Andrew Kauz 's blog
click to hide banner header
In loving memory: PAX 2009 (thanks ZombiePlatypus! And WalkYourPath, of course)

I'm Kauza, which is pronounced like cause-uh. My real name's Andrew Kauz, if you'd rather go for that.

I like talking to Dtoid people, so please add me on your favorite social networking site:
Gchat: santakauz[at]

Basics: I'm 25, and I write things.

Eternal thanks go out to Y0j1mb0 for the amazing header image you see above. So, thanks, sir!

Look at some of the things I've written.

Things on the Front Page:

Mass Effect, Metal Gear, Moon Unit, and more: An interview with Jennifer Hale
The Future: Demanding more from the voices of videogames
Love/Hate: A plea to play as a female Shepard
A warning: Regrets from a former life and experiences yet unlived
Top ten games for people who hate Thanksgiving
The wrong thing: Being evil should be more like sex
Staying dry in a sea of spoilers is a matter of building a boat
Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
Come, take your pilgrimage to gaming's one true mecca
Here's to you, random-JRPG-dialogue-writer-man
The forgotten: Crushing disappointment at the hands of Crash 'n the Boys
The people who have the power to change the world
Improving game communities: Enough with the negativity
The draw of exploration: Antarctica to Oblivion, Shackleton to Shadow Complex
I suck at games: BlazBlue and a slapdash attempt at fisticuffs
I, the Author: My Everest
Untapped Potential: The Gamer's Education
Other Worlds than These: Our World, Only Different

A series sort of thing about status effects
Toxic Megacolon and other fresh status effects
Curse you, status effects, stop confusing my heart
Status effects are poisons that turn my silent heart to stone
Also check out the related forum thread.

The Fall of the Titans (wherein I talk about dead or dying gaming companies)

The fall of the titans part 3: What once was shall be again
The fall of the titans: Sega died so that we might dream of the future
The fall of the titans: Why do the giants of gaming die?

Stories from the Past (a series about my experiences playing certain games):

Stories from the Past: Tobal 2, Tomba! 2, and console double-vision
Stories from the Past: Diablo and the Dark Ride
Stories from the Past: What the f*ck, mom?
Stories from the Past: Xexyz and the battle aboard Turtlestar Lobsterica
Stories from the Past: The One-Balled Man-Bear
Stories from the Past: The Battle of Olympus
Stories from the Past: Suikoden 2

Storytelling (a series about, well, storytelling):

Storytelling: The Problem of Genres
Storytelling: Mass Effect, Vonnegut, and the Fourth Rule
Storytelling: Doing Nothing in "The Darkness"
Storytelling: The Power of a Single Line (Yeah, it was my first post.)

Other stuff that is good:

Lessons on taking games just seriously enough
A consuming power: The demon and the borderlands
Can games transcend good and evil?
Nothing is sacred: We won't let you go alone, but we have made a tragic decision
How Destructoid single-handedly changed my motherís opinion of gaming
Why Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest sports game of all time
Seven reasons that I will end you in creative ways if you don't play Folklore
Mother Nature and the Impending Death of the Gaming Spirit
Times Games Forgot: The Dark Ages
The Sins and Successes of In-game Collectibles
The Lock is Broken
When Music Surpasses the Game
Truckasaurus Rex and the Humor of Games
I Want to Cry (storytelling related, but not part of the series)

I have others as well that you can check out on my blog. You'll enjoy them or your money back.

Since it seems like the cool thing to do, here a list of my favorite games that is coming straight out of my ass and onto your computer screen, and in no particular order.

Fallout 3
Uncharted 2
Suikoden 2
Mass Effect / ME2
Metal Gear Solid followed by any number you can think of
Tales of Somethingendinginia (OK, and the Abyss)
Battlefield: Bad Company
Following (46)  

Who's ready for a shortblog on Bastion and a bit of a fireside chat? I hope you are! Let me start with the chat part. The big theme? How's everyone doing?

