I've been in this job since 2006. That's somehow become a long time ago, at least in internet years, but I can still remember the days before I worked here, when I put on a tie and sat on a train and went to work in an office every day just like most other people.
Because part of my job back then wasn't keeping tabs on every story published on as many video game websites as I could manage, I only visited a handful of outlets. This one, Gamasutra, the dearly-departed UK: Resistance and 1UP.
OK, maybe that's not entirely accurate. I didn't read 1UP stories on their site that often (though I often enjoyed it when I did, especially their features and interviews). But by God did I listen to their podcasts.
Those train rides into work would fly by listening to the crews on 1UP Yours and GFW Radio talk about video games, not like professional writers or socially-bankrupt nerds, but like... people. Normal, smart people, who were passionate about video games, and whose discussions were seriously some of my entertainment highlights of the week.
I won't go so far as to say any of them directly inspired me to go into this job—even though Luke Smith's departure from Kotaku to head to 1UP did free up some space I could settle into—but their laid-back coverage of games certainly helped shape the way I would grow to write about them over the years, less as some academic pursuit or industry product and more just something cool that I love and love to talk about, and share, with like-minded folks.
I think the site's focus on podcasts and video did have an impact, though, in that it created a set of personalities out of games writers like we'd never seen before, and regardless of whether you think that's a good or bad thing, you can't deny the influence it's had on paving the way for sites like Giant Bomb to follow their lead.
The decision to finally shut the site down is, I think, a good one. I mean no disrespect when I say this, as people like Sam Kennedy and Jeremy Parish have done a fantastic job at the helm under increasingly trying circumstances, but 1UP had become something of a relic these past few years, neglected by its owner to the point where its site design was as much a reminder of its halcyon days as its archives were. Its great personalities had long moved on, mostly into development roles. Its video site, once a rival for the likes of GameTrailers, had become all-but-forgotten. Now that it's finally been spared any further torment, the talented staff there will hopefully get the chance to write (or produce, or manage) for someone that actually cares about the great content they're capable of creating.
So to those who work, or used to work at 1UP, thanks. You played a big part in shaping the way video game discussion can be framed and shared amongst an audience, and for that you'll always be remembered fondly.
If you never had the chance to listen to 1UP Yours—or you did, and just want to catch up on some good times—Giant Bomb user ZanzibarBreeze has put together a great compilation, which you can listen to here.