The Kunkel Awards are Back!

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)

10 More Underrated Gaming Channels to Check out in 2016

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?

Starting with…

Game Sharks

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.

Continue Reading…

Watch the Game Awards 2016 Right Here!

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!

Why Gaming Sites Should Post Leaked Information

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.

The Gaming Reinvented Contest Results Are In!

Well, it’s been two weeks since the Gaming Reinvented contest started. We’ve had tons of entries, lots of people have liked or retweeted us on Twitter about it and heck, even sites like Source Gaming and Mario RPG Universe have helped out here.

But now it’s finally over. And we can reveal the winner is…
Goomba Smackdown!! for his article on No Man’s Sky! Congrats, we’ll be in contact soon to ask what games and systems you want for your prize.

(You can also get the prize in plain cash, but that’s kind of boring!)

So why did he win? How did the other articles do? Well, here’s the full set of results for the entries we received for the contest. As you can see, we marked them each on ‘uniqueness’ and ‘quality’, and the best scoring article won.

The List of Entries

Advertising Games for Dummies

Entry by: Chronis

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

Because while advertising games is certainly a topic people have written about before, most takes seem to be from a developer’s perspective. Like say, how to promote your new indie title online so it gets through Steam Greenlight or gets funded on Kickstarter. A talk about advertising games well from a game’s perspective is hence a bit more unique in that regard.

So not a 100% ‘unique’ topic, but an interesting enough take on it none the less.

Quality Score: 7/10

As for the quality of the article, that’s pretty good as well. It’s decently well written, flows relatively well and seems to be easy enough to read.
It’s also an accurate look at how best to advertise video games with some decent examples of good marketing and can show both gamers and people in the industry how they should promote their game if they want more attention.

However, there’s one thing that bugged me about the whole thing. And that’s just how short the article seems to be. Yes, it’s technically around 500 words (which was around the average mark for content length in 2012), but it still seems like the article ends far earlier than you’d expect it to.

And I suspect that’s because there’s not really much of a conclusion here. It has a sentence saying that game companies should show their creativity more, but that seems like something you’d say after the ‘formal’ conclusion to the piece. After a paragraph or two summarising what makes a good ad campaign and ending with a general point about the matter (like say, ‘market your games in a creative way’ or what not).

Hence the final score is a nice 14/20. Not perfect by any means, but a decent enough take on a fairly original idea.

Overall: 14/20

A Journey through Drangleic and Dark Souls II

Entry by: TofuFury

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

An article written in the first person? Have to say, that is pretty novel, especially on a gaming news site. It gives the piece a very different feel to most I’ve read about the game, and makes it seem more like a story than a simple recap.

And while recaps based on the Dark Souls series are fairly common online (especially on gaming subreddits), I found this one a bit more unique than the norm, what with how it seems to blend both narrative and critical opinion on the game without coming across as too corny or clichéd.

Either way, it’s unique enough to get a good score here.

Quality Score: 8/10

It’s also a well written article, which is easy to read and where each point follows logically from the last one. Indeed, despite having no real experience with Dark Souls II whatsoever, I managed to follow and understand everything that was being said without a problem. That’s good.

It’s also impressive how the writer went to the effort of cataloguing the sources used for the article as well. Yeah, they’re not referencing specific pages on the wiki or certain characters in the game (because in this case, they don’t need to), but the list of wiki and photo sources is a lot more professional than is typical for a gaming article. Or for that matter, any article in the media nowadays. So kudos on that.

Add how it explained various aspects of the game well, and you’ve got an article that deserves its solid 8/10 quality score. It’s a good piece overall.

Overall: 15/20

How to Defeat Your Gaming Backlog

Entry by: J.K. Riki

Uniqueness Score: 5/10

Well, it’s a bit of a low score, but the topic here is one that quite a few people have tackled online. A quick search in Google brings up 7 articles about gaming backlogs and tackling them, two forum topics about the same general thing and one site (Backloggery) that’s often used by gamers to tackle the problem.

So it’s a fairly generic subject that’s been written about a lot in the past. But is the actual content more interesting than the theme?

Quality Score: 6/10

To be honest, the answer there is probably ‘no’. It’s a well written article, without too much in the way of spelling and grammar errors and written in a way that flows nicely when you read it. So it’s technically a very solid piece of content.

But it’s also very predictable. I mean yes, it gives advice on how to clear your gaming backlog. But it’s very obvious advice that a lot of people wouldn’t really need to read the article to figure out. I mean, stop buying games if you ever want to finish all the ones you have? That’s a true point, but it’s also very much a ‘well duh’ kind of thing.

So that’s why it gets an average score here. It’s well written, but it’s also very much the kind of ‘extremely obvious’ advice that news sites and blogs focus a bit too much on nowadays. No one who reads it is going to learn anything new.

