Mike Fahey knew how to de-arm a person.
Mike's humor is well-known: the way he would spit out cartoon notes on a whim, and how every interaction was like a blow to the ribs that tested your verve. His larger-than-life personality was classic misdirection. Behind every joke and every antics was a sensitive man who had lived many lives and faced a lot of folly.
Mike Fahey was the guy who reviewed books and snacks for a living. He was also the guy who could make you laugh out loud in a blog about Fortnite or Animal Crossing. I suspect it was the same drive that motivated him to tell you what he wanted to tell you when he was in a coma. Even when he was being ridiculous and reviewing a frozen dinner, he still wanted to make people feel less lonely.
For a variety of reasons that may be obvious, it's difficult to compose this, but one of them is the realization that Mike wanted to come back and continue sharing his joy with everyone at Kotaku after eight months away. Between visits to the hospital, Mike kept telling me that he was sure he would return soon, because writing and playing games were the things that still brought him joy.
Mike Fahey, who battled health issues for years, has died at the age of 49, according to his spouse. That's because by the time I started writing for Kotaku on the side while still in college in 2012, Mike had already been here for around six years. That's a decade ago.
Fahey is a Kotaku for many readers. He built this program that millions of people use every month that forever redefined how to surf and read the internet. We no longer think of personalities as a given on the internet, but Mike Fahey provided a framework for being a human voice in a technology-driven society.
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Fahey may be gone, but his spirit will always live on in anything that we do. This was said to Kotaku staffers this weekend, but it needs to be repeated again: I want to believe that somewhere, there is still an Xbox game that will never be lowered.
Here you can help the Fahey family's fundraising efforts, or scroll down further to read colleagues' current and former.
Mike, please accept my sincere condolences.
Stephen Totilo, Former Kotaku Editor-In-Chief
Mike was my kind of curious writer and my kind of human being: he saw wonder in everything and turned his nose up at nothing. He was ecstatic by so many things and wanted to share them with us, through words and sometimes video, about all of it. He launched Kotaku Social and searched for great games on Facebook (he really, really tried). He launched a mechanical keyboard beat. He even attempted a gamer-parenting show with his amazing kids.
I was certainly not Mike's only fan. During my time as editor-in-chief, I received a fair amount of reader feedback on our writers and producers. Nothing but love. It suited. He loved writing for all of you.
We primarily communicated via phone or Slack, though we met up in person early in my Kotaku run when he left for E3. He traveled less as his boys became older, well before any health issues. But connecting with him in any way was a joy, not least because half of any conversation with him [was] made by him, which he is well-known for. His long-time colleagues can hear it right now, as
Mike was diagnosed with a medical episode, had recovered from a three-week coma, and was coping with being paralyzed from the waist down. It was also E3 season, too. I flew down, carrying a Nintendo Labo box in hand, to spend a day with Mike in the hospital and give him some of the staff's hugs.
We often wish we had more time to dedicate to someone and confess, as I do now, that we assumed they would be okay, that they would keep going, and that we just hadn't imagined them going. I dreamed of Mike's complete recovery, fantasized about how science might improve so he could walk again, and he often searched Kotaku for his byline, yearning to read more of his words. It was a brief exchange that he ended with a joke.
I joked with him about my tendency to interview people and then translate it into several articles. I will admit that some interview-chopping I've done since then was done to slap Mike. And now, as I write about him here and on Twitter and elsewhere, I'm grateful that I've done the same about him. You are the best man I've ever known. Rest well.
Riley MacLeod, former Kotaku managing editor
When Fahey and I visited Kotaku for a Toy Fair, I remember him standing over me in the empty nighttime office, both happy to be helping and annoyed I was at work so late. I don't know why, though; I'm sure it's because of his immense dedication to his work. As his editor, I'd always depend on him to have something I could do.
Every game, every snack, every video editing technique, and every interaction we saw on the internet. A good 80% of our Slack messages are probably me poking him on a deadline he was in danger of missing, or him replying with some bizarre story about something else, or some ridiculous thing that was going on in the real world around him. It's heartbreaking to think that all of this passion would go away.
It lives on in the people he taught me and the rest of his colleagues, and it lives on in his children, and his partner, to whom he was so utterly committed and loved so much. The theme song to Cruisn Blast is a true banger, even if it will always make me cry now.
Ethan Gach, Senior Kotaku Reporter
Back in 2016, I was hired as a weekend editor at Kotaku, where Mike had just switched to a regular weekday schedule. The next day I was losing my mind trying to keep up with finding multiple stories a day, editing them, posting them, and engaging with the commenters. One sentiment shared by readers: Bring Fahey back.
