The Art of Kotaku
Like many avid gamers, I read a ton of previews, reviews, articles etc. online about video games. The most common thing I find, or rather feel, when reading something is that I’m being talked down to. I feel slightly intimidated as if the author is the all-knowing video game master of whatever gaming topic I happen to be reading about. Not so in the slightest with Kotaku which is my favorite gaming outlet.
Kotaku has this really interesting way of connecting with their audience. I don’t know if it’s intentional but I feel as though, I’m listening to a gamer friend talk. When I say this, I mean two things.
First, they write in a very verbal voice. Whenever I read Kotaku, I hear someone speak. It may be informal and not professional but to me it’s natural like a casual conversation I’m having with a friend. I don’t feel as though I’m reading an informative pamphlet or some super artsy critique of a game.
Second, they write with a passion that doesn’t come across as much with other gaming outlets. You’re thinking, what video game writer isn’t passionate about video games? What I mean is that other outlets’ posts/articles seem more like something a news reporter would present. Informative, but not that enjoyable to take in by comparison- there’s no personality.
Take, for example, the recent story about a petition to get Microsoft to go back to its original plans for the Xbox One. It was covered by Kotaku and also covered by IGN (another gaming outlet I frequent).
The Kotaku post is written by Owen Good who does something interesting. Not only does he open the post with his personal insight/opinion on the matter but he does so candidly:
“Video game petitions have a very long and mostly pointless history. As I’ve said several times, an Internet petition is worth the paper it is printed on. But I’ll give a little publicity to this thing, because it’s the most ridiculous one I’ve seen yet (that includes this.)”
This kind of writing is usually frowned upon by most professional/semi-professional news outlets, no matter their subject. They’re trained to present the news in an unbiased manner. The IGN post about the same story lacks personality and, perhaps as a result, seems as though it speaks down to the reader.
I read a shit ton online about video games. Kotaku is really the only one that displays this personal and informal kind of writing. It’s genius, really. When you think about why one plays video games- to relax, have fun and be immersed by what’s presented- this is exactly what Kotaku does while making also readers feel as though they’re being chatted up by a fellow gamer.
Stephen Totilo, Tina Amini and staff, thank you for your fun, informative, gaming publication! Please don’t ever stop!