To be honest, life has been absolutely insane over the past few weeks, and it is only getting crazier. I'm going to be moving to the D.C. area in a matter of days, a move that I found out about a mere couple of days ago. Stressful? Yes. Potentially ruinous financially? Oh yeah. Awesome? Thankfully, yes.

Why should you care? Well, for one, I need to apologize that the craziness has kept me away from you, and might do so again for a little while. I have so much that I've been meaning to do: bring back a weekly community recap, start some new cool things in the blogs, etc. I'm incredibly thankful that the good Sir Mr Andy Dixon Man is awesome and has been helping out the blogs so much in my stead. But at the risk of you thinking that I'm all talk, I want you to know that I have a lot of things in store.

I also want to ask you how everything is going. Yes, you. I want to make sure to keep up a constant dialogue regarding what you want out of the blogs. It's less about system upgrades (though if you have a great idea let us know that too) and more about what kind of content you most like seeing, and what sort of fun things we can provide for you. How awesome was the Community CREATE? Do you want more of that? Want some cool discussion based things from us? Tell us what you like to read, and then we'll also be sure to try to provide content that you like and encourage others to create the same kind of stuff.

Also, sorry about those travel blogs. Tricky bastards.

Anyway, I do want to talk about videogames a bit too. More specifically, videogame. Even more specifically, Bastion, which I've enjoyed quite a bit. After finishing my first playthrough, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed in the whole "narrator" thing, and falling off of the world happened a few more times than I could really tolerate, but you can't deny that the game had some awesome character, incredible music, and was simply fun.

It also had the best approach to difficulty that I've experienced in a long time.

If you've yet to play the game, here's a little description of how the difficulty works. I can't imagine that this could be considered a spoiler, but if you're super sensitive to that sort of thing, I guess you could stop reading.

The game creates an added challenge by allowing you to activate the power of various deities. Each deity has a specific effect: one deity makes enemies regenerate health, while another makes them drop explosives when they die. Each deity also provides a nice experience and currency bonus to you. Want it to be insane? Activate every single god's power and get wrecked.

This is awesome for a number of reasons. Most obviously, it gives the player direct control over the difficulty rather than the indirect control afforded by most "hard" modes. Because of this, you can make the game more difficult in the way you want it to be difficult. Want smarter/harder enemies without a bunch of fuss? Go for it. Want crazier options like enemies that randomly turn invulnerable? Do that instead. You can make it just a little harder by turning on one option, way more difficult by activating them all, or anything in between.

I think my favorite part of this system, however, is the fact that it puts an actual reason behind each difficulty increase. It tells the player exactly what is going to become more difficult and exactly how the game will reward you. I like to know what I'm getting in to when I'm increasing a game's default difficulty; if I'm just going to end up hitting dudes thirty times more than normal in order to defeat them, I'd like to know ahead of time so I can break my fingers instead.

So, where does difficulty go from here? Can a system like this be improved? Are you crazy and prefer traditional difficulty levels?

Love you all
Photo Photo

Today was what we might refer to as a "hot mess."

Normally, we'll see a spam blog or two per day, and maybe a harmless failblog or two. Today, it was a perfect storm of fail. The fails piled up like a stack of dino droppings, and not even the world's largest shovel could clean it all up. While the fail might be gone now, the scars will remain.

I hope that this never happens again, but the sad fact is that this has happened before, and it will happen again. It's not something that anyone can prevent, at least not without us turning into a site that frankly no one wants us to turn into. Destructoid gives users freedom, but when you violate that freedom so heinously, we'll come for you.

So, when the next hot mess happens, or what we can also refer to as a next douchepocalypse, what should we do? How can we survive? Well, follow along as I create a survival guide for the douchepocalypse from the top of my head in record time.

