unlock her as a playable character complete with floating ability after playing a bit of Toad Rally.
So not only is the article painfully outdated and cliché with its content, but it was clearly written by someone who’d played four minutes of Kingdom Tour and assumed Peach was only a damsel in distress. Hooray for thorough research there guys!
11. Destructoid Says Minecraft Billionaire ‘Feels Oppressed by Women’
But hey, at least Super Mario Run is sort of relevant news. Cause this Destructoid article (about an argument between Notch and Jennifer Scheurle on Twitter) really isn’t:
Basically, the latter posted a picture of a statue and said it was ‘Mansplaining: the statue’, then Notch followed it up with a comment about mansplaining being a sexist term and a joke involving the non word ‘cuntfusing’ some time afterwards.
Fair enough. It’s your usual back and forth between someone with more left wing political views and someone with more right wing political views. Like the other two hundred times it’s occurred on Twitter by now.
Which means it’s not newsworthy. Even if one guy was the creator of Minecraft and the other one was a game designer.
But no, they ran with it. What a pointless article to run on an otherwise respected website.
10. Polygon Tries to Play Doom
But hey, onto something a bit light-hearted now. Namely, Polygon’s absolutely terrible attempt at showcasing the 2016 version of Doom. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it:
It’s pretty obvious that whoever is filming this cannot play the game to save their life. Seriously, even the simple tasks of moving out of the way of enemy fire and not falling off cliffs while trying to shoot opponents seems to be beyond the person holding the controller.
Now admittedly, that’s not an uncommon thing for gaming videos. After all, if you ever saw people trying to play Mario Kart Wii before its release date, it was just one big cringey train wreck filled with karts and bikes flying off the road at every opportunity. And every Pokemon game seemingly gets recorded by an awful lot of gaming journalists and YouTube celebrities who clearly don’t have the slightest clue how the game mechanics work.
But here’s the thing:
Most of those were done by either one man bands or people whose jobs didn’t specifically involve playing games.
Polygon on the other hand, has a team of staff. Of which most of them likely have different interests and game genres they’re good at.
So here, someone who’s played an FPS before should probably have taken the reigns. That way, the video would have shown how the game actually works (aka when played by someone with any interest at all in the genre) and the site’s reputation wouldn’t have dropped even harder the minute the video hit the internet.
Still, it’s a simple mistake to make.
9. Metro Assumes Niantic is Making Harry Potter GO
Which is more than you can say about this one. Where the Metro newspaper is saying that Niantic is working on Harry Potter GO:
Sounds good, right?
Well, no. Because there’s just one snag here.
They’re not making Harry Potter GO. The original news story was from a questionable site (which might be rightfully classed as ‘fake news’) that ended up being debunked by Snopes.
And that’s not all! Because you see, they never bothered doing the research or actually looking at where the story came from. Instead, they found a random online gossip blog (which then quoted the fake site), and took their word as gospel. Great work guys! Not only did you not look up whether your source was a reliable one, but you never bothered to look up whether THEIR source was reliable as well!
Just goes to show you how much ‘research’ goes into news reporting this days…
With Mario and Luigi being Italian American, it would be quite reasonable to assume Wario and Waluigi were the same. After all, they’ve got similar names. They’re all voiced by Charles Martinet. And hey, even some of their friends and enemies from their own games are Italian in origin!
But did you know this wasn’t originally the case?
That Wario was actually meant to be German?
No, I’m not kidding. The original concept for Wario (in the days of the Game Boy and N64) was that he was going to be a German character rather than an Italian or Italian American one. It’s why his Mario Party 1 voice actor wasn’t Martinet at all, but German actor Thomas Spindler.
Who in a recent YouTube comment said:
This is 100% correct. Wario speaks German: he says (or rather, *I* say) ‘So ein Mist!’ The recording was done in a studio of the former Nintendo head office in Kyoto (not the new Nintendo premises in Kamitobaguchi), under the direction of Mr. Takashi Tezuka. Back then, I worked on the script for another Nintendo project with my French friend and colleague Julien Bardakoff (who voiced Toad/Kinopio). My company T.S. Word Co.Ltd. also translated and edited the German script for Star Fox which can be verified in the credits of Star Fox 64. The concept behind Wario was that of a German character and those responsible for the voice-overs at Nintendo back then intended him to speak German. I hope that this resolves the issue once and for all.
This may explain a few things about his portrayal in that era. Like say, his very different voice style to Mario and Luigi in the older games…
How this ‘doh I missed’ comment is actually meant to be the German phrase ‘So ein mist!’ (aka ‘Aw darn’):
Or (and this is probably a bit of a stretch), Waluigi’s own design as well. Maybe the Dick Dastardly similarities weren’t a complete coincidence there (remember what side Dastardly was on in his own second series of cartoons).
And while most of it got dropped when Martinet took over Wario’s voice in the Mario spinoffs, there’s even a bit of a German influence in Wario’s portrayals up to this day. For example, just tell me his theme from Mario Strikers Charged doesn’t sound like German folk music:
So yeah, seems Next Level Games wanted to provide a shout out to Wario’s roots as well. Guess even recent games haven’t completely forgotten about the original intentions for the character!
But hey, what do you think about this? Are you surprised that Wario was going to be a German character at one point? Or did you kind of realise this after hearing him in action in Mario Party 1?
Post your thoughts here in the comments below!
Wario Was Intended to be German? (Wario Forums)
Back in July, we wrote an article about underrated gaming channels on YouTube. Listing everyone from BlueJackG to Slopes Game Room and Boundary Break, the article showcased some of the best unknown video creators on the site in order to help them get a bit more attention and a few more views.
And oh damn did it succeed. Ever since that article, we’ve had:
- Slopes Game Room hit the bigtime and reach a massive 22,000 subscribers!
