Best Website for Written Game News/Criticism (That's Not Kotaku)? / I'm Tired of Gawker

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clagnaught

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So over the past let's say 18 months, I took stock of things and decided to visit fewer video game websites along with spending less time listening to gaming podcasts, watching reviews, etc. For context, my main gaming site before Giant Bomb was IGN. While that site has its own special brand of coverage fatigue, I was still reading Kotaku, starting to go to Giant Bomb, and would occasionally go to a site like Game Trailers (RIP). I had to break away from all of that, so I told myself "Ok! I'll go to Giant Bomb for content and criticism, and I'll go to Kotaku for news."

So far that has worked beautifully. Kotaku has the news coverage, in depth reporting with anonymous sources, and other miscellaneous culture stuff I would want, it isn't too much information or clutter, and it is liberating not going to a lot of those sites anymore. Plus I really liked their Highlight Reel feature and that Patrick guy seems alright.

The thing is, at some point the front page went from being sorted by stuff featured on Kotaku to stuff featured on the rest of Gawker. Not to get really side tracked or rant about anything, but when I look at most of the stuff posted on the sites, it makes me go, "No thank you". Some days it isn't too bad, but other days it's really distracting.

In a weird way, it makes me feel less about Kotaku, which, while it isn't perfect, isn't like some of those sites. Maybe my bullshit tolerance has gotten very low recently, but that alone almost makes me want to go to a different site.

Not sure if anybody else has this problem with Kotaku lately, but what do you guys think? What other sites would you recommend? Gamastura? Polygon? I'm still not interested in following a half a dozen gaming sites, so if you were to pick one, what would it be? Maybe I just need to vent after reading the last non-Kotaku Gawker article I just read?

(And yeah, Austin writes some great stuff and I'm really liking the guest contributors so far, but it isn't quite on par with the best of or is as consistent as Kotaku)

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BisonHero

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@clagnaught: For what it's worth, there is probably some way to make a custom feed on Kotaku where you only show posts made by certain writers. Or at least, I'm subscribed to their RSS feed, and I skip over most articles, then I expand the articles where by the headline I can guess that it's an interesting subject matter or one of the handful of writers I actually like. I agree that they crosspost way too much garbage from other Gawker websites, but I do like the occasional article by Totilo, Hamilton, Klepek, and Narcisse so being subscribed to Kotaku is an evil I can live with. Though Kotaku does have wide swathes of completely skippable content, like all of the overnight (daytime in Japan) articles by Ashcraft, and all of the weekend articles are inconsequential fluff (by Mike Fahey, previously Owen Good).

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koolaid

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#3  Edited By koolaid
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OMGFather

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I like Eurogamer

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Slag

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I like Rock Paper Shotgun (PC games),Gematsu (japanese games) and SIliconera (Japanese games) as much as anything for straight news with light commentary these days. But inneed a combonation to get the coverage I want. There really isn't a good one stop shop joystiq analog I've found. That used to be my news feed site.

USgamer.net might be the closest thing I've found I've liked to what you seem to be looking for, but they definitely have holes in their coverage as well. It might be the best mix for what you want as they do reviews and news. I was just getting back into Gamespot when they started changing the site into general nerd stuff I guess, which makes them less useful to me as a source of game news. But GS's big plus is they have Danny and Mary on the video side. So there is that too

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conmulligan

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I generally go to Eurogamer or Polygon for straight news stuff because they're both timely and easy enough to navigate.

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Bill_P

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#7  Edited By Bill_P

For me, Eurogamer is best for news, and I use PushSquare (PS only) as well just for news. Both these are Eurocentric sites, though.

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The_Tribunal

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@koolaid: Yep, KotakuCore is your spot. I don't think many other sites have journalists that compare. Patrick and Jason Schreier are in a different class.

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Bicycle_Repairman

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I check Pc gamer like once a week (UK, not sure if that matters). I enjoy the sense of humor in some their articles.

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Seinenfeld

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IDK about news since I just get that from following gaming industry folks on twitter (kotaku has always seemed the best bet tbh), but for game crit and analysis stuff Critical-Distance is (and has been for a while) fantastic and will save you having to go to multiple websites.

