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The Death of EGM, and More-Or-Less Death of 1UP

I was going to write an entry today linking over to my personal blog where I reviewed the first volume of The Legend of Zelda manga released by Viz, or I was going to talk about how I finally sat down and played a little over an hour of the first Halo last night (and thought it felt a lot like how Half-Life started, which I’ve also started playing)…

But it all seems pretty pointless, now.

I’ve been pretty depressed about the 1UP fiasco since last night. It’s almost like a bunch of my friends just died. It’s that emotionally effective right now. OK, so not quite (let’s not get out of hand), but I don’t know how else to describe it.

If you have absolutely no idea what’s going on (and yet somehow still read this blog, which boggles my mind), the 1UP network has been sold to the Hearst Corporation / UGO Entertainment. Along with this comes the closing of Electronic Gaming Monthly as a magazine, and something like thirty layoffs at 1UP (including the entire audio and video team).

It’s no secret that I’ve been an EGM fan since the days of Ed Semrad (I think I missed Steve Harris in the earliest days). I saw Ed go, John Davison come in, John leave, Dan Hsu step up, Hsu leave, and finally we had James Mielke with the last stand (I’m sure I missed someone in there). Fighting game reviews from Sushi-X were always amusing. Trickman used to be relevant before the rise of the internet. The import previews were amazing, in-depth, and under-appreciated. I have the multiple Sheng Long April Fools jokes. They even temporarily “got me” with the Sonic & Tails being in Melee prank. I have plenty of issues of EGM^2. There are far too many memories for me to relate, and far too many boxes piled up with issues dating back to the early 1990s that I love to go through every so often. I’m pretty sure the first issue I got that started my long string of subscribing was #51 from October 1993, but I was able to go back and pick up another great issue from even further back at some type of yard sale around that year or so… issue #29 from December 1991.

Just like a lot of the guys ‘n gals that worked there up until today, I basically grew up on EGM. But now it’s essentially over. Sure, everyone is going to move on to new things and I’ll have absolutely no problem following along with them and their wacky adventures (just like when ZDTV/TechTV dissolved), but that special spark is going to be gone.

I actually found myself overdone with EGM around 2002. I was certainly still into games, but I guess the internet just really killed off any interest I still had in subscribing to and purchasing magazines (and I had quite a few over the years… EGM, GamePro, Nintendo Power, Sega Visions, Ultra Game Players, GameFan, etc.). Some time around 2006, though, after getting interested in doing podcasts on my own in the year prior, I rediscovered what had become 1UP. EGM was a part of it, but it was something much bigger.

Quite honestly, it was the podcasts (namely 1UP Yours and The 1UP Show, but also Retronauts and EGM Live / 1UP FM) and video shows that brought me over to 1UP, and even back to EGM. Many of the faces I knew were gone, but some still remained around in some capacity. When John moved over to What They Play, he still stuck around to do 1UP Yours and a column in the magazine. “Shoe” (not to mention Crispin Boyer) stuck around for quite some time, and a little part of my childhood died when they decided to leave 1UP/EGM in 2007 (even with the start of Sore Thumbs, it wasn’t the same).  All the “newbies” that had no name recognition for me became part of the group (and some of them had been around for plenty of years, without me actually knowing)… Shane Bettenhausen, Garnett Lee, Jeremy Parish, and then the true new-blood (“the kids table”) like Nick Suttner, Phil Kohler, David Ellis, Matt Chandronait, Ryan O’Donnell

I never got into the PC side of things too heavily, so I never listened to GFW Radio, but the guys like Jeff Green and Shawn Elliot also became mainstays for my further readings and guest-appearance enjoyments.

I could just type out every single staff member from 1UP, because they all became “friends” to me the same way that I imagine a lot of my longtime website visitors and podcast listeners across all my sites and shows may see me, but to an even deeper level. This is just an in-my-free-time gig, but for them, this was their job. Through text, audio, and video, we got glimpses into their worlds, their thoughts, their experiences, and everything in between.

This group as a whole is essentially gone, and while they’re all amazing guys ‘n gals that will have no problem landing on their feet (those let go, anyway), it still bites the big one. Seeing it coming for the last month (via Gamasutra) didn’t help matters at all. Sure, Destructoid had a halfway-interesting take on the financial figures which rings true in today’s world, but when you have someone like me that only came back to 1UP and EGM (as a paying subscriber, no less!) because of the podcasts… well, the math isn’t that simple, is it, corporate America?

I already got a text from Bryce earlier today lamenting the loss. I’ll be picking up an additional January issue of EGM to frame up for the wall (yes, Mielke said there will be one last issue to come out, but it sounds like it will be digital-only). Those that I didn’t already have followed on Twitter are all set up so I can follow along with “my buds” in the future.

