Sunday, 22 November 2015
Friday, 20 November 2015
As web traffic on the Kotaku videogaming blog mimics the unchecked descent of a mountaineer plummeting the length of the Kangshung Face, MODE 5 has uncovered evidence that the site is passing off reviews of boardgames as appraisals of the latest AAA videogame titles.
Editors for the beleaguered weblog were reportedly strong-armed by readers into an embarrassing apology after it was discovered that a Kotaku journalist had been dosed with 800mg of the psychedelic drug mescaline and instructed to review a copy of the traditional tabletop game - Snakes and Ladders - as if it was Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
The deception, which was quickly spotted by visitors to the site, discusses at length the symbolism implied by the proximity of serpents to “human tools of ascent” and the connotations with the biblical fall. The writer later compares his brain to a 20-sided die that can be rolled by means of a somersault, and references a shadowy tormentor known as 'The Hare' who lurks just beyond the corner of his vision, like something from a shit bottle episode of Doctor Who.
Kotaku reader, Giles Lowe, who visits the site for two hours everyday as part of a mandatory three year community service order, told MODE 5:
“I have gazed into every tedious nook and cranny of the Victorian abyss that is Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and can confirm that, with the exception of a few ladders, very little mentioned in the Kotaku article is actually present in the game. Make no mistake: The Kotaku piece is a review of the board game - Snakes and Ladders, penned by someone who is higher than god's tits on synthetic peyote.”
A statement published on the Kotaku website reads:
“When a preview copy for Assassin's Creed: Syndicate was not forthcoming from Ubisoft we panicked and followed what we thought, at the time, was the only logical course of action: Shovelling hallucinogenics down the throat of one of our barely literate staffwriters, before turning his attention to the only game we haven't already pawned to pay our bandwidth costs.
“In hindsight, by fixating our review of Assassin's Creed on a game of Snakes and Ladders, experienced through the swirling, mind-bending prism of a drug-induced vision quest, we ignored the game that we intended to review but did not own.
“When we did this, we let down the stagnant gene pool of mouth-breathing basement dwellers, who we feel comprises our readership, and whom our writers and editors hold in such lowly contempt. We would like to extend a whithering, half-baked apology to these fucking arseholes.
“During his journey across the astral plane, from which he has not fully returned, our reviewer met the ghost of the former Doors front man, Jim Morrison, and jammed with ex-Toto drummer, Jeff Porcaro. He also encountered the canine spirit guide of the mysticetian anti-harrassment activist, Randi Harper, who had gone into hiding after she dyed his aura blue. He requested that we did not disclose his location, but our silence is not for sale.”
At the time of this article's publication, Kotaku's psychotropic review of Assassin's Creed remains on the website with one minor amendment: Where the original piece repeats the mantra “We are all of one consciousness” 33 times, the edited version reproduces the phrase: “We are better than our readers, who are dead to us.”
Kotaku can take some consolation in the knowledge that they have not quite sunk to the depths of the gaming site VG247, whose editors mistook a tray of roast potatoes for the ending of the upcoming Playstation title: Uncharted 4.
Nonetheless, this latest link in a chain of blunders has come at the end of a difficult year, which has seen the website's editorial staff struggling to escape what one industry insider described as “a bloody great hole of their own making, slowly filling up with piss and shit.”
In an embittered message on Twitter, Kotaku claimed to have been blacklisted by AAA games publishers Bethseda and Ubisoft. This is thought to be in response to the site leaking plot details for Fallout 4 and Assassin's Creed: Syndicate.
Staff at the blog have reported that attempts to contact these publishers and smooth things over have resulted in their calls being redirected to the sales department of the Smith and Owen Global Salt Exporting Company.
“I don't understand it at all,” said Kotaku Editor, Stephen Tortoise. “We are effectively being penalised for being too good at games journalism. It's like we're the ones who are being held accountable for loose-lipped employees from Ubisoft and Bethseda.
“If these companies invested less resources in the games themselves and spent more on security, then leaks of this kind wouldn't happen and Kotaku wouldn't be in the mess it is now.”
Tortoise accepts that re-establishing the former market position of the website is likely to be an uphill struggle. This is despite the universal public high regard for Kotaku's parent company - Gawker Media:
“At the moment it's very hard. Sam Biddle's [Gawker Media's Social Media Relations Guru] insistence that all our problems could be resolved by punching some nerds has resulted in few, if any, real-term gains in site traffic and unique users.