By the time I arrived, Mike had already established himself as an institution, and he kept the weekends to a minimum. His Shop contests were better, his jokes were more humorous, and he maintained his fluid knowledge of games and culture with speed and precision while also making it appear effortless. He was gracious and understanding about my comments at every turn, always ready and willing to assist.
Mike not only maintained his kindness, sincerity, and passion for internet blogging, but he spread it across all his (many) keyboards. He remained a dependable figure in an industry that processes people at an astonishing rate.
As an outside reader hopping from one site to the next, it is easy and natural to be somewhat ignorant to the details, intricacies, and hard work that make one version of a review or aggregated news piece so superior to another. I began to suspect there was something standard about his ability to mingle nuanced views, sharp wit, and a long memory.
I realized how much these qualities are in short supply, the amount of effort involved in honing them, and the amount of effort required to make it appear as if the words had always existed, awaiting for someone to click on them.
Mike did more than write words. He created illustrations for stories, directed his own videos, and co-hosted the most recent Kotaku Splitscreen version, which has the warm, thoughtful kind of radio voice everyone wishes they would have when they decided to start a podcast. While I steadfastly reject the material circumstances that forced Mike and many others in this business to wear multiple hats, I will forever marvel at how he managed to do it all.
As I write this I keep imagining what Mike would do to soften my mood after reading it. Which phrase he would riff on to dispel the anxiety. The neurons in my brain have yet to adapt to the fact that I will never get that DM. He was a gentle giant who had so many more stories to tell. I miss him dearly.
Luke Plunkett, Senior Writer, Nights
The thing I will always remember about Mike is that everybody assumed he knew this goofball who wrote about toys and snacks, and then there's the guy who actually was behind the scenes. Who, yes, wrote about toys and snacks, but Mike also possessed a deep attachment for this website and his coworkers, that we all assumed was taken for granted.
Mike had gone through some rough times this past few years. So has this website. And through it all, through every setback and departure, through every surgery and diagnosis, Mike was always...Mike. Hed bring the same energy, the same warmth, and the same level of support and friendship into work, day in and day out. I honestly don't know if any of us could have imagined how difficult things must have been for Mike and his family.
Mike, I'm sorry to say this only now because I've never intended to say anything to you when you've been here to hear it. We may have had our disagreements, but outside of your Kotaku character you were an absolute rock, someone without whom this website would simply exist. I loved and respected you, and I wish I'd been able to express it.
John Walker, Kotaku freelance editor
Mike was an inspiration. Thats the sort of cliche you often hear about a person after they die, but there is no hyperbole here. When I think of Fahey, the first word that pops into my head is inspiration. He inspired me in so many ways, and I'm angry and sad that he's been taken away from us.
Mike was only introduced to me during the last couple of years. Of course I knew him for many years, and I adored his funny writing, but it was only since I joined Kotaku in 2020 that I got to interact with him every day. Im so ecstatic that I did.
Fahey's writing was the sort that felt effortlessly funny and utterly readable. He had the ability to develop fantastic sentences that flowed effortlessly, while Mike worked out loud and surprised you, and it all felt like it just poured out from him.) It's utterly impossible to imagine myself in the future, but he did it while lying flat on his back, in agony from unhealing wounds and permanently paralyzed from the nipples down (as he put
You often hear people say about themselves in such situations, and they never complained. It's awful to me. Mike complained, thank God. He was so kind to me. He'd have dark days when his implausible awfulness became too great, and I would tell him how incredible he is, and that's how it felt right. But far more often, he was funny, silly, or bursting with joy for joyous things.
Mike's posts both influenced me and made me laugh out loud. Typically, when a writer sends over a Gdoc, I switch to Suggestion mode, and then go through fixing errors, rearranging the sentences, adding notes on what to add, and asking questions about sections that don't make sense.
I'd be a gibbering, incapable wreck if I had encountered a sliver of a fraction of the terrible loss Fahey suffered as a result of his aortic dissection. Not with endless grace and patience, but with humanity and displeasure and love.
I'm sorry that I have been unable to see him over the past few months because he spent more time in hospital and was unable to attend work. However, Im so glad I've already informed him how much I respect him, admire him, and am grateful to know him. Do the same for the people in your life.
Mike Fahey, I'll miss you, and I just got to know you. Thank you, man.
Lisa Marie Segarra, Kotaku Staff Editor
I'm still reeling from this. I keep expecting Fahey to post a wacky story about a huge hospital outburst, and he couldn't reach out to anyone because he couldn't find a new Lego set or game out there. Something. In part, I think it's because I keep saying to myself, Surely, this isn't it. It can't be all the time we get. I'm so grateful to have gotten to know Fahey over the
The other reason I cant help but feel the desire that Fahey would return any second now is because he always made me feel good. He loved Kotaku. He gave life to this website, to otherwise mundane Zoom meetings, to Slack. He loved everything he touched. It's felt like a hole at Kotaku since he's been out. Now, knowing that hole will never be filled is unimaginable.
