I cannot even begin to fathom the twisted thought process that would lead to a company believing that it was a sound investment to purchase a company and then immediately dump every single valuable asset it contained. It is a truly pristine example of the proverbial flushing of money down the toilet.
A catastrophic misjudgment? A nefarious alternate motive? Idiotic corporate politics as usual? A sad inevitability that is a product of our rapidly changing times?
Ultimately it matters not. One of the last bastions of print gaming journalism at its best is no more.
The question of why I even have any sort of emotional connection to such a fossilized medium as a print-based magazine that covers a subject as modern and constantly shifting as video games is certainly a valid one.
Electronic Gaming Monthly was the first gaming publication I ever subscribed to. I have been a loyal subscriber since issue 95. Yet there is more than loyalty at play here.
EGM marked the beginning of an era for me. It was the first place I turned to when I decided that this video game thing was something I wanted to stick with. The cheesy graphics work and decidedly less sophisticated writing of those early issues of mine mark a distinct turning point in my gaming career.
I’ve been following the magazine ever since and have read just about every issue. I was chastising myself recently for being behind a couple of issues, but now I’m glad my busy schedule got in my way. Now I can read every word of these last precious few issues and cherish these remaining memories with a group of writers I hold dear to my heart in a publication I’ve been reading for damn near as long as I’ve considered video games an actual hobby.
EGM also signifies something greater, grander, and more important than my own memories. In its dying days it struggled to be more than your average gaming magazine. Sure there were reviews and previews and coverage of major releases, but there was more than that. It dialed down the focus on the inevitably outdated sections such as news and instead focused on content of the likes that I’ve yet to find an equal for on this much-hyped “Internet” thingamajig.
The Internet has brought great things to gaming coverage and there can be no doubt that it has thoroughly outclassed the poor magazine in many areas. But one thing it has seemingly yet to match is the dedication, passion, and depth I have found recently in the pages of the newest EGMs. The terrific exclusive interviews, the in-depth feature articles, magazines thematically devoted to entire issues, special features and sections that the highly categorized and news-focused web sites just don’t have the time or space for, are all things I am going to miss dearly.
EGM was spearheading a new, tougher direction for gaming journalism that I was proud to be a supporter of through my readership and subscription. Their writing didn’t feel like glorified PR, a fate an alarming number of other publications have fallen victim to. They weren’t afraid to ask tough questions, even if their inboxes were flooded with fanboy rage soon after. They were trying to do something different with their publication that everyone else seemed to afraid to do. Their writers were not just fans of games who gushed or raged about them in their articles. They were more than that. They were journalists. They sought the truth above all else, even in this seemingly frivolous medium. That’s something sadly rare in the all too infantile realm of gaming coverage.
So, perhaps more than anything else, the loss of EGM and catastrophic downsizing of 1UP means a significant setback for those who think about games more seriously; for those who want to place their gaming hobby on a pedestal of equal level with those long established dais of movies, music, and literature. I may be a writing student who has largely shunned his required journalism courses as fairly unnecessary to his own perceived destiny, but they had enough of an impact on me to give me a great respect for the art of reporting and what it could do for my revered hobby of video games.
Seeing that fresh copy of EGM arrive in the mailbox is an experience I’m going to miss dearly. It’s one of those simple pleasures in life that you can’t explain to anyone else, but that brings you great joy anyway. The pain is especially severe because it’s a feeling, albeit an admittedly small one, that I don’t expect to be able to feel again in my lifetime. It’s obvious enough that magazines are a dying breed and I genuinely doubt I’m going to hold any publication as dear to me as one that I read and cherished for so long. I loved that magazine damn it, weird as it may seem to anyone else, and I make no apologies for my heartbreak over its loss.
To all the writers of 1UP: I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Although I know it realistically won’t be possible, I will try my best to keep track of as many of you as possible. Your writing is what made your publications such an important part of my life and those of you that continue writing elsewhere I hope to follow to wherever else you may roam. I hope you do your best to carry on EGM’s mission of making gaming journalism something to be respected, rather than slobbered over by fanboys and completely ignored by everyone else.
To UGO, and anyone else involved in the business dealings that led to this sad day: I cannot empathize with your incomprehensible actions. I cannot understand how you thought this would be a good move. But I also cannot truly be angry. Business is business and the world must move on. Maybe it was just destined to happen sooner or later. Regardless, throwing venom in your general direction wouldn’t do anyone any good and wouldn’t lessen the pain or emptiness caused by the void of displaced talent you have left in your wake.
I simply wish that, whatever you choose to do with your acquired properties, you do them justice. Either let them die a dignified death, or carry them to new heights. Just don’t let them languish in a painful limbo. They deserve better than that. Either way, I won’t be a reader of the future 1UP, nor will most others who were formerly in your camp I would imagine. What could you have dreamed would possibly be the result of this? After all, you’ve brutally slain what once made the brand so great. 1UP and EGM were the terrific institutions that they were in virtue of their writers and wonderful staff. Having now dismissed most of those valuable assets, there is little left to truly care about.
Goodbye Electronic Gaming Monthly. You will forever hold a place on my shelves and in my heart.