Although I can’t recall if I read Electronic Gaming Monthly from its inception, the magazine launched when I was ten years old- right when my reading and gaming skills were being honed. I do remember as a youngster, placing the magazine before me on the floor, and laying down transfixed in its pages. Every story, review, and even advertisement was carefully scrutinized in preparation for a future discussion among my classmates. In this pre-internet era, I was mesmerized by the previews and screenshots of upcoming games. I would reread the publication methodically, until the bottom edges of the magazine were left dog-eared and inkless.
Periodically, I’d receive a yearly subscription of EGM from a relative savvy enough to know I had no interest in Mad, Cracked, or Ranger Rick. When issues arrived in less than pristine condition, often with ruffled corners, or tears that obscured screenshots, I’d be coolly incensed. Later, other magazines caught my fancy: NextGen with its first-rate page stock, or Die Hard Gamefan with its screenshot heavy layout. As each of those diversions moved to the internet, I returned to EGM. For the past four years or so, the periodical experienced a renaissance; it was one of the last bastions of true game journalism.
For the past few years, I was also a regular listener to the 1up podcasts, from 1Up Yours, Retronauts, and 1Up FM. Each of these show’s had a wonderfully dynamic cast who were genuine gamers; they brought a level of authenticism and professionalism that was exclusive to the industry. While attending E3 for the past few years I had a change to meet some these personalities. I found each of them to be amazingly friendly and delightfully knowledgeable. From discussing the merits of Bionic Commando with Jeremy Parish, sharing a bit of post-Microsoft disappointment with Garnett Lee, or meeting a young Nick Suttner at a Cheapassgamer meetup, each of these meeting was amazingly memorable. I’m sure the 1Up offices fostered an amazing synergistic quality that the industry may not see again.
I suppose Ziff-Davis’ sale to UGO was inevitable. Producing a steady output of podcasts, videos, and magazines with some of the top people in the industry couldn’t have been inexpensive. Being able to hold onto brilliant minds like Shawn Elliot and Jeff Green was probably difficult when greener pastures (hill zones?) beckon. Still, I’d like to think in a better world, a company like Ziff-Davis could survive, if not thrive.
My advice to all of the displaced 1Up staff is to follow the advice dispensed by countless arcade coin-ops. When your accomplishments have been temporarily interrupted, listen to the machines, and heed its advice to ‘please continue’. Although fate has separated this group of remarkable individuals, I take solace in imagining each member of EGM and 1Up elevating the level of journalism in all their future outlets.