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Score one for print: 1Up Presents

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I don’t know about any of you, but I’m a print magazine fiend. Don’t get me wrong, I live and breath in the online world, it’s the only way I’ll ever get my news, and it’s frankly where I read the majority of my gaming content. But there is something special about a really GOOD game magazine – the exhaustively researched features, the gorgeous layouts, the art itself – I’m a big fan.

So, I got excited when I heard the news that the folks I consider to be the very best of 1Up.com will begin releasing a print publication. Dubbed 1Up Presents, it looks to be the pretty, feature-rich, thoughtful sort of publication I can’t wait to get my grubby hands all over, particularly because a number of features in the first issue focus on Metroid: Other M and its complicated reception.

From the post:

“See, print isn’t dying; it’s simply changing. 1UP Presents isn’t a nationally distributed publication, and you won’t find it on newsracks across America. Instead, it’s a print-on-demand magazine, published for and shipped directly to you by Hewlett-Packard’s MagCloud service… There are no ads in this book, so it’s pure content from start to finish. 1UP Presents isn’t trying to be a chronicle of gaming news, either; you aren’t paying for month-old headlines, previews that will be moot in a few months, or reviews of games that you may have played already by the time you read the book.”

Just look at that cover, with it’s Hitchcock references and stark, distinctive art style. Don’t you think it’s worth a few bucks (the issue will set you back $11)? Jeremy Parish and his cadre are among the best in the business, so I’ll definitely be ordering up a dish of 1Up presents.

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Danielle Riendeau

What I do for work: spend my days as the ACLU design/code/video ninja, write about games, make (tiny) games, teach digital media at Northeastern University. What I do for fun: all of the above, plus lots of running, fitness fun, filmmaking, outdoor exploration, world travel, sci-fi everything.

17 thoughts to “Score one for print: 1Up Presents”

  1. Heh, nice Saul Bass reference there, definitely. That’s the kind of thing that looks much better in print than online.

    Maybe we should do a No High Scores print edition with a revealing Bill Abner pictorial and some advice about how to set up your hi-fi stereo system.

  2. Eh, personally I have zero use for print magazines these days. I want the news, reviews, and maybe screenshots, and you can get those bigger, better and faster online. I don’t begrudge people who love their print mags though, and if there’s enough of an audience for this to be successful, then go for it. I am interested in the Other M discussion, however, if only to see whether they have anything new to add to the discussion or if it’s just a rehash of everything that’s been said. Now I’m a big Metroid fan and I buy all my games new if I can and basically never sell them. I’d rather donate them to someone who will play them than give them to Gamestop, personally. However, after I finished Other M, I brought it straight in for trade just to spite Nintendo, and I made sure I told them exactly why I was trading it in, because the guy behind the counter was asking me how the game was, being a Metroid fan himself. That should tell you which side of the debate I fall on.

  3. Print is such a different entity though. Designing layout and collateral for print is very different than designing for the Web, and I suspect that this magazine is an exercise in print design as much as it is an journalistic effort. That cover image, for example, likely has a lot more impact on the printed page. There’s a lot of variables- size of paper, its finish, ink used, and so forth that simply don’t translate to the Web. Some things simply need a physical medium.

    So yeah, it is easy to dismiss as a news source but I think there’s another, more aesthetically oriented goal here as well.

    FWIW, I may skim over any number of articles or headlines on the Web…but I read every word of the free Game Informer print magazine I get in the mail.

    As for Other M…what a disaster. One of the most awkward and ill-conceived games in recent memory. Team Ninja just totally didn’t get it, and someone at Nintendo really should have said “hey guys…not so much like this”. It was fun, though, seeing some of the critics tripping over themselves trying to find something nice to say about it.

  4. Another print versus Web point…in a print magazine, there are no comments. So you spend time reading the _article_ and forming an opinion about it than you do reading comment posts. So it requires that the article be more authoritative, professional, and well-written moreso than an online piece might be. I think that’s something that’s been lost in the move to online publishing…really, how much do people read articles versus comments these days and what’s the point of editorial material if ANYONE can write about whatever they want and find and audience? Hypothetical question, but it’s one that points out some key reasons that print can still be relevant.

  5. Just as long as the pictorial isn’t called “Bill Abner takes us out to the ball game”.

  6. I completely understand why the price point is set that high — MagCloud carries a pretty hefty fee for on-demand printing and the print quality is extremely good from what I’ve heard — but it’s a bit harder for me to rationalize that price point against the amount of content that’s being delivered here. $11 for 38 pages is an incredibly hard sell, especially when some of those pages carry little or no text at all. The fact that Parish has already announced that they’re eventually publishing all of the content online at 1UP for free makes it even worse.