1. Don't panic

Yeah, the douchepocalypse is frightening. The spam, the idiots, and the trolls might number so great that it seems deliverance would be impossible. Perhaps your good blog has been bumped down to the bottom or, heaven forbid, the next page. Shitty, I know. But the worst thing you can do is freak out. Keep your cool and know that we're coming to clean up the mess.

2. Avoid calling for bans publicly

Spammers should be deleted. Jerkfaces should be banned. No doubt about that. But calling for them to be banned on the site is going to make things worse, especially in the case of trolls. It just gives them more reason to post more, screw up your own blogs, and come after you personally. We'd much rather have them bitch and moan at us and call us dicks. Community members don't deserve that shit.

Instead, just get in contact with someone. Follow me on Twitter and let me know if a situation is developing. Email me and let me know that someone's being a dick. Let Hamza know if I'm not responding, since my day job keeps me away from a compy most of the day. And, yeah, tell us to ban them. We'll do it, and hard.

3. Don't take shit

I'm not sure how often this really happens, but one thing I'm not going to stand for is people privately attacking (or publicly, for that matter) users of this site. If anything happens like that and it isn't visible to everyone, or if it is but I obviously haven't seen it, tell me. I'm not going to allow people attacking members of this site. Ever.

4. Don't let it scare you away from the blogs

It's easy to see a blog roll full of spam and think "Holy shit, if I post something now, it'll be buried forever. Guess I won't post at all." Please, please don't do this. If we don't have the great blogs that go up daily, even in the midst of a bunch of fail, then we've got nothing left. The terrorists have won. So by all means delay your blog until we've had a chance to clean up, but (and this goes back to not panicking) don't let incidents like today steer you away from posting blogs. If you post something great, it's going to get recognized. If you feel like a blog didn't get a fair chance because of a douchepocalypse, let me know.

5. Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes.

In other words, just keep doing what you do. Laugh at a day like this, flip the bird in its general direction, and continue being awesome. Look at a day like this as another great reason to write your own stuff on Dtoid and keep the blogs awesome. Keep commenting on the great blogs and fapping like your life depends on it (it does; my grandmother told me so). Ignore the shit publicly, tell us about it, and we'll nuke it as soon as humanly possible.

As a last note, I'm sorry days like this happen. I really am. It's not fair to anyone on the site, especially the people who have written something that day that's actually worth reading. If you ever have any concerns at all, don't hesitate to email me, pm me, tweet me, whatever.

Hey community writer people types! Itís time for another C blog cheat codes post. Looking to get some awesome writing done? Hereís a great place to look for that little bump thatíll get your writing from awesome to slightly more awesome.

Today, our topic is topics. Namely, whatís going to help you get your preferred topic on the front page, and how should you choose that topic? How are you going to get your point across?

Not every blog on Destructoid is an editorial (or opinion piece, if you prefer), but these sorts of pieces come naturally to a lot of us since theyíre so damn fun to write. Rant for a while about what I think? Have a bunch of cool people read and care about what I say? Score!

So, if youíre looking to write something else, go for it. But if youíve got that great idea for an opinion piece that you just havenít written yet, linger for a spell. Letís have a chat.

Big head mode -- Pick something good to talk about

Yeah, I know what youíre thinking. ďOf course what I have to say is good!Ē Youíre probably right. But just in the event that youíre instead actually very very wrong, you might still want to read on.

The thing about good topics is that they come and go. What might be a good topic today might be totally outdated and useless a year from now. Hell, maybe even a week. There are a lot of ways that you can avoid this. Use this as a sort of checklist:

Is my topic timely? If your whole point is related to a ďbig thingĒ that happened months ago, Iím willing to bet people have moved on.

Did someone beat you to it? Yeah, someone has probably already written something similar to your idea, but if you can find another post on the same thing in the blogs, best to try a new topic.

Do you actually have an interesting angle or approach? Yeah, Beyond Good and Evil is a cool game, but unless you have something new to say about why it is cool, maybe save that for your buddies who havenít played a videogame ever.