- Boundary Break… well, break out and bring its creator an even more insane 50,000+ subscribers!
- Arlo make it to more than 70,000 subscribers
Plus a whole lot more besides! Basically, everyone featured became a YouTube celebrity since their inclusion in the list, to the point many of them actually got their videos posted on big name gaming sites Nintendo Life and Kotaku!
And so we’ve decided to write another article, with ten more underrated gaming channels you should check out and subscribe to right now. Let’s see if these guys can become as popular as the folk on our first one, shall we?
Current Subscriber Count: 934
This interesting, yet depressingly obscure video game discussion channel. Named Game Sharks, this channel has some very interesting videos about game design in Nintendo titles. Like this recent one about Paper Mario Color Splash’s battle system:
Yeah, it’s a bit more low rent than say, Extra Credits. But the ideas are good, and the presentation is decent enough that I do consider it worthy of a bit more attention. So give Game Sharks a chance, because the creator has some great ideas that I think more people need to hear for themselves.
But it’s not only game design channels that need your support here. Oh no, quite a few Let’s Play creators need a bigger fanbase too.
Current Subscriber Count: 1,006
Like this guy, whose videos I first found while looking for a Super Mario 64: Last Impact walkthrough. Yeah, he’s another LPer making Let’s Players of video games, but there’s an awful lot to really like about his work. Such as the unique subject matter (he records lots of Mario 64 ROM hacks):
The good picture quality, which provides for a nice clear view of the game being played, as well as the decent commentary that keeps the whole thing interesting. It’s just a decent Let’s Play channel, and one I feel could become the next big thing if a few more people subscribe and share his work.
But you don’t even need to provide commentary to make some great YouTube videos…
Current Subscriber Count: 22,934
Just ask Skawo, aka one of the best LPers without a microphone that I’ve ever came across.
Sounds odd doesn’t it?
Yeah, I thought so. The assumption nowadays tends to be that a Let’s Play involves voice commentary. But they don’t have to, and in fact text LPs used to be a huge deal in the olden days of Something Awful. Like this one here.
And that’s what Skawo does. He plays games like Color Splash, while making amusing text commentary and jokes about it in the form of ORLY owls and counters.
Which is then made better by how ‘meta’ most of his commentary is. For example, is the game trapped in a time loop like the Dark Bloo Inn in Color Splash? Then his commentary will initially loop as well, before suddenly realising he’s already said this part and something funny is going on in the background. Did a hurricane suddenly chuck Mario into a giant hole while Huey says something obvious? Cue the owl appearing… before getting blown off the screen.
Heck, you even had a credits sequences with the owls in! Like the one at the end of this Paper Mario Color Splash video:
It’s an amusing gimmick, and provides an otherwise low key video format an edge that keeps it interesting in every episode.
But text Let’s Plays aren’t the only thing on this channel. Oh no, you’ve also got ROM hacking videos too. Because you see, Skawo is also a pretty well known ROM hacker. He’s working on Newer Super Mario Bros DS and Newer Super Mario Bros U on the DS and Wii U respectively, as well as projects involving games like Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon.
A while back, Nintendo pretty much melted the internet by announcing a theme park deal with Universal Studios. Under that deal, new themed lands would be opening based on their franchises, with rides, shops and restaurants themed after Nintendo games and characters. Basically, it was every fan’s dream come true.
And now we have a bit more information about it. Namely, that it’ll be called Super Nintendo World, will be coming to the Japanese Universal Studios Park first and will likely resemble this amazing concept art:
So what will it be like based on that?
Well, to start with, it’ll be mostly Mario themed. Yeah, you probably figured that one out already. I mean, even that video with Shigeru Miyamoto had lots of New Super Mario Bros/3D World style scenery littering the background:
And the press release itself says it’ll feature characters and themes from the Super Mario series:
Super Nintendo World will feature characters and themes from the “Super Mario” series, which has continued over the years to win the hearts of devoted fans around the world
But the concept art here backs it up even more. There’s what looks like Peach’s Castle at the bottom, Bowser’s Castle at the top left, a Mario World style mountain near the top right and large pipes and blocks everywhere. Basically, it’s the spitting image of a Super Mario 3D World map screen.
Which is amazing really. I mean, if it looks anything like the image above, it will be the best looking area at Universal Studios. Period.
Disney themselves would be probably be jealous of this concept!
But that’s not all. Oh no, other interesting aspects are:
- That it’s not just Mario. Areas and rides based on other franchises are planned here.
- How all 5 senses will apparently be used. So smell, taste and touch will be integrated into some attractions?
- The costs and benefits. 50 billion yen ($432 million) in development costs? That’s dedication, though the 1.1 million jobs and 11.7 trillion yen it’ll bring Japan will definitely make up for it!
So yeah, there’s a lot being planned here. You can see more of it in the press release here.
Yet that’s still not everything! Oh no, in addition to a press release, we also had some interesting patents posted online. These two (Drift Racers and Boom Coaster) both seem to be tech for planned rides at Super Nintendo World.
Here they are:
The Drift Racer patent describes a system where the driver controls the speed/drifting and rider controls some other stuff to affect other racers. Like say, the karts in Mario Kart Double Dash.
Whereas here, the Boom Coaster is a rollercoaster with two tracks. One is the fake ‘visible’ one the rider sees, the other is underneath it and actually controls the vehicle. This lets it simulate jumps between portions of track.
As you can see, the former is clearly meant to be for a Mario Kart attraction, and the latter for a Donkey Kong Country mine cart one. Both of which sound like amazing rides, I must say!
But what do you think of it? Are you interested in trying out Super Nintendo World soon? And if so, what other rides and attractions do you hope to see?
Super Nintendo World Official Press Release (Nintendo)