"Conversationally formal" is how I used to describe it, and what I think works best with the community you're pulling writers from and writing for. For the problems that Cracked has, I've always liked the style of writing they allow, as it works for them (being informative + entertaining). If we were solely going for being informative, I can see us sticking to being as formal as possible. But I've never viewed our analyses as being strictly informative... they were always a source of entertainment, as the writers are those that play the game and are the ones also doing the writing.Contractions being allowed is a fair point that I've never really been able to justify myself (and the main reason why I call it pseudo-formality lol), usually my thoughts are "technically we shouldn't but it's not worth fighting it at this point and it's not really that big a deal either way".
I think being formal in writing has its merit, but allowing colloquialism/shorthand I don't think harms the level of professionalism we currently have. Shoddy writing and ignorance of subject does way more to that than minor word choice and artistic creativity 9.9