Can you hold a readerís attention for an entire blog with this topic? Yeah, Iíve had to kill cool blog ideas too because I just didnít have enough to say. It hurts, but itís for the best. Reevaluate your topic or leave it until later.

There are millions of other things that go into a good topic, so try this: keep track of which of your blog ideas get the best response. Your readers will tell you when you write something great. Or, check out other blogs that have been put on the front page. What did they do to make their topics awesome?

And hey, thereís always the monthly musing!

30 lives -- Fully form your opinion and state it early

So, youíre writing an editorial. Cool. Wait, what does that mean again?

Youíre trying to get an opinion across, right? Youíre trying to explain why you think that Dragon Ball is better than Dragon Age. Awesome. So that blog you just titled, ďThe thing about games with Dragon in the titleĒ has words in it and all, but apart from that, itís kind of shit. Howís that for an opinion?

Before you even start writing, be sure you understand what you really think. Do you just want to write something about Dragon Age 2 because it just came out, or have you been thinking lately about how way cool the Dragon Ball universe is and how totally boring the Dragon Age universe is? Can you guess which of these is going to make a blog that people actually read? Take some time to actually think about your topic, and youíll immediately see changes in how your blogs are received.

Of course, you canít forget to actually get people to understand why they should read your opinion, which is why a good title and first few paragraphs are so important. Yes, Iíve passed up well-written blogs for promotion because they either had a crappy title or didnít say what the blog was about in the first few paragraphs.

Why? You have to understand the average reader. They want to know exactly what a blog is about just by reading the title (hell, sometimes they just look at the header image and stop there). If they get past that, youíd better believe that theyíll be looking to fully understand what your point is before they link through to the full post.

I hate to sound like a high school composition teacher, but your post needs a thesis. It doesnít have to read like a college term paper, and it doesnít have to outline the rest of your five paragraph essay. You just need to clue us in to what the hell your point is.

Infinite time -- Write a damn intro

Your post needs to be introduced. Thereís no getting past this. This is true whether youíre writing for the front page, writing for your dog Skippy, or writing for that little box under your bed where you keep your dreams. Why is your intro so important? Because most people wonít read a word past it.

Yep, the sad thing about the Internet is that interest is lost faster than a leggy blondeís virginity at summer camp. Youíll never grab your readerís attention if you just launch into this crazy ass rant about why Grasshopper should make the next Call of Duty game.

Every blog should have two or three paragraphs that do nothing aside from frame the topic, grab the readers attention, and get them into the full meat of your topic. Look at any editorial post on the front page. What do you see? Two or three paragraphs. What do they do? You get the idea.

It may sound like nitpicking, but I canít promote a post that doesnít have an intro. Itís even just a logistics thing -- how am I supposed to convert your post into two separate parts: before the jump and after the jump? I canít write an intro for you, so Iíd have to just cut and paste the two first paragraphs before the jump. You can imagine how this could make a post seem disjointed, ugly, and unreadable. Bottom line? If I canít find a statement in the first few paragraphs that clearly gets across your point, itís not going on the front page.

So write your intro with the front-page format in mind even though the blogs follow a single-page format. Not only does it help me promote your stuff, but it also encourages good intro-writing habits. Bottom line?

Level select -- Stay on topic, damn you

I hate to speak in generalizations, but Iím going to say right now that a multiple-topic post is not going to make it to the front page. Are such posts bad? No, of course not. They just donít work on the front page. Ever.

So, if youíre writing for the front page, make sure that youíre following the chart you set for yourself in your intro. Sure, little digressions are fine, but you shouldnít start at Halo and end at how much you like drinking root beer with no pants on.

You might be compelled to say that you just donít have enough to say on one topic, but thatís almost never true. Think about the last time you got into a really good verbal discussion on a game. How long do you think you went on about that? Yeah, now consider this: you were speaking that shit. No time to prepare, no time to pause and consider your next thought. Think then how much you could write about that topic. A lot.
Just keep in mind that a scatterbrained post is hard to read, and people want depth, not a bunch of dips in the shallow end.