Overall: 11/20

So Random!: How to Build Attachment to Random Generation (and Not Be No Man’s Sky)

Entry by: Goomba Smackdown!!

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

It’s a game a lot of people have already written about, but the article is more unique because of its actual content. Namely, how it’s a game design article that talks about random generation and how that applies to games like No Man’s Sky and what not.

So while the game isn’t an original choice, the direction the article goes is, and it’s been scored accordingly.

Quality Score: 9/10

Well, this is a great article on a quality level. Indeed, it’s been posted a fair amount over at Reddit and got quite a few upvotes as well. And it really goes deep into the topic too. I mean, you could probably write a PhD dissertation on procedural generation and game design with this one.

It’s certainly the kind of article that could be considered ‘10x content’ (read, ten times better than most other articles on the subject). It’s well written too, with mostly good spelling and grammar and a writing style that’s easy to read (for someone interested in the subject).

There’s not really anything negative to say about this one. It might be a tad technical for some readers, but it’s a well written, fairly unique article that’s a strong contender for winning the Gaming Reinvented writing contest.

Overall: 16/20

The Biggest Problem with Undertale

Entry by: Calin

Uniqueness Score: 6/10

It’s an article about a currently popular game that talks about an issue in said game. Again, it’s not the most original topic, though the article itself is interesting and fairly well written (more on that in the next point).

So a middle of the road uniqueness score then.

Quality Score: 7/10

Content quality wise it’s okay, with the article making some logical points about Undertale, the ‘Genocide Route’ and how the design apparently doesn’t work. I can’t see anything here that doesn’t make sense or is actually incorrect about Undertale as a game.

And the article’s use of images here is good as well. Remember, on the internet, images speak louder than words (especially if they’re relevant). So an article which illustrates its points with relevant in game screenshots is much more appealing than one that’s merely a giant wall of text with nothing to really break it up.
So it’s a good piece for the most part. Hence the decent score it’s getting in this contest.

Overall: 13/20

Why Paper Mario Color Splash Might Not Be So Bad

Entry by: Dark Young Link

Uniqueness Score: 7/10

Well, it’s certainly a unique perspective on Paper Mario Color Splash, especially considering the time in which it was written (aka, prior to the game being leaked/playable by the public). Few other Paper Mario fans were looking forward to the game before it came out, and few bothered to try and defend it.

That said, it’s still a little predictable in another sense. Namely, it’s a devil’s advocate article about a game that’s unpopular. And those are common for various titles, even if Paper Mario Color Splash isn’t usually the game being defended.

Either way, originality points for offering a positive view on a much derided game, but a few less than perfect score is needed simply because devil’s advocate articles are a fairly common thing online.

Quality Score: 5/10

Well, this is interesting. Apparently, this article’s author posted a video about the subject on YouTube, which the article itself is based on. Got to commend the amount of effort there, it’s not often someone will write an article for a news site and then record a video or podcast based on it as well, especially not if it’s a guest article rather than one by a ‘staff member.

That said, something does feel a bit off here. Like the article doesn’t quite flow properly, and seems like it was made to be a video. For example, the points (about Paper Mario post Sticker Star feeling more like a 3D Mario platformer and the story being more interesting) are alright. But they’re very basic and not very well elaborated on. That’s okay for a video defending the game, but perhaps not great for a lengthy article about it.

And the point about Sticker Star failing because we didn’t know about the changes isn’t a great one. I mean, that’s exactly why people are hating on Color Splash. Cause they know the changes are there and they don’t like them. Knowing or not knowing in advance doesn’t really matter here, since the people who hate Sticker Star will almost always dislike this one, and those that don’t mind it/want to give it a chance won’t.

In general, it’s an okay but kind of barebones article for the most part. It just won’t convince anyone to change their opinion (whether positive or negative) about Color Splash, so kind of doesn’t really work when it comes to defending the game.

Overall Score: 12/20

The Results

And here’s the list of entries ordered by score…

  1. So Random!: How to Build Attachment to Random Generation (and Not Be No Man’s Sky): 16/20
  2. A Journey through Drangleic and Dark Souls II: 15/20
  3. Advertising Games for Dummies: 14/20
  4. The Biggest Problem with Undertale: 13/20
  5. Why Paper Mario Color Splash May Not Be So Bad: 12/20
  6. How to Defeat Your Gaming Backlog: 11/20

As you can see, all the articles were at least decent, with no one getting a score below 50% in this contest. But we have to choose a winner overall, so we’re giving it to Goomba Smackdown for his article on No Man’s Sky.

So that’s all for now! Will there be another contest? Well, maybe. We’re planning on launching a more general platform for non gaming news in the near future, so that might get a similar deal too if we can get the support for it. But for now, let’s just see what Goomba Smackdown chooses for his prize, shall we?