    In the end, I think I end up wanting (but ultimately declining) to support content like this because I’m not as much of a print enthusiast as I am a fan of quality writing in general. I appreciate and encourage entities like Kill Screen and Scroll Magazine (Ray Barnholt’s midzine) that attempt to deliver a higher standard of content, primarily because they raise the bar for games writing across the board, but the gorgeous layouts and high-quality print stock — the components of the package that are specific to print — just don’t entice me enough to inspire an actual purchase.

  7. I’ve been pretty opinionated about the shift 1up suffered after UGO purchased the site. This sort of thing makes me want to rethink writing them off. At the same time, I don’t have time to read in depth about games news. I recently subscribed to Kill Screen, a quarterly mag exploring all sorts of new approaches to stories and features. It’s great. It’s amazing. I’ve had this issue for almost two months and I still have a hundred and fifty pages to go. Real life has turned me into a whore for headlines. They allow me to stay on top gaming news without the commitment of reading a feature. I may have over-saturated myself with game news and what-not, but even with the best writing I find myself more and more disinterested with the meat of a well developed piece of writing by the proxy of having more responsibility in my life. In the end I’m spending that spare time gaming.

  8. That’s certainly one of the biggest actual changes in style from print vs. online — you’re always writing “for” and audience, but oftentimes on here – since we have an awesome community – I feel almost as if I’m writing “with” an audience. I suppose that makes the “audience” an anachronism too, by default.

  9. Well, it’s part of the ongoing democratization of writing and journalism as it shifts away from print media. There are definite benefits, but there is also that whole “cult of the amateur” thing, which is why we don’t have in either the video games or tabletop games field anything approaching the kind of serious, authoritative criticism that earlier mediums have enjoyed- because most widely-read writing about them has occured in the internet age. Even our best and brightest don’t reach the stature of a Pauline Kael or a Greil Marcus.

    So yes, the Peanut Gallery is now involved in the creation of content and many times are likely more read than the articles generating discussion. Which is strange, and rather unfortunate IMO.

    I like the participatory element, don’t get me wrong…but I do miss reading an article and being left to my own devices to suss it out without the “noise” of others.

  10. Was Metroid M really that despicable? Sorry, I’ve never played it. I’ve heard it was… well… not good. Then I read reviews and comments on it and it’s like digital hell spawn. Yikes…

    This particular print idea is interesting. I do think they are marketing this as more of a collectible for the die hard 1Up fans… or the die hard Retronaught / Parish fans. I think there is something to be said for a printed game magazine. I do thoroughly enjoy my free subscription to Game Informer. But if I had to pay for it, I just don’t know that I would care enough about it to continue. This 1Up product, to me, seems to be coming off a little high for it’s own horse. Ultimately I don’t think it will succeed in a world of overwhelmingly free content (digital and print). It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

  11. With a few exceptions, Jeremy Parish most notably, I think 1Up is basically an empty vessel at this point. There are probably only half a dozen freelancers in the video game industry doing any work of note and four of them already write for Killscreen. 1Up, if their recent feature work on the website is any indication, doesn’t have any aces up its sleeve in this regard. Parish still turns out a thought provoking and well researched piece on a JRPG from time to time, but otherwise I’ve been pretty consistently underwhelmed in the post Ziff years.

    Even the original pre-UGO stable of 1Up writers was nothing to get too excited about. Best case scenario for 1Up Presents: they manage to get Shawn Elliot to come out of retirement, a Tom Chick piece, a Luke Smith feature on why Halo Reach is better than Call of Duty, and a requisite Leigh Alexander/Heather Chaplin/Jane Picknard Grrrl Gamer piece.

    The more likely case: Chris Kohler talks about the magicgirldensetsu game you never played and James Mielke writes a profile about how Yoshitaka Amano is awesome or something.

  12. Just FYI, Barnes, Team Ninja is not to blame for the worst of Other M’s failures. They only did the animation and combat. That’s it. Sakamoto wrote the story and directed the game – if you’re going to point fingers about how bad the game is, point most of them at him. And while the Team Ninja designed combat isn’t very good, that’s also Sakamoto’s fault, to an extent. Team Ninja wanted to use the nunchuk; Sakamoto adamantly refused to let them, insisting that only the Wiimote on its side should be used. Other M probably would have been better if Team Ninja had MORE control. The gameplay would have benefited, anyway.

  13. 1up is not what it once was. In fact, I believe it still exists on name alone. I wish them the best of luck with this venture. Print is a dying breed, but it seems we keep getting more and more indie-type publications and I like that as it generally means higher quality over quantity.

  14. Ah, a fine distinction but one well worth making- thanks for pointing that out. It really doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, the game just blows. You might be right though, if there were either more direct control over the project’s direction by Team Ninja or if Sakamoto was on the same page with them then some of the awkwardness might have not occured in the first place.

  15. Ah, a fine distinction but one well worth making- thanks for pointing that out. It really doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, the game just blows. You might be right though, if there were either more direct control over the project’s direction by Team Ninja or if Sakamoto was on the same page with them then some of the awkwardness might have not occured in the first place.

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