Infinite money -- Make it look good

If your post is ugly, I donít want to bother fixing it for promotion, and no one will bother to want to read it anyway. For more on this, jump over here. Do that. Itíll work.

Kill everything -- Be careful about series

So, you have a really cool idea for a blog series and you want every single one up on the front page. Easy, right? Yeah, not so much.

I love a really good series, but there are a few drawbacks to doing this. For one, the tendency is to subconsciously write as if everyone has already read the other entries in the series -- maybe you make a subtle reference to past writeups in the series or you donít fully explain what your point is because you assume itís implied in the ďseries.Ē Iíve written a lot of series pieces before, and Iím talking about my own mistakes here.

So, keep a couple of things in mind if youíre going to do a long series. First off, consider not using the series name in your titles. Instead, put it in a header image or just in the blog itself. This helps people approach it and not feel like theyíve missed something. Of course, once you establish the series, having people identify its name can be a big help -- just donít expect them to all be on the front page even if theyíre all awesome. Itís just not feasible.

Next, just approach your writing style as if each piece is totally self-contained and not a part of a series at all. Sure, they might be in the same style and perhaps even about the same subject, but donít make people play catch up just to enjoy your post. Make sure any post stands on its own somehow.

So, what should you take away from all this? Basically, you want to make your blog engaging, original, well-formatted, and timely. Itís easy enough to think youíre doing all these things, but the best way to know for sure is to read. Read front page editorials, read promoted community posts, and really start to pick them apart. Why were they chosen for promotion? What is editor x doing that helps people enjoy his writing?

And, above all, just write. Write daily if you have to.
Photo Photo Photo

Hey everyone. We've received a few requests recently from people who wanted to donate something to Jonathan Holmes after hearing that his place had been broken in to and a bunch of awesome stuff had been stolen.

No idea what I'm talking about? A few weeks ago, Holmes got home to find his place had been burgled. He lost some pretty awesome stuff: his PS3, Wii, his computer, his video camera, some rare games, etc. He posted a few things about it on his Twitter.

Over the past few days, we've received a few requests from people who wanted to send in some donations to help out. Let me be clear: no one is actually asking for donations. We all realize that there are many, many things for you to donate to right now. However, we also didn't want to ignore the people who kept requesting a way to chip in.

So, if you're one of those people, here's what you can do. Paypal allows you to make donations to an email address, so you can do so to mrdestructoid at gmail dot com. Just be sure to specify that it's for Holmes. We'll make sure all of it goes to him.

If you need any more information, leave a comment below or email me at andrewkauz at destructoid dot com.

Why the hell would someone want to interview a bunch of people all the time? Yeah, stupid question, but it's that question that led me here today to present this interview to you, which is pretty contradictory if you think about it.

In any event, you know that guy who interviews community members? I think his name is LawofThermalPoopmatics or something. I'm about 38% certain that he's the guy to whom I sent a bunch of interview questions recently. Topics included racism, the results of the 2016 presidential elections of the United Republic of Earth, and mechanical dentistry. The answers were fascinating and enlightening, so I decided to keep those for a few years to myself and sell them for profit. What follows is a different set of questions. Please enjoy.

Kauza: To start off, remember that one time a bunch of community members sent a bunch of questions for you to answer? Should I ask those exact same questions in a slightly different order?

The Other Guy: Well I guess no, seeing as though I already answered them.

Now that we've acknowledged my unoriginality, let's talk about your originality. Interviewing community members is a pretty cool thing to do. But let's hear it from you -- why do it?

It was the community itself that made me want to do interviews. If I had to find an exact origin point I would say that a community member (and talented pianist) named AlphaDeus once wrote a blog detailing the pain and troubles in his life. It really opened my eyes that the people here were real, not just usernames and funny comments (Ignorant I know, but the anonymity on the internet really creates a distance between people) . They are also the most interesting people that I have ever met and it was because I wanted to get in contact with them that I started the interviews..

