The following is a script from the Youtube video. If you want to watch it, you can click the Youtube link down below. If you want to read the script, continue onwards.
Hello, I’m Kinglink and… well, I guess we should do this. I have a video and review for Wolfenstein ready and I’m not able to really do anything with that today. You see something else has come up, something that is more urgent in my mind.
In case you wonder, I’m playing Slay the Spire, but this really isn’t about that.
I’ve been reviewing games for just over a year, and I kept telling myself that I don’t want to give my official name away. At first, it was a concern that I was in the video game industry and bad actors would go contact Sony at the time and try to ruin my dream job. Spoiler, I could do that myself, ok I quit for better things, but same difference.
Then I got another highly paid job, and you know, someone could come after my new place of work, it’d be harder for sure because while I manually avoided conflict of interest before, and was VERY careful about that, and now there is none.
Ever noticed I only review Steam games. Conflict of interest was why, never touching a first-party game from Microsoft and Nintendo, and, of course, Sony would be off-limits.
So as I got that job I said, the first anniversary of the site is a great time, why not announce it then. I didn’t… And I came to a realization, it doesn’t matter. I listen to Lazy game reviews, I listen to Yahtzee, I listen to Angry Joe, does knowing his name is Joe Vargas get you anything. Honestly no. I do know some reviewers who are quite public about their name, and I think there’s both bias and… problematic dealings with the industry from them.
The point is there’s been no need for me to announce my name. But the fact is, that choice has kind of been taken from me. The title of this video is accurate. If you still haven’t heard. There was a leak of about 2000 records. 2025 in the file I have and yeah I have seen it, no I won’t let anyone touch it, I keep it as a reminder because of this, it’s kind of… has fucked up my life to be blunt. I don’t swear on my videos, I don’t think it’s necessary, I really don’t want to, but to be honest, this has fucked everything up and I don’t think there’s a better way to say it.
I was hanging out online talking with a friend I’ve mentioned a few times, while I played the Messenger early Sunday morning like 1 am, and I got a call, I would usually ignore them but for some reason, I picked up. The guy addressed me with my name, now no one has this number who knows me as Kinglink, and I mean literally no one. I get 0 calls, I’ll text, I’ll chat with people, but I don’t use my phone to contact anyone, so I was concerned that something was up.
He then told me he had found my name in this leak, and I admit I thought it was a scam, like always so I didn’t confirm anything on the phone. You can tell me my wife had just died and I’ll be like “Really, good to know, what’s her name?” because I’m a cynic, but he then read off the line, My name, my phone number, and address I gave out to E3, and …. Yeah, that’s when I realized that everything had changed.
The guy I believe said his name was “Whack” I didn’t get the spelling but he’s from 4chan, and admittedly he warned me this was going down so, to him I say thanks.
So far this is all about me, some small-time reviewer, YouTuber and more. Before we talk about the ramifications, let me just get this out of the way.
Yes, officially my name is Franklin Reese. Now some people may say “Why give this away if you’ve gone by anonymity” and the fact is, we’re at a stage where I protect nothing by hiding my name. Bad actors have it and can use it as an accusation, the people who normally listen to me I assume are good. By my saying my name or publishing it… it doesn’t change anything, because if people want the information they can get it.
I am going to talk about bad actors, and just to be clear, I just mean people who want to do bad. Here’s the thing every single person in the world can say they didn’t save a copy or didn’t keep a copy of the files, and that’s fine, but the fact is someone out there did save a copy, and that’s the problem. The good people can make any statement to say they’ll be good people and it doesn’t matter, you’re good so I’d gladly give you this information because you’re not going to do anything with it. The worst thing is someone might call me Francis, or Freese. It’s the fact that just a single bad actor can have a copy and suddenly it becomes a problem.
So why does it matter? Well, I know some people have laughed about this, including a relative, yeah my sister, Alicia, I saw your tweet, you retweeted my tweet to make that joke… lovely.
It doesn’t seem so bad, I mean I looked up a couple of names, and smart people used their office information for the address. Smart people… but almost everyone gave their real email address and real phone numbers, and that’s how I got a call at 1 am, luckily the person who called me wasn’t a bad actor, but… it does mean those who are bad actors also have it.
If you work at a big company, you have an office. If you’re a small blogger, journalist, or YouTuber who doesn’t have an office, because let’s be honest, that’s a major expense, probably have given an address that has some link to them. The fact is, that means bad actors CAN get that information, it’s out there.
But who cares, with a phone number, email address, and even a home address, what can people do. 99 percent of people, 99.99 people let’s say can’t do much. None of those are treated as a unique identifier and for the most part, it’s not enough information to prove you are someone else, so that’s theoretically safe. But we work in the games media, we review games, we cover them, we tell our opinions.
I really like gamers, I would honestly say 99.99 percent or even higher are relatively sane. There are a few assholes out there, and that’s going to be the way it is. But they’re just going to call you a rude name or kick you in the heat of the moment. So far so good.
But I think we know where we’re going. People in gaming circles like to… threaten other people’s lives. It’s not good, it’s not ok, and I’m never going to condone it. As much as I hate some people I think saying that you’ll harm them in some way is over the line whether it’s a bad review, or a delay in a game, or anything really, these are video games, entertainment, people, freaking chill out.
I’ve already had a couple of threats, I’m small potatoes, I know… but here’s the thing, most reviewers are relatively anonymous. Those guys I said, LazyGame Reviews, Yahtzee, Angry Joe I bet I could look up information on them if I really tried, but I don’t know what is out there, but now, some reviewer’s home address is out there. Even personal contact information
But for me, the next time someone says they’ll “get me”, “hurt me” or even… you know… kill me. I now have to remember, my personal information is out there. From that, a lot of information can be gathered, even if my home address is incorrect it’s probably in the same city or I’ve mentioned my city, and if anyone has ever looked through public records, you know how dangerous that information can be.
It means every threat is now more threatening, every angry fan, has a little more ammo. I might just get a call in the middle of the night, and that would be bad, but… The fact is that’s far from the worst case in all of this. I’m sure any sane person can think of far worse, I know I have.
A very nice person on Twitter, @JudeRetroGames, replied to me and said I hope they do something to make it up to everyone. It’s a lovely thought, but the simple fact is I don’t know what anyone can do to make this up. It’s one thing to give away my name, and now I no longer have the anonymity I had on Thursday last week. But how can you untell a piece of secret information, or how can you untell ANY of this information. There’s no way to make this up.
I’m sure the ESA knows this, everything is out, personally identifying information that they have been trusted with, is now public domain. They’ve had that little sorry statement, but they know they can’t do what needs to be done. How I see it, anything that happens to anyone on the list is now the ESA’s fault. The fact is, I’m sure someone at the ESA feels really bad, and maybe someone will get fired, but ultimately it won’t change anything.
I don’t have anything else I can say, there’s not a good end to the story, there’s not a happy moment to be had here, life is just more dangerous because of this leak for about 2025 people, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
As for me personally, I’m not going to stop reviewing games, I’m not going to give up, but this is absolutely horrible.
That’s all I have. I’ve always wanted to end a video with this, but it’s never been appropriate. Fuck it.