How about you all? What are you feeling?

8 Comments

  1. …..I feel like I just got punched in the stomach. I had seen something in passing about 1Up being bought but I didn’t bother to read into it. Then I make my visit here and read this right after seeing if 1Up FM or Retronauts had updated yet for the week (and I’m not even kidding when I say it was pretty much immediately after, maybe one or two quick stops in between) 🙁 .

    I don’t even know what to say (had a whole other paragraph typed up but it just wasn’t coming out right). All I can say is that’s upwards of almost (depending on the week) six hours of enjoyment gone from my week. That’s a lot when it’s six hours of stuff you got excited about when you knew the day had come for a new episode.

    Man am I gonna miss hearing/seeing all those guys and gals (all two of ’em) together every week.

    Happy New Year indeed :/
    It’s already official, 2009 blows.

  2. I feel like a member of my family died. Seriously. So many odd feelings about this whole situation are coming to me right now. In all honesty, however, I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. The strangest thing, though, is how over the last few months I’ve rediscovered EGM. It wasn’t the same as I had remembered it, but it still had a certain appeal.

    Mike, you’re pretty damn lucky to still have your back-issues of EGM; I was foolish enough to throw mine out about 8 years ago. And speaking of podcasts pertaining to EGM alumni, might I point you (and anyone else out there) in the direction of the Player One Podcast, hosted by Chris Johnston. http://www.playeronepodcast.com

  3. This really does suck cause it was the podcasts I got to know these guys. While I am happy that Jeremy said the retronauts podcast will continue with scott sharky and Shane will be making guest appearances, it will still suck to not have 1up FM, 1up Yours, and LAN party. Hell I even listened to Legendary thread even though I don’t care about WoW just to hear the people I like. I can’t say I am a long time fan, but since I started work I have listened to much of the back log of podcasts. I think the worst part is no good bye podcast. I remember how much fun it was to have giant bomb and 1up yours together for last shows of 2008 and be like, “see you in 09.” and have it never come. I am sure these talented guys will find work other places.

    I do hope something better might come from this. Of course the whole GameSpot Jeff Gerstmann fiasco did ultimately lead to the creation of giant bomb and the brilliant bombcast, so I hope these former 1up guys will be able to find a new creative outlet that will allow them to continue to do what they love.

    I thought losing Jeff Green then Shawn Elliot was bad, but this is just a disaster. Reading the list on Joystiq of those leaving was pretty heart breaking as I loved to listen and to read so many of them.

    The funny thing I never felt angry just sad.

  4. I agree with whats been written. While this is not a serious death or loss of a loved one, somehow it feels close to me. I’ve subscribed to the 1up Podcasts for a long time now. I feel robbed knowing that I’m not going to get anymore content. Oh well. Best of luck to the talented folks of 1up as they bounce back.

  5. Even though I am not a big listener of 1up and the other podcasts, this is really unfortunate news. It truly is sad to hear that a group of video game editiors are being let go, especially since they had a huge following. I guess I can kind of relate after Gamespot(or CNET if you will) let go of Jeff Gerstmann.
    However, all I can say is that when one door closes, another one opens. Hopefully, something good will come of this and we’ll all be able to move on
    (i.e. Jeff, Ryan, Brad, and Vinnie formed Giant Bomb).

  6. It so weird listening to all my other podcasts and hearing them talk about it. It is very odd also hearing it from the UGO side of lay offs. I am a big fan of the CAGcast and the Co-host Wombat was a free lancer for UGO and well they are doing away with free lancers for the time being. Granted it was not Wombat’s actual job and main source of income, so it not nearly as bad as the 1up lay offs, but it is interesting to hear the effects on my other non-1up podcasts.

  7. EGM was pretty much a part of my youth. When I was older and I would see it in on the rack. it would remind me of the times when I was in High school and how just having that magazine would make me the kid everyone wanted to sit with at lunch.

    Maybe if we had just one more issue. An issue where they knew it would be there last, so that they could say goodbye and share some stories. Maybe then it wouldn’t be such a stabbing horrible goodbye. It’s almost like talking to a friend you knew since you were a child, he stops talking in the middle of the conversation and walks away.

  8. A bunch of the released 1Up crew have started up a website called Eat-Sleep-Game (www.eat-sleep-game.com) I guess as a way to keep everyone up to speed with what their up to, or maybe it’s going to be something else entirely, I’m not sure yet.
    Anyway, it also features their new podcast “Rebel FM”. It’s definitly got a 1Up FM feel to it (they even said they’ll start up “Back Log” sometime soon, Woo-HOO!!) wich isn’t a bad thing.
    *I’m sure everyone who cares about the content of this post is already aware of this, but I figured I’d post it just in case*

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