Tell us the story of how you came to Destructoid, but somehow incorporate a polar bear, two Lebanese prostitutes and a copy of The Rocketeer on DVD.

I was a researcher located in the North Pole studying mating habits of the Polar Bear when my satellite phone started ringing. Knowing only HQ had my number I picked it up expecting them to demand all the research I compiled so far. When I picked up the phone it was indeed HQ but instead of my research, they told me there was an emergency back home and I needed to rush to HQ as quickly as possible.

I arrived the next day to find the offices in shambles. It seems that for Faculty movie night, someone put in Rocketeer thinking it was a bio flick of Elton John. It was safe to assume that a riot by the employees tore the place apart.

They told me they needed something, but my mind already in Private Investigator mode, ignored them and went to the only reliable source I knew for shady operations such as the one I imagined myself to be in. Two Lebanese prostitutes. At first they played dumb and refused to tell me anything saying things like ďWhat are you talking about?Ē and ďYouíre crazy!Ē but money opens all holes (Pun not intended) (WellÖit is now). They told me they once had a client who wore a robot helmet and that he ran an information websiteÖ.of all sorts of shady dealings I assumed. Naturally I followed the trail to Destructoid. And I was never seen again.

Do you have a favorite interview that you've done? If you can't pick one, pick a couple.

Dammit, they all have their awesome moments, but if I had to pick a couple it would be Elsaís because it was my first interview and because I couldnít ask for a better start. Getting to know Elsa was enlightening to say the least.

Conversely, did you ever try to do an interview that ended up just turning into a total disaster? If not, make up a story of the time you tried to interview me while I was hopped up on pop rocks and cola. Actually, do that anyway.

I may actually have an answer to the first half of that question. Guncannon still hasnít turned in an interview even though I sent one to him like 5 months ago. Still waiting on that one buddy.

As for part 2. Letís seeÖ

Once I tried to interview Andrew Kauz, but something was wrong as he was jittery, and his eyes were unfocused (I did this interview in person). I first thought drugs, but then realized who I was interviewing and instead settled on the more likely explanation of sugar and caffeine. I then asked him ďHey, how about that Metal Gear?Ē

The next thing I remember, I woke up halfway through Street Fighter The Movie with no recollection of the past 4 days and copies of the Metal Gear games and Kauzís writings all around me. And my wallet was gone.

Think you'll ever run out of people to interview? If so, what happens then?

My fear is that I wonít be able to interview everyone because there are so many of them I want to interview. Iíve resigned myself to the fact that I wonít be able to do this forever and when that time comes Iíll probablyÖI donít know what Iíll doÖbut for now, I'd rather not think about it.

What's one question that you've always wished someone would ask you in an interview?

Q: Can a swallow carry a coconut?

What's the answer to the one question that you've always wished someone would ask you in an interview?

A: Depends on the swallow.

The Internet has many gifts to give. What's the greatest gift the Internet has ever given you?

The world.

Honestly, thanks to the internet I've come into contact with so many people with similar, dissimilar; stories, creativity, art, information, Destructoid, friends I've moved away from, friends I've met for the first time, humor, videos, music, funny pictures. Everything anyone in the world can think of at the tip of my fingertips.

If you could sum yourself up in one image you randomly find from a Google images search, what would that image be?

Photo Photo Photo

Alienware has a cool community opportunity coming up for all of you -- something E3 related, if that gives you a good hint. So, how do you get involved? Great question.

If you want to be a part of this, start off by writing a C Blog about what your favorite PC game is and why. You can pick a specific game, a series, a genre -- whatever you think is best. Make sure to go into detail; don't just list it off and stop there. We need detail, images, and something interesting to read. Then, tag your post with the Alienware tag you see down under the "tag your post" drop down.

Next? Stay tuned, as an official announcement is coming soon. The mystery! The intrigue! What could it all mean?