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BabyChooChoo

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Although I don't agree with everything he says, Jim Sterling has generally been killing it ever since he's been at Destructoid and has only gotten better since he went solo with the Jimquisition. He doesn't do a ton of writing outside of reviews so it may not be what you're looking for, but still, I'd say he's worth checking out.

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Anonymous_Jesse

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I only use giantbomb and rock paper shotgun.

I used to read ign everyday but at this point in my life I dont need info about every game plus anything nerd related.

I also used to read joystiq and liked that for general game news but thats gone.

Generally now days I check reddit and if things are big enough they pop up, as well as using facebook groug that formed from the ashes of forum.

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Shaunage

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Most of the best writing I see outside of Giant Bomb is at Polygon.

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Hayt

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#14  Edited By Hayt

There aren't really any purely good places left anymore. Not to say there aren't good pieces out there but it is surrounded by a lot of dross so you're going to have to put on your gumboots and get wading if you really want it.

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Dixavd

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When I was much more invested in the the critical side of video game coverage, I found a lot of my content through Critical Distance which collates articles, blogs, videos, let's plays and user responses together every month (they have their own podcast too, though it's not currently in my rotation). I haven't had the time to keep up with it, but it looks like they entered a higher gear towards the end of last year, and seem to steadily link to (and compare/contrase the sentiments of) articles from many different sites each week.

It also happened to be where I saw some of Austin's work before he joined Giant Bomb.

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Humanity

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I actually visit GameSpot of all places for a quick dose of "what's up in the world of games." People that say Kotaku has excellent writers are kind of insane but people that say Polygon is a good site are in a while crazy class of their own. Sadly I don't think there is any especially good news writing site in the industry. You either get the bare minimum like GameSpot or some weird stabs at real "journalism" that often fall hilariously flat like Kotaku. The industry is too symbiotic to have real journalism in it so you're left with having to choose who does the best press re-writes.

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Jimbo

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There hasn't been one since all the good writers left RPS. GB was worth reading too back when the original staff had keyboards. Writing about games is over; it's all about being 'hilarious' on camera now. For talented writers it's about getting away from games coverage to something better ASAP.

Also +1 to what Humanity said. It's sad but that's just how it is.

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Dave_Tacitus

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@jimbo: Yeah, I found myself drifting away from RPS well over a year ago and don't visit them at all now.

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Mister_V

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I generally get by with GB and eurogamer. The only time I find myself on Kotaku or polygon is when Alex starts vaguely tweeting about something and I want to find out what he is on about.

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Redhotchilimist

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#21  Edited By Redhotchilimist

Isn't it mostly fine to get the news through this site since you're already here? I am occasionally on other sites, and I find the news usually ends up somewhere on GB whether it's podcasts or forums or even just their twitter feeds. Having your own place for news seems a little superflous since even bloggers or youtube personalities are gonna be talking about the news anyway, linking to relevant articles. It wouldn't replace the indepth reporting you care about, I suppose.

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deactivated-60481185a779c

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If it's news headlines you're after, I recommend Eurogamer (in this post-Joystiq world of ours).

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The_Tribunal

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#23  Edited By The_Tribunal

@humanity: Hmm. I wonder what fell flat for you about Kotaku's reporting. Not trying to be confrontational but I thought they did a great job with the Destiny pipeline story and the Phantom Dust cancellation. I'm with you in that there is no good, consistent source of games writing out there which is a crying shame, but I don't think Kotaku's efforts fall flat in the journalistic department.

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Humanity

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#24  Edited By Humanity

@the_tribunal: Most of it is very sparse or completely not game related, but I do agree once in a blue moon they do a decent writeup on something, although thats basically true for any videogame website. Since a lot of people like to point towards Patrick as one of the better journalists out there, his most recent article on Kotaku is a paragraph saying a patch for Firewatch is probably coming. I mean I don't think you need to be an investigative journalist to have figured that one out. Not to single him out specifically, since this is basically how most news look like on gaming sites.

EDIT: Also Kotaku's embarrassing editorial about being blacklisted by a developer for just "doing the right thing" is something that I honestly can't believe they wrote to this very day.