Ash Parrish, Games Reporter at The Verge:
This frickin sucks, man.
Fahey was a gaming journalism expert, a player who didnt own a console until she was 15 years old, and he was so knowledgeable that I loved to see his stories. He loved to see his stories about working at Kotaku in the early days when one was paid per post and how he would knock out 10 or 11 stories like it was nothing. And, despite the fact that I was brand new to this website and this job, and gaming in general, he never made me feel like I was stupid for not
Nathan Grayson and I left Kotaku for new adventures before I remembered what Fahey's voice sounded like during our last recording. He was ecstatic to leave, but to me, he was also appreciative of the work we had done together throughout our many shows. During those times, Nathan would usually come to Splitscreen planning meetings with ideas and segments that, more often than not, I would just follow.
Fahey, please have a great day. Your next adventure awaits.
Tina Amini, Programming At Xbox
Mike Fahey was a playful, outgoing individual who showed you that he cared about you, yet you always knew that it came from a place of love, and thats what made the relationship special. Both in terms of what he wanted to investigate and the passion with which he covered it, Fahey was always curious, thoughtful, and descriptive in the most specific ways. He will be missed.
Cecilia DAnastasio, Bloomberg Game Reporter
Faheys tour of his old Second Life haunts was wonderful. He talked about his past in virtual worlds and MMOs as if he had been a rockstar in a previous life. On the weekday evening he took me through Second Life's towns and landscapes, describing the fairies and furries as they were wildlife in his backyard.
Fahey had a gift for expressing both the depth and the levity of gaming. He could either enthuse you with an essay on his gaming addiction or charm you with his humorous essays. Or random encounters with chaos.
Joshua Rivera, Polygon Entertainment Writer
Mike Fahey put it all out there for the world to see. There arent a lot of people who can do that. On the internet, being as kind or vulnerable as he was isnt always easy, especially when you did it as Mike did, without ego or self-importance. He was just unafraid to share what he liked, and nothing seemed to please him more than sharing it.
I interned with Fahey twice, the first as an intern in the summer of 2011 and again as a colleague in 2019. I primarily read when he talked about his battle with gaming addiction, his obsession with JRPGs that no one else seemed to be able to commit to (I dont know how he did), his oddball humor, andwhat was likely the most difficult thing for him to talk about his recent years of health problems.
Yet he kept writing and I kept reading. Im so sorry that none of us will ever get to read anything else from him again.
Patrick Klepek, Vice Games Reporter
Mike Fahey was a unique individual, the sort of person who only truly appreciates himself when you realize youll never get to experience it again. My thoughts are with Mike. Thank you for making my life a better one.
Levi Winslow, Kotaku Reporter
Mike KotakuDot Com Fahey was a funny guy and an honest blogger. A boy who never grew up but who loved to share his knowledge with others through his love of video games. I never met him. But from his writing, I could tell him that he had a lotta heart and a lotta fun doing what he did despite the many challenges. I know hes watching us all with a controller in hand waiting for the next game or the new expansion to FFXIV or
If there is one thing we can learn from Mike Fahey, it's to find the levity and joy in things despite life's suffering. Im hoping we all recover from this in time, and my condolences to his family and friends.
Mike Fahey, rest in peace. Kotaku Dot Com will miss you very much.
Brian Crecente, the former Kotaku editor-in-chief, has issued a statement.
Bunnyspatial was my first contact before I knew Fahey.
In early 2004, we formed a terrible little blog called RedAssedBaboon, which I later changed. He went from a commenter to a prolific contributor.
He was a natural writer who would often make me smile and more often laugh. His self-effacing humor and quick wit were only matched by his genuine warmth and warmth.
I cant remember when I first learned his real nameMichael Faheybut Id like to think it was before I offered him a job at Kotaku in 2006.
There are a myriad of memorable stories to tell about Fahey's time as video editor at E3, but only after Adam made a funny video about the whole ordeal. Or the time we convinced Fahey to go on a zero-g flight, and he packed his stomach with colorful foods so that he would vomit.
The gift from Fahey to anyone who knew him was that you could not help but smile whenever you saw him. Even today, when we think of his passing, the force of his goodwill and kindness and the history of his humor outweigh the pain.
When my time comes, I can only hope to give up a small portion of the joy and happiness Fahey gave to the world.