“For a while, earlier this year, our brand was so toxic our writers had to resort to paying teenagers to visit Game Stop and make purchases on our behalf. The store managers have got wise to that now so we can't do it anymore.”
MODE 5 can reveal that the primary source of new games for review by Kotaku is a 14 year old Silver Lake, LA, resident, named Kyle Raffel, who was befriended on the internet by staff writer Nathan Grayson.
“What's so rad about Kyle is that his parents just got divorced and his dad's a hedge fund manager, so he pretty much gets any game or console he asks for!” gushed the widely loathed videogames journalist.
In a Kotaku-sponsored gaming review session attended by MODE 5, Raffel played Fallout 4 for eight consecutive hours while Grayson perched on the edge of his host's racing car bed making notes.
“Kyle doesn't let me play any games but I am allowed to watch as long as I don't distract him with the noise of my pen,” he said.
Our reporter later witnessed Raffel spontaneously driving the protruding knuckle of his right index finger into Grayson's scalp while yelling “BALD EAGLE!”
“I'm alright, its cool,” said Grayson, dazed and blinking back tears as he retreated to the corner of the room, while avoiding the concerned gaze of our reporter.
“Later Douche Nozzle,” said Raffel.
“That's my nickname,” confided Grayson, later. “For a while it was 'Reek.' Now I'm Douche Nozzle.'”
News of Kotaku's diminished circumstances has been warmly greeted with scenes of jubilation on a scale last witnessed at the end of the digitally remastered cinema classic - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Ben K Nobi – a Nigerian prince, turned internet philanthropist – said:
"I felt a great disturbance on the internet, as if millions of gamers had joined together to laugh at the deserved misfortune of Kotaku. I believe something incredible has just happened."
Meanwhile a holy monastic order has vowed to break their 700 year vow of celibacy with a “million monk fap” should Kotaku close down, with the sect's leaders pledging to donate the gallons of spilled semen to sperm banks.
Abbott Graham Foster told MODE 5:
“We will infiltrate secular society with a new generation of monks grown from our blessed seed. But only if Kotaku falls. If the site stays up then we will carry on our solitary life of ice-cold showers, fervent prayer and unrelenting turnip farming.”
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
“The game release schedule
that in Autumn rots with fail and sin
in the summer ripens with sex and win”
~ Sir Francis Bacon (Sonnet to Halo 3)
Far be it from me to disagree with anything that Sir Francis Bacon ever said or wrote, but fuck him. Seriously.
As a gamer I love the Autumn.
I love waking up to find my Xbox buried underneath a pile of freshly fallen leaves.
I like nothing more than to marvel at a dewy sheet of spider web, clinging to the thumb-sticks of my games controller, like an exotic, gauzy fabric, woven from diamonds.
Who doesn't enjoy travelling backwards in time to the Autumn of 1990 to play Conker Champion 2000 on an Atari Lynx handheld, with three of their best mates?
I love the smell of defective Xbox 360s that, around this time of year, seem to stain the air with the odour of acrid bonfire smoke.
I yearn to play the limited, polonium-infused, edition of Fallout 4, swaddled in my red woollen gloves, thick winter coat, and hand-knitted scarf, while an Ella Fitzgerald Christmas album plays quietly in the background.
I want to gaze upon the Master Chief's armour as it slowly turns from green, to flaming orange, to dull matt brown, before falling off in pieces.
Under the darkening shadows of Mordor, I long to playfully push the biggest orc I can find up against the nearest tree trunk. Then repeatedly press 'X' to passionately make out with the orc, our hot breath condensing in the cold air around our gently interlocking mouths.
I hunger for the dark evenings when the orc and I will toast marshmallows around an over-clocking PC with a broken fan.
I love watching as the fervent decay of Autumn gives way to the stillness of winter; the trees shedding the last of their summer foliage, as inevitable as Assassin's Creed: Syndicate losing its graphical textures.
It is November and, regardless of what Sir Francis Bacon might say, there is no better time to be a gamer.
Friday, 6 November 2015
(SATIRE) Two days after a leading supporter of GamerGate is attacked by a spider in his own home, MODE 5 asks: Is any gamer safe?
|When a software update switches your Xbox One to 'Giant Spider Mode'|
A lost generation of radicalised spiders, schooled in the tenets of social justice theory, may have just declared war on GamerGate.
MODE 5 has received information indicating that spiders harbouring extremist social justice ideologies, that previously had been confined to university campuses, are now leaving these academic safe spaces and infiltrating wider society.
