After hearing the semi-painful news that Ziff Davis sold off 1UP.com to UGO and fired 30 people as a result, I felt kinda bummed. Not really saddened, I had grown accustomed to staff departures from game sites I loved. It was a way for me to think, "Hey, I could now get into this business." Sadly, after hearing this news and all the issues gaming editorial sites have (GameSpot recently fired a few of its staff members due to the economy, one of which had been with the site for a good 8 or so years), I decided not to pursue that career fully. Seems too flash-in-the-pan and already is a crowded market.
But anyway. People are grieving more towards Electronic Gaming Monthly's unexpected demise, but I cannot share those same feelings. The only issues of EGM I owned were from 2006-07, back when they thought it was cool to insult their audience. My friend Ryan (BlazeHedgehog) summed this up a few years back
, and it applied to the T back when Dan "Shoe" Hsu was Editor-in-Chief. I heard that was toned down considerably when James "Milkman" Mielke became EIC, but I got sick of EGM after the February 2007 issue that I didn't even bother coming back. I know that I'm gonna stop by a nearby store and snag the unofficial "final issue" and see what I missed out on.
I associated more with the podcasts that 1UP.com had. I remember two years ago when I was a frequent listener to 1UP Yours. Back when it had the simple crew of Garnett Lee, Shane Bettenhausen, John Davison, and Luke Smith. Then Luke left to work at Bungie, and Mark MacDonald replaced him. Then HE left, and then the fourth chair was pretty much a revolving door of various 1UP editors like Shawn Elliott and Nick Suttner.
I also used to listen to GFW Radio, the podcast for the since-defunct magazine. As opposed to the somewhat bitter, near immature nature of 1UP Yours (which I liked, mind you), GFW Radio was more matured and yet, at the same time could be just as immature as its sister show. I didn't listen as often since I wasn't a PC games guy much anymore, but I still enjoyed it. It was interesting hearing Jeff Green and Darren Gladstone have interesting conversations with Sean Molloy and Shawn Elliott interjecting now and then, with an occasional peep (or 10 minute monologue) from Ryan Scott. Shawn ended up becoming my favorite games writer outside of the former GameSpot crew. On one podcast, he could be waxing philosophical about review scores, game design decisions, and other things. While later in that same podcast he could pretend to be "Whiskey Nerd" and talk about silly forum posts about marrying Sonic characters at some Sonic fan message board. It's a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation, except you loved the Hyde side as much as the Jekyll side. Now that he works at 2K Boston, I say if Shawn doesn't become prominent in the industry within five years, I'll be floored.
Sadly I never got into 1UP FM (or its predecessor EGM Live) or Retronauts. Retronauts put me off after their almost Japan-centric nature on some of their video episodes. As well as their unjust hatred for Donkey Kong Country. I don't care what you say, the second DKC was the best frigging game on the SNES, and one of the best 2D platformers I've played.
After hearing that one of the few staffers that successfully made the transition, Garnett Lee, wishes to continue "1UP Yours" despite Bettenhausen's departure and Andrew "Skip" Pfister's layoff, I feel a little hollow inside. If you wish to resume the podcast thing, sure, but don't call it "1UP Yours." You'll get too many unfavorable comparisons to the Yours of old. It's like listening to GameSpot's podcast "The HotSpot." Listen to a recent podcast, then go back and listen to one from 2006 or so when you still had Rich Gallup, Jeff Gerstmann, Alex Navarro and others on. It's so drastically different it's not funny. And you fired virtually everybody from GameVideos, pretty much canceling The 1UP Show. Again, making a new "1UP Show" will not at all have the same impact. Everybody that made that show great was given pink slips. You can't just hire a bunch of guys and try to remake the same magic, it's like replacing virtually all the cast of a TV show after you changed networks or something.
And I put the blame originally on UGO, thinking this was their doing, but after reading the NeoGAF thread about the transition
(NOTE: 60+ page thread, either skip to the last ten pages or whip up a bowl of popcorn and endure the whole thing) that Ziff-Davis pretty much orchestrated the firings, the cancellation of EGM, among other things. That shows that ZD are real a****les for doing that.
I hope all the people who got laid off find new jobs soon. Even if it has to be them pulling a Giant Bomb and making a small site staffed by former 1UP and EGM staffers, I'd visit it.
To put a spin on something Garnett used to say: Weekend destroyed. And they are ghost.