Laura Kate Dale: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Laura Kate Dale

Laura Kate Dale, better known as Laura K Buzz, is a rising name in games journalism. After working as a freelance writer for multiple gaming news outlets, she announced today that she will be the full time news editor at Kotaku UK. While best known for leaking the existence of entire consoles and games, she’s grown a following for her insightful commentary on the game industry as well as her love of butts.

Here’s everything you need to know.

1. She is a Games Journalist Who Loves Butts

Episode 1 – Ass Effect – Laura's Gaming ButtsIn Episode 1 of quite possibly the weirdest part of my career, LauraKBuzz sits down with Alex Shaw and Sharon Shaw of Digital Drift and Neil Taylor of Gameburst to discuss butts in Mass Effect. Why? Because Patreon demanded it. You can support the continuation of this series by throwing in $1 per month to…2014-11-25T14:23:30Z

Dale worked as a supermarket store assistant earning minimum wage before going into video game journalism for the past three years. She has contributed work to multiple gaming outlets, including IGN, Polygon, RPS, The Guardian, Kotaku, The Jimquisition, and VICE. She also writes for her own blog, The LauraKBuzz Network, as well as her own YouTube channel where she does everything from editorials to insightful discussions of character design by analyzing the butts of popular video game characters. One of her video series is Access-Ability which talks about accessibility options and representation in video games.

After she and fellow games journalists Joe Parlock and Vikki Blake were let go from Destructoid UK following its dissolution in July 2016, they established Let’s Play Video Games, a gaming website dedicated to their content. The website has since shut down.

She’s also a co-host for many different podcasts, including Podquisition with fellow game critics Jim Sterling and Conrad Zimmerman, a Dungeons & Dragons comedy podcast Dice Funk, a podcast with her wife Jane Aerith Magnet called Queer & Pleasant Strangers, a Steven Universe podcast The Crystal ClodCast, and a podcast discussing pornographic adaptations of video games called Pixel Squirt.

All of her work has earned her a sizeable following, with over 17,900 subscribers on her YouTube channel. Fans have contributed artwork featuring Dale and her love of butts.

She also holds several speedrunning world records for Cooking Mama: Cookstar and Babysitting Mama.

2. She Leaked the Existence of Entire Consoles & Games

PS4 Slim Unboxing – Let's Play Video GamesI unbox a PS4 Slim. Journalism, public interest reporting, journalistic protections. Please acknowledge these aspects of early reporting Sony.2016-08-30T14:01:27Z

Laura Kate Dale has uncovered the existence of many different games and even consoles through her reporting.

Her first major leak was the existence of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, a PlayStation VR game from the developers of the critically acclaimed Until Dawn, six days before it was officially revealed with a trailer at Paris Games Week in 2015. She received an email from a fan saying that they played a piece of DLC for Until Dawn after being invited by an outside market research firm to Sony’s London offices. After verifying the info with additional sources, she published a report on Destructoid. While much of the report would turn out to be true, including the name, the fact it was a VR game, and the on-rails shooting, Developer Supermassive Games denied the game’s existence during a Reddit AMA the day the news was leaked.

Laura then broke the news of the PlayStation 4 Slim after receiving a unit from a retail store manager who sold it on eBay. She reviewed the system and even unboxed it in August of 2016 before the system was oficially revealed in September of that year.

She also revealed many details of the Nintendo Switch, then codenamed the Nintendo NX, before its official announcement in October of 2016. She used many sources including fellow games journalists and even sources close to an internal Nintendo division to break news on the system’s announcement video release date, split D-pad, share button, detachable controllers with motion controls, touch screen, and more.

In January of 2017, she started contributing info about Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle after it was first reported by French website GameBlog calling it a “Yoshi/Rabbid Rabbits crossover.” She even correctly reported the fact that the game’s music was composed by legendary Composer Grant Kirkhope. This was all before Kotaku confirmed the game’s existence four months later.

Despite the accuracy of her sources and reports, many accused Dale of being a liar, something that wasn’t helped by the radio silence of the game publishers she was reporting on. “The inability to believe a woman in the games industry broke a story is STRONG!” she writes on Tumblr.

3. She Was Harassed For Being Transgender

Dale had private gender surgery in June 2016. On her GoFundMe page for the surgery, she writes that she began the process of gender transition three years ago after “a night spent contemplating suicide.” Gender Dysphoria, or a conflict between a person’s assigned gender and the gender they identify with according to the American Psychiatric Association, had been a part of her life since hitting puberty and it was getting worse as time went on. She said that living under a new name and living a new life as a woman has vastly improved her life. She created the funding campaign to raise funds for undergoing surgery privately, as she said that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has kept her waiting for three years to help her with surgical options and she would have to wait another two or three years minimum before she gets through their “nightmare of a system.” She successfully raised the £23,000 necessary to go through surgery with the help of 837 donors.

Much of Dale’s work has been about the transgender community and its relation to video games. For instance, a 2013 article on The Average Gamer discusses how the gaming industry has succeeded and failed in representing the transgender community, using the Super Mario character of Birdo as a focal point. Another article investigates how trans consultants saved the writing for the character of Cremisius “Krem” Aclassi in Dragon Age: Inquisition from being problematic and cliched.

Dale has been attacked all throughout her career for being transgender. One such moment was when she attended a gaming convention known as Eurogamer Expo in 2013. She wrote in The Huffington Post about how she was misgendered by the presenter. The presenter was calling up groups of people, five men and one woman, to the stage and he called up Dale as one of the four men even though she was presenting herself as female. The presenter then referred to Dale more than once as male before switching to “that person.”