The news comes in the wake of an apparent assassination attempt by a spider on the life of the vocal GamerGate supporter and Breitbart gadfly, Milo Yiannopoulos.
In the aftermath of the attack, Yiannopoulos took to YouTube, showing off his swollen, spider-bitten arm and boasting that he would “never die.” In a dignified three-hour speech, during which he declined hospital treatment, he called upon gamers to take up arms against spiders, performed a delirious A cappella medley of Mariah Carey songs, which included the “underrated” Triumphant (Get 'Em), and issued a tearful apology to someone called Ethel.
Yiannopoulos also confirmed that there were spiders “literally coming out of the walls and swarming all over my face,” although these were not visible in the webcam footage.
MODE 5 Deputy Intern, 'Kevin', who stayed up all night watching the live-stream said:
“It has not yet been established whether the spider who attacked Milo Yiannopoulos was working independently, or was part of a coordinated operation. Police have, so far, not confirmed whether a telephone warning was given prior to the attack.”
In response to an enquiry from MODE 5, Breitbart reported that all of its staff who had worked on GamerGate-related articles had been moved to safe houses while the threat to their lives is being assessed.
The spokesperson for the news website added:
“This is a place of serious business. Who are you and why do you keeping contacting us?”
Self-taught Security Expert - Nigel 'the Nige' Badstoke, who sells nunchucks, and other martial arts weaponry, out of a sports holdall, in a variety of rough, south London pubs, says that the attack raises some disturbing home truths:
“The spider managed to enter a gated community and bypass Yiannopoulos's own security measures. It injected a lethal dose of venom into its target and then escaped undetected. That alone should send a chill down the spine of any gamer.
“As far as home defence is concerned, the heyday of print media provided ample material that could be rolled-up at a moment's notice and deployed as an improvised spider deterrent.
“In the grey age of digital clickbait there are less and less objects lying around the home that can be used against spiders. Those who fall victim to spider attacks are often unwilling to risk damaging expensive technology by using smartphones, E readers, and tablet PCs as makeshift cudgels. I would advise any gamer who is concerned for their personal safety to contact me at The Queens Head off Morden Common and quote 'gamergate' for a 5% discount.”
Brigadier Colin Newbolt is employed in an advisory role by the European Spider Crimes Task Force. He says that he is not surprised by the attack:
“We are on the brink of a sea-change in gamer/spider relations.
“Until recently spiders were content to focus their attentions on wandering hobbits, or have forest goblins ride around on their backs, but generally distanced themselves from human affairs.
“We are now seeing the rise of a radicalised spider who regards human beings as problematic and doesn't give a fuck about anything.
“While GamerGate could conceivably win a ground war against the arachnids, the casualties on both sides would be enormous, on a scale comparable with the Second World War.”
With the threat of further hostilities overshadowing the videogaming community, global markets have reported a massive surge in sales of replica weapons from popular sci-fi and fantasy films and television, as gamers ready to defend themselves the only way they know how. A replica energy sword, claimed by its manufacturer to have originated from a Halo/Star Wars crossover universe, has become an international best seller after it was re-marketed as a first line of defence against spider attacks.
Other gamers remain sceptical that such weapons act as a true deterrent:
“My Longclaw replica - the sword Jon Snow uses in Game of Thrones - is absolutely covered in cobwebs. It's like the spiders are laughing at me,” says Jeremy Squire. “Last year I took it to a blacksmith to confirm that it had been forged from genuine Valyrian steel. He looked at me like I was an idiot.”
Internet traffic analysts have also identified an increase in online scams offering magical protection from spiders and spider-repelling penis ointments.
“I heard that if you press the buttons on your PS4 game controller in a certain order, it will unlock a cheat code that neutralises spider venom,” says Sheila Meynell. “I am 89% sure that it's just an urban myth, or a ploy by Sony to sell more PS4s.”
Fears that spiders fighting for social justice might have allied themselves with human sympathisers (described by many as a nightmare scenario) have been quashed by a comment made on an online forum by a former Feminist Frequency employee:
“The last time Jon McIntosh saw a spider he stood on a chair shrieking until Anita gathered it up in her talon and returned it to one of her larval sacs.”
With no further attacks having been reported since the thwarted attempt upon the life of Milo Yiannopoulos, an uneasy calm has settled over the gamer community.
John Zoffany - owner of the independent video and tabletop games store - Game Dungeon – said:
“When I see a spider in my shop I am happy that they are an active participant in the great hobby that is gaming. If they bite a customer, or ask me where they can find Battletoads, they will have to leave.”