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SomeJerk

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#25  Edited By SomeJerk

What would make my day would be a site that's Jalopnik (and its subsites like Foxtrot Alpha) but for gaming, their styles and standards and qualities and respectable ethics. They crash a test drive car, they admit to it, they get invited places, they disclose it, they take criticism from above, they answer it, they don't publish political garbage or run a narrative, no egos the size of a small African nation, and the most "personality" personality they have is Doug DeMuro and he's a great guy.

A Jalopnik quality gaming site would make my decade. May the Hulk take the rest of the place down.

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TravisRex

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#26  Edited By TravisRex

I don't read the news, it's too depressing

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stokes

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@anonymous_jesse: Oh how I miss Joystiq so much. They reported stories in a way that was both self aware and without a bunch of needless commentary.

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Jesus_Phish

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What kind of news do you want?

If all you want is headlines/announcements/release dates/updates then VG247 are pretty good for that. They occasionally put up a report but I mostly ignore those.

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ChrisTaran

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I like a lot of the writing on US Gamer.

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RonGalaxy

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#30  Edited By RonGalaxy

A good recommendation doesn't exist, to my knowledge, because almost every gaming focused site covers other stuffs, and the ones that don't shut down (sooner rather than later).

As for my opinion about kotaku? I've visited it every day for the better part of a decade. Besides it getting a new coat of paint from time to time and old writers leaving/new writers joining? Nothing has really changed. It's a gaming culture website; they cover things they, as gamers, are interested in and think their audience might be interested in as well... Which, as it turns out, happens to include things other than games.

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Ry_Ry

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Critical Distance has a lot of great stuff

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Fallen189

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They're all terrible

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huser

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As I still visit io9, I find going to Kotaku a reasonable sojourn for that kind of info. I still haven't gotten used to visiting GS on even a semi regular basis, and never really visited anywhere else (that still exists, RIP Joystiq).

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Carryboy

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jaycrockett

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#35  Edited By jaycrockett

Polygon is my second site but I can't really recommend it.

I really enjoyed Penny Arcade Report when it was around. Oh well.

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Maluvin

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Hadn't really thought about this until just now but I think I get most of my gaming news articles and links from writers and developers I follow on twitter. Following people like Austin, Patrick, Chris Remo, Troy Goodfellow, Ian Bogost, and so on tends to surface a lot of interesting gaming related articles for me.

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hatking

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#37  Edited By hatking

I've been going to Rock Paper Shotgun more recently. I like that place. They aren't inundated with fluff and they're pretty good writers. Austin's work is also top notch, and I love that he's on Giant Bomb.

I go to Polygon and Kotaku regularly, but usually stress myself out scrolling through what they produce. Polygon gave me a short ban for comparing one of their articles to a TMZ piece about five months ago, and I haven't bothered signing back in to release the ban. It's probably for the best because I'd probably get mad at one of their articles while drunk and just get banned again. I like some of their original content. Mostly just the stuff the McElroys do the. God knows why they're on that website though.

I view Kotaku less as a source for material and more as a "here's just a bunch of links to nerdy shit." It's good for really lowkey entertainment. I don't think they aspire to much more than that? Klepek regularly puts out work that's way beyond anything else that site produces. Another case of a person I like being on a website that just doesn't seem like it fits them. But it seems like he's getting to do a lot of stuff he enjoys on his own, so that's good.

Frankly, much like all other mediums, I've given up on the mainstream writing. It is generally really terrible, with few exceptions. I find random blog pieces I stumble across on Twitter or overly specific Google searches to be much more enlightening. And, it's not just an echo chamber of reassurance for the author. There's actually a discourse there. It's a way better method of understanding different perspectives and ideas.

EDIT: Oh, Kill Screen writes some pretty good reviews. I kind of hate reading Pitchfork and was worried Kill Screen was just going to be that for games, but they've gotten really interesting. I love how different their MGSV got a bunch of whiny comments, but now pretty much matches the general opinion of that game--flawed af.

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Onemanarmyy

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Giantbomb and /r/games are enough to me to find out about the general big things in gaming at all times. Sure, the comments on /r/games might not always be fantastic, but it's a good tool to know what new things are announced.