Chris Person, Highlight Reel
Mike was one of the funniest people I've ever worked with. You can see snippets of it in his writing but it took knowing him to get the whole effect. In chat he was frighteningly quick and had the ability to catch you completely flat footed with a zinger. It was like getting your leg swept.
He said he used to do tech support and would use that to screw with those who he encountered at E3. An astonishing feat.
Mike will be missed enormously. He was one-in-a-million, a joyous presence. There was and will always be one Mike Fahey.
Ari Notis, Staff Writer
Mike loved to watch Twitch. This isnt unusual in this country, of course, but it wasnt just about gameplay or internet celebrity chatting that he saw daily. Nope, Mike frequented a 24/7 livestream that showed only one thing: a litter of kittens.
Hed say. Ahhh!!! Id reply. And then wed pause for a minute and think about how adorable they were. Wed pick our favorites.
Ive long believed that a person's ability to care for animals is often indicative of their ability to care for humans as well. In Mike's case, that phrase absolutely bore out and then some. A supportive colleague who was always willing to share his vast knowledge; a mature man who was able to maintain a childlike, bottomless reservoir of creativity and joy and enthusiasm, which anyone could immediately discern from any of his articles.
Mike's absence has been devastating to all of us here at Kotakuand, on everyone with whom he crossed paths. My deepest condolences to Eugene, Archer, and the rest of Mike's loved ones.
Maddy Myers, Polygon Deputy Editor, Games
Mike Fahey was able to walk when he first joined G/O Media; at the time, I was hired as an editor at Kotaku; at that point, two of my colleagues at Compete were laid off. He used to joke about his life changing experiences, including his physical health and the deaths of two beloved colleagues (RIP Compete).
Before Fahey's hospital visit, we were already working friends, but once he returned and I was his boss, we became a lot closer. Even though he now had to spend most of his day in a reclined position, Fahey continued to critique not only video games, but complicated toys and hardware that required skill and care. Sometimes, he'd be late filing a draft because a controller or Lego block had accidentally fallen off his bed and he had to wait until one of his family members became available to
Fahey's dedication to humor, sometimes to a fault, was perhaps the most reliable factor. He had barely recovered from the hospital before he began laughing out loud about how he had almost died, even though it had been the worst shit ever for us. If my ghost could see this post, he'd be displeased with me for failing to make jokes about the fact that he now has died. (Give me a break, Fahey!)
I dont know whether or not to commend Fahey for being so dependable and so persistently determined to keep on working, since it was, in many ways, the hallmark of a culture that has haunted Gawker since its inception (even if the owner and its company name have changed a few times in the subsequent years). He would be concerned about Kotaku as a website rather than himself; his passion for the company was both dangerous and infectious.
Fahey seemed like a regular contributor to Kotaku for the rest of his life. He had been through a number of changes in the management team, and he had been patient with lots of different editors and leaders who were directing his work in all different directions. After that trauma, he resolved to just get back to writing about Kirby and Hatsune Miku and She-Ra every day.
He deserved a break from the absurd pace he kept on weathering, against the better judgment of his editors (who often advised him to rest and to tell us when he wasn't feeling well enough to work), and for his own sake.
Jason Schreier, Bloomberg Reporter:
It's quite straightforward to find players who can score 20 points in one night and then take the next two weeks off. What's coveted far more is consistency: players who can and will score points no matter what, putting the same effort into their performances day in and day out.
Mike Fahey was the ultimate example of consistency. Every morning, no matter how grim the world might have seemed, hed always have something interesting to talk about. Whether it was reading FarmVille guides or playing some weird anime game he was into that week, hed always write with warmth and humor that stayed just as strong. However, readers knew hed never do anything like that.
I told him that he needed to write a memoir every day. A little less gruesome. A little warmer. Every day.
When I think about Fahey, it's easy to get too sad. All I can think about is how he would try to calm the tension and cheer everyone up with a joke. I just remember that unabashed enthusiasm that made him such a popular figure among the Kotaku staff and the community. He may not be with us anymore, but he's still a loyal member of the family. May his memory be a blessing.
Alexandra Hall, Kotaku Senior Editor
Mike was truly unique, and it was a pleasure to edit. He was funny, sometimes prickly, but also kind and helpful. He was also my pal in classic gaming, and the reason I finally decided to join the MiSTer project.
I'm still reeling from his death. I'm sure that will come later. My heart goes out to his family. I wish we had more time with him.
Gita Jackson, Motherboard Reporter
When Fahey learned that my then-boyfriend gifted me a pink Filco Mejestouch 2 as a present, he was almost astounded as I was. He was a huge fan of mechanical keyboards, and like me, a fondness for cute keycaps.
