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)
It’s been in development for years, but Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is now available to download! Created by WayForward, it’s part of a great (but underrated) series of 2D platformers dating back to the Game Boy era, and is well worth a buy for anyone interested in that genre.
So yeah, watch the trailer here:
And go buy it on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, Vita or Steam right now. Well okay. I guess you could wait for a physical release if that’s your thing. I mean, that’s out in just a week too.
But either way, it’s gonna be a good game. Check it out if you get the chance!
WayForward’s Announcement on Twitter
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.
Interested in seeing the new Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild footage? Want to know what games win at the 2016 Game Awards?
If so, then you can watch the awards right here:
This is because like most events (such as Nintendo Directs and E3 presentations), the whole thing is being streamed on its official YouTube channel. So once it starts in about an hour or so, you’ll be able to catch everything via the video player above.
As for us? Well, it’s getting late here, so all coverage of tonight’s events will probably be done in the morning. But if you are still awake tonight, go and watch the awards and tell us what you think!
In the last few years, leaked video game information has become an extremely common thing online. You’ve got cases like with Pokemon Sun and Moon where every release gets datamined weeks in advance. There are examples like Paper Mario Color Splash, where information is unintentionally made available due to the game being accidentally released two weeks early. And through insiders, anonymous posts and YouTube mess ups alike, we’ve seen everything from Assassin’s Creed to Call of Duty and Rayman revealed way before it was supposed to be.
Yet even with the rise in leaked information, it seems a large portion of the press doesn’t seem to want to cover anything early. You’ve got people posting screenshot upon screenshot on forums and videos popping up with the entire soundtrack, all while the press sits on their ass and does nothing for days on end. Or if you’re lucky, posts about one or two random discoveries while trying their very best to ignore the rest of it.
But I disagree. I think every gaming site should cover ‘leaked’ information to the fullest of their ability.
Well for one thing, because that’s closer to journalism than anything else the gaming press has done. Journalism means going out of your way to find information that the powerful do not want others to know. It means bending the rules to get the news your readers want rather than those that make for someone else’s good PR.
Look at the rest of the media for example. Yeah, they’re not as good as they used to be (especially where investigative journalism is concerned), but they don’t just sit around online and wait for information to come in. Or game companies to email them press releases.
Instead, they go out and look for a story. That might mean heading into a dangerous war zone in the midst of a global crisis. It might mean interviewing someone who might otherwise not want to provide any information about current events. Or attending political rallies and events, perhaps even undercover!
When’s the last time you saw a video game journalist go ‘undercover’ to get a major news story? Probably never to be honest.
And that’s kind of a problem with entertainment ‘journalism’ now. It’s not really journalism, it’s more an industry PR branch. It’s more about making the games and corporations look good than telling the readers what they really need to know.
But journalism isn’t supposed to be like that.
Journalism isn’t really about ‘making friends and influencing people’. Heck, some journalists would say that being friends with your subjects is the mark of a terrible journalist or reporter. No, journalists are supposed to be hated by the people they report on. Companies are supposed to dread journalists getting involved in a story about them (usually cause they’re in the middle of a public relations disaster).
So yeah, of course a company will hate you reporting on leaked content. Of course the Pokemon Company will hate people that post the final boss of Pokemon Sun and Moon two weeks before the release date. Heck, sometimes a company will go as far as to threaten you with legal action.
But that’s kind of expected as a journalist.
Journalism isn’t all fun and games. It’s a job which puts you at serious risk on numerous occasions, and one where dangerous or financial costly consequences are unfortunately all too common. Think being sued once sucks? Imagine being Ian Hislop (editor of Private Eye). He’s the most sued man in Britain, and has been through dozens of court cases over things like libel (and apparently lost most of them). That has never stopped the satire magazine releasing new issues.
And that’s nothing compared to the horrors that have happened to journalists writing about real politically charged subjects and dangerous parts of the world. They’ve been arrested for espionage, sent to prison for decades (or deported to Siberia in the Soviet Union). Assaulted or killed for saying things those in power didn’t want to hear (or just by sociopathic nutcases who were ‘offended’ by what they were saying).
Basically, journalism is about risks. Because of this, you need to realise at some point that your own ‘safety’ or ‘comfort’ is outweighed by the needs of the readers/viewers. Unfortunately, a lot of gaming journalists don’t ever get this. They think it’s about making their life convenient. Screw the readers, I matter more.
Which is completely wrong.
There’s also a very pragmatic reason for all this too. Namely, it’s bad business to be scared of leaked content.
I mean, look at Bulbapedia. They were so scared of Nintendo’s ‘response’ to covering leaked content (which never actually came) that they refused to open up editing from somewhere in September till now. The result? Their wiki is useless now. No one visits a Pokemon wiki (or a Mario or Zelda one) that doesn’t cover hardly anything about the latest games.
And the same will be true of your website if you don’t cover this stuff. A gaming site that censors itself and doesn’t cover the latest gaming news is honestly a rather useless website, and one that’s probably not gonna still open for much longer.
So cover leaked content, and be a real journalist. Because a journalist who only covers what others want him to cover isn’t much of a journalist at all.