Afterwards, she went to the staff to try to talk to the presenter and get his name for a formal request but the staff refused both requests. After making a complaint anyway, she took to Twitter to express her anger. A friend identified the presenter as British Actor and Comedian Fraser Millward and Dale mentioned him on Twitter via his handle. While some people responded with support, most of them sent death threats and dehumanizing comments.

Being misgendered at Eurogamer was nothing compared with my punishment for speaking up about it. This is why trans people rarely speak up when these things happen. People tracked down my phone number. Hate flooded my work inbox. I had people threatening to track me down in person and attack me. People found my old identity and began to try to publicize it. I faced the darkest aspects of the Internet just for existing and speaking up.

Eurogamer Expo said that on Twitter that they were investigating the matter, according to Kotaku. Microsoft issued a statement saying that they were aware of an incident at the event in which an inappropriate comment was made and apologized for any offence caused.

Millward later addressed the situation on Twitter.

No offence was intended when I referred to Laura Kate Dale as ‘this person’ after I asked the audience to applaud her… and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any offence and hurt I may have caused. There will be no further comment or response regarding this matter.

Both Millward and Dale then released a joint statement:

Laura Kate Dale and Fraser Millward have come to agree that the situation which took place at the Xbox stand at Eurogamer on Sunday 29th September was an unfortunate misunderstanding on both sides. It has now been made clear that Fraser did not refer to Laura as an ‘it’ or a ‘thing’ or a ‘he’, and these claims have now been fully retracted by Laura and she is sorry for the hurt this caused. Fraser caused offence to Laura on stage when he publicly misgendered her by addressing her as ‘this person’. Laura was also upset by statements which she saw as suggesting that she was not female. Fraser is sorry he said this, and for the pain he inadvertently caused Laura. Both parties wish to put the situation behind them and consider this matter now resolved.

Before making the joint statement, Dale told Kotaku to pull their article on her as it caused a spark of harassment. While the publication has a policy against pulling articles, they decided to remove links to her Twitter and added a note from Editor-in-Chief Stephen Totilo encouraging readers to remember that “there are human beings on the other end of your online comments.”

4. She’s on the Autism Spectrum

Dale not only talks about the transgender community and how it relates to video games but about Autism and the game industry.

In her article on her experiences with Roller Derby, she said that she was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in her late teens, a condition now diagnosed under the general spectrum of Autism. For her, the condition manifests as a sensory processing and routine dependence condition, where too much sensory information or abrupt changes in plans can leaver her distressed. She writes that Roller Derby has been a challenging yet fun experience as she had to cope with her inability to properly predict how changes in her balance will effect her stability and unexpected physical contact.

One article she wrote about Autism and the gaming industry is how the game Magikarp Jump has become an effective method of self stimulatory behavior (stimming), or engaging in repetitive behaviors with predictable outcomes to help her cope with unpredictable events and sensory overload. She writes that while behaviors like rocking or fidget cube use is noticeable and can stand out as abnormal, she can use Magikarp Jump as a stimming tool and explain it with a degree of normalcy. Sometimes she needs specific stims for specific senses, but the game has given her a new outlet that she feels won’t be judged by non-Autistic people.

5. She’s Taking an Exciting New Direction In Her Career

Dale received most of her financial support from Patreon, a crowdfunding site for individual creators and groups. However, she decided to leave Patreon to start a full time position at Kotaku UK as a news editor.

This was because of two things. First, she said that continuing to receive funding through Patreon while having an editorial position would be a potential conflict of interest as any game developer she reports on or gaming personality could fund her. Second, she also said that being funded directly by her audience drove her to create content constantly in order to justify her income and them paying her, and not making content made her immensely guilty. This has caused her to burn out more than once and start making mistakes with her work. She writes that the best thing for her mental health right now is to move to a 9-5 job with a stable salary where she can afford to take time off guilt-free.

She’ll continue to write and produce the same content that people love from her. The only thing she can’t be involved with is the Let’s Play Video Games Podcast. As for Let’s Play Video Games, the site will be handled by Parlock and Blake with their own Patreon page.

Working at Kotaku UK, she’ll be working with a team of experienced industry writers to help her edit her work, collaborate on new content, and help assess the quality of leaks she receives.

While leaving Patreon behind is a terrifying move, it’s one I hope will usher in a new age of LauraKBuzz. I really hope those of you who have enjoyed, followed and supported my content thus far will continue to do so going forward.

I’m taking a scary step I hope will benefit both my overall career goals and my mental health. I hope you’ll follow me into this new exciting era.

The first article she wrote for Kotaku UK is about an upcoming Switch game called Promethium, with retro shooting mechanics meant to mimic the oppressive weight of dealing with depression.

Update (June 3, 2019): After spending two years at Kotaku UK, Dale is leaving the publication on June 6, 2019 to focus on “big, exciting, and hopefully career altering personal projects” for a year.

She will once again work as a solo content creator and accept funding on Patreon and Twitch, she said in a thread on Twitter. This will allow her to work on her two upcoming books as well as other projects she has in store for 2019. She said that any further work for publications would be as a freelance writer rather than a full time staff writer.

Her first book is called Uncomfortable Labels, a memoir about living as a trans woman on the autism spectrum. The book is set for release on July 18, 2019.

Her second book is called Things I Learned From Mario’s Butt, a collection of drawings of butts from famous video game characters and discussions on how the appearance of their butts inform how we interpret the characters in the story. The book features artwork from Zack Flavin and writing from Dale as well as a long list of guests including Jim Sterling, Zoe Quinn and Justin McElroy, according to the book’s page on crowdfunding website Unbound.

Dale has since published a third book called Gender Euphoria, an anthology from non-cisgender and intersex writers about moments of happiness they feel after coming out.

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