Archive for January 6, 2009

EGM Magazine To Close Its Doors

Today it was officially announced that Ziff-Davis has sold their 1up division and will soon be discontinuing long-time games magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly.

“The sale includes,,, and, and specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In association with this, Ziff Davis Media’s EGM Magazine, a consumer game print mainstay since 1989, will be discontinued. The January 2009 issue will be the final printed issue.”

Read the rest of the story here and at 1up here.

Wow.  That makes me sad.  It’s no secret ath Ziff-Davis has been in some financial trouble, and the closing of Games for Windows Magazine (GFW for short, and formerly Computer Gaming World) was supposed to alleviate some fo these issues.  UGO Entertainment will acquire the related sites, so there is still hope that many (and maybe all) 1up staff will stay onboard.  This also bodes well for fans of EGM, myself included.  Many of the magazine’s staff members are also major contributors to 1up.

**UPDATE** It is now confirmed that more than 30 of the staff at 1up and virtually all of the EGM staff have been laid off. That’s roughly 70% or so of the entire 1up Network staff.  The iconic 1up Show, GFW Radio, Legendary Thread, and other audio podcasts have been shut down.  Garnett Lee, host of 1up Yours, has confirmed that an audio podcast will continue in some fashion.

However, this marks the end of an era.  EGM was around back when video games still ‘weren’t cool’.  I myself didn’t get seriously into video games until around 1994, during the heyday of the 16-bit era.  My first issue of the mag was back in February of 1998, and I’ve been a loyal reader ever since, even buying the extra holiday issues every year.

Here’s to you, Electronic Gaming Monthly.  Thanks for 20 years of excellent industry insight and quality journalism.  And LONG LIVE SUSHI-X!

Those familiar with 1up and their podcasts will appreciate this:

January 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Messing with ‘Home’: Social Experiment, or Us Being Jerks? Part 3

“Anyone want to cum over?”

That’s the first thing we have our plucky virtual heroine, Justine, say when we get back into the the Plaza.  And it does the trick.  In a matter of seconds we have three guys running up to us.  We figure it would still be easier to pull this off if it were a one-on-one conversation, so Bobby picks one of the guys from the small crowd: a fairly tall, mohawk-sporting guy.  We’ll call this one Target2.

In no time, we have him back at Justine’s apartment, in the same situation as before.  Justine’s outside sitting on the couch, and Target2 is next to us.  A conversation starts.  Pretty routine so far.  Then we get to locations.  “Where do you live?”  he asks.  “Northern Virginia,” we reply.  Then he drops a bit of a bombshell on us: he tells us he lives in a certain city in Southeast Virginia.  The same exact city we were currently in.  I look at everyone in the room; we’re all a little stunned. No.  Freaking.  Way.

After Target2 learns we live in the same state, he tries to make things a bit more personal.  He asks if we have a mic attached to the system so we can converse directly.  We tell him we do, but Justine’s mean brother won’t show her how to use it.  Then we go off into the whole thing with having a mean, almost abusive, older brother.  Target2 tells us that he’d like to help, if only he were closer.  OK, getting a little weird.  Anyway, he puts his mic on and starts talking to us, while we reply with text.  And his voice sounded a bit…odd.  His voice had a slight rasp to it, and occasionally is sounded like he was breathing into the microphone.  This could’ve been some distortion and connection issues, but Target2 definitely sounded like one of those ‘mouth-breather’ types.

So we continue the conversation:

JUSTINE: What’d you do for New Year’s?

TARGET2: Just chilled with some friends.  It was awesome.  We drank and stayed up past 9.  It was awesome.

JUSTINE: Past 9?

TARGET2: Yeah, it was pretty awesome.

OK, the 9 o’clock thing had us thinking.  By average standards, 9 o’clock isn’t anywhere near late for most teens or people in their 20’s.  Target2 had mentioned he was around 19 or so.  We immediately start wondering if this guy is messