The year was roughly 1997. Maybe not. I’m horrible with years. Let’s just say it was awhile ago. I was browsing magazines. I had recently been getting into PC gaming for the first time, having been ardently against it for many years previous (getting a sweet rig for Christmas can change one’s tune fast). I was interested in picking up a magazine to go along with my hobby. Or maybe it was just my interest in Command & Conquer that let Computer Gaming World catch my eye on the newsstand. It only took that issue to subscribe.
I would go on to read in full every CGW that came my way. I even maintained the subscription during a period when I was playing almost nothing but WoW and had canceled all of my magazine subscriptions – OPM (I didn’t know they were related then) and Nintendo Power.
Then one day I was reading along in GFW and said, “Hey, you know, that podcast could be interesting. I wonder what that Jeff Green sounds like.” (Jeff Green had been the one mainstay for my long, long CGW run.) So I downloaded the latest podcast, popped it on the pod, and listened as GFW’s world crashed down around them. Yes, my first GFW Radio was the day they learned the magazine was going out.
But, so began my whirlwind tour of the 1UP Network podcasts. Over the past 9 or so months, I’ve grown to love each and every member of the 1UP network. I even began to love the 1UP Show, which I had previously found silly. I soon realized that the void GFW left in my life was more than filled by the little gaming website they had been attached to for a few years. (Believe it or not, I actually preferred my gaming news in print and always will.) I even remember thinking, but a few weeks ago, that even if things got bad… If I couldn’t find a job after graduation, if I wasn’t able to play as many games, that hey, at least I’d always have the 1UP podcasts.
It’s easy to explain what 1UP meant to me. I am not going to lie. Basically overnight, and in no small part due to listening to people like Shawn Elliot and Jeff Green, 1UP transformed me from an aimless college student into someone with a passionate desire to unite my lifelong hobbies of reading and writing with video games. The idea never even struck me as fulfilling, much less possible, until my year of 1UP (2008). For that reason alone, the loss of it now is a blow too deep to comprehend. 1UP wasn’t just my inspiration, it was my lifeblood. And I would be willing to bet large sums of money that I don’t have that I am not the only one.
Maybe it was the down-to-earth podcasts. Maybe it was the occasional forum appearances. Maybe it was just the insightful discussions. Whatever the reason, people who read 1UP became a part of 1UP.
So while it’s easy to explain what it meant, it’s harder to explain how it feels to lose it right now.
The loss of GFW (and eventually Green and Elliot) was like losing an old friend. The loss of 1UP (or at least a good portion of it) is like losing the entire family of that old friend, all of whom I had befriended in my grief and grown closer to in the interim.
I suspect most ex-1UPers will read blogs like this and feel touched. I expect many of their fans don’t understand what it’s like to be split up the way 1UP is being split up. But I also expect that most ex-1UPers won’t understand how much their work really meant to some of us, not just as hopeful writers, but as gamers.
Not to mention I woke up this morning with the 1UP Show theme song stuck in my head.
To all those who are leaving 1UP now, and all those who must stay behind, I salute you. An era has now ended, but we will remember it for years to come. And we will be watching to see what happens next.
Hopefully with less 1UP Show theme stuck in our heads. If that shit keeps up, I’m liable to cry.