From that point onwards, he sent me a new link to a dropshipping website that sold keycaps in the most adorable color combinations you can think of. I was surprised to hear that he knew my taste, but at that time in time I wore the New York uniform of all black, all the time. How could he have known that I desired a Sailor Moon escape key, or one that resembled the calico cat I had just adopted?
I missed these messages more than anything else when I left Kotaku. Even on our worst days, Fahey found ways to make coming to work a pleasure-filled experience. I still remember the kisses he gave on rare occasions when he could come to New Yorkgenuine and warm.
I miss him more than I can imagine. Every day, I type on the keys he encouraged me to acquire. May his memory be a blessing.
Ian Walker, Former Kotaku Staff Writer
Fahey was everyones fun uncle, a reliable source of joy in the face of realisations' endless suffering. I wish I would have been able to make more memories with him in the relatively short time I was his colleague. Rest in good spirits, Mike.
Kirk Hamilton, the host of powerful songs and triple click
Mike was a Kotaku to me in a lot of ways. I bet a lot of people are stating that, because it's true. He was here when I arrived, and he was here when I left. He embodied something essential about this website.
In a straightforward, infectious manner, he loved video games as much as toys, gadgets, and candy. It made you want to love those things, too. He aided me in learning to love video games in ways that I never knew I would ever share or thank him for.
It's a big deal to grow someone's love for something they already love. It's just Mike being Mike. Squasher of spiders, snacker of snacks; a big man with a big heart for life's tiny nuances.
Fahey, rest in peace, and thy thanks.
Brass Lion Entertainment's senior writer, Evan Narcisse
It was a high-pressure, high-volume website, unlike any other I worked in before. It was difficult trying to match my voice and instincts to the pace and seemingly encyclopedic knowledge that everybody else working at the site had mastered. But Mike Fahey made it a point to make me feel better.
Because Fahey had the greatest heart, Mike was the perfect guy to bounce headlines off of, disagree on points, or just make jokes with during a marathon run of E3 presentations. But, more importantly, Mike never did that slapstick chest posturing that's so common in video game creators and commentary circles.
Fahey would submit a review or feature story with razor-sharp observations or deep emotional insight when you were ready to dismiss him as just a jokester gamer. He was a person who was the best of the friends you encountered in the dorm room, comic shop, or arcade. With all that he had to deal with, the humor and the passion never faded.
Paul Tamayo, Fanbyte Podcast Producer
Mike Fahey was someone who embodied this unquestionable charm and optimism that served as a constant reminder of how fortunate we all were to not only receive the opportunity to do what we do every day, but to also receive the support from family and friends who supported us along the way. I consider myself to be one of those people.
Ill miss going to work during our morning meetings and seeing him connect his camera to his capture card playing whatever new game he got his hands on, or the way he smiled with joy every time his kids asked for a play date. He loved going out whenever possible and I would always get a kick out of my chuckles when I replied, always with love.
After the hard times we faced at the business a few years back, he texted me privately to ensure that I was okay and that he was okay. That's the kind of guy I'll always cherish. Mike, please pass on your kindness to the rest of the world. You'll be missed.
Ben Bertoli, Kotaku Freelance Contributor
I began my freelance career with Kotaku mostly covering holiday weekends, and was often greeted by Mike (who was in charge of weekends in those days) for any queries or to delete the site in its entirety. Mike, a friendly but kind mentor, was quick to respond to any queries and assured me that, should I fail, it would not be the end of the world (though he would still mock me for it).
I grew more confident in my writing skills and, inspired by Mike, began to explore other niche areas not related to gaming, mostly toys, animation, and snacks. Mike would always be willing to take me inside and show me around. Try that new snack. Watch that new show. It's exactly what Mike would have desired.
Narelle Ho Sang, Kotaku Freelance Contributor
TAY, Kotakus reader-run community blog, was run by Mike. We were always so grateful to him, and we started doing a few TAY-centric Snactaku posts, which we named SnackTAYku because we thought ourselves so clever.
Mike would be there to help whenever he could, always in a funny way. I know so many on the TAY side miss him. I certainly do. Thank you for everything. Rest in peace.
Alex Cranz, Managing Editor at The Verge
Fahey made me realize that I didn't have to tell him about my own gaming addiction. It was this story in particular that helped me to understand my own situation and finally put an end to the WoW raids for the life of those who did. They didnt realize how harmful it can be for people who have it, but he explained it in a way that made you feel secure.
Im super bummed he would not be able to hear his thoughts on all of the new VR headsets, and the strange Lego keyboard, and just so many other aspects of the gaming gadget landscape. His happinesshis determination will not be replaced.