Mike Fahey of Kotaku, one of the longest-serving writers at one of the oldest and most-read online publications on video games, died Friday. He is 49 years old. For 16 years, Fahey has loved writing with great laughter and an emotional bond with toys, treats, giant robots, video games, and what connects them with readers.
Fahey’s death is Confirmed on Friday Created by his partner Eugene Abbott. In 2018, Fahey suffered an aortic dissection, a tear in the body’s main artery, which left him paralyzed from the chest down and forced to use a wheelchair. Fahey suffered another such tear in April, and he died of an infection linked to these chronic health problems.
Mike Fahey, who joined Kotaku in 2006, created a hilarious post online about the disappearance of a Pikachu plush. “He has a Pikachu that people keep kidnapping,” Abbott told Polygon. “People would hold up signs saying ‘we have your Pikachu’. I think the last time I saw it, it was strapped to the front of an 18-wheeler.”
Brian Crecente, who was Kotaku’s editor-in-chief from 2005 to 2011, recalls that Fahey was a commenter on a blog that Crecente started before Kotaku was founded. When Crecente was named Kotaku editor, Fahey was his first employee.
“The reason I hired him, and the reason he continues to work there, is that he’s an interesting guy by nature,” Crescent said. “A lot of people try to write interesting stuff, it’s forced, but for him it’s an innate ability. It’s so natural. I push him to do investigative work and longer writing , but I think his favorite thing is to make people laugh.”
Fahey crawled out of his shell in November 2006 when Crecente hired him. He has been working since then. “I had a job again, a girlfriend, and finally my own apartment, no roommates,” Fahey wrote. At Kotaku, Fahey is known for his reviews of delicious food — Snacktaku is the title of those posts — and lighthearted moments celebrating video game culture.
Fahey found his voice as a general pop culture fan whose interests and passions spanned Transformers, Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, Madden NFL, and especially RPGs. In October 2009, he published a seminal recollection of his own video game addiction endless task, And how it wrecked the relationship with Abbott, which he will soon mend.
“Everyone is like, ‘Haha, you dated the guy who ignored you because of video games?'” Abbott said Monday. She seemed to understand that Fahey was making his way to level 40 – she was annoying nonetheless. “But there isn’t any part of me that says, ‘Doesn’t he care? Does he prefer video games? I’m like, ‘Bruh, come on.'”
Posts about Michael McDonald’s battle stick, or how to cook an authentic Castlevania turkey, are standard for his workday. In 2008, he won “The Touch” on behalf of Stan Bush’s one-man campaign – 1986’s Ballad of Power Transformers: The Movie Animation feature – added to guitar hero 5.
In one of Fahey’s most memorable and boisterous posts for Kotaku, he was playing a video game in his office when, looking over his shoulder, he saw “a spider the size of a small Volkswagen” on the ceiling above his head .He blasted it with a can of Elmer’s CraftBond adhesive, then used a Plants vs. Zombies Garden Combat For Xbox One. The box is still glued to the ceiling.
Fahey invites comparisons to the cliché of this grown-up big kid, especially since he’s 6-foot-6. Abbott remembers coming back from business visits for conferences and expositions with suitcases full of surprises for the kids. “He would go home with a suitcase, open it, and all the sweets and toys would come out,” they said.
“He came home from Momocon 2015 [in Atlanta] Lots of ramune and Hi-Chew [candy],” Abbott said, “called the kids in, opened them up on the bed, and fell asleep, surrounded by candy. “
Polygon senior news editor Michael McWhertor, who was hired by Kotaku shortly after Fahey, had similar recollections of covering San Diego Comic-Con together. “I went back to the hotel room and saw Fahey sleeping on his bed surrounded by all the toys he had bought from the showroom, like a Christmas kid,” he said.
Michael Fahey leaves Abbott and their two sons, Seamus and Archer, both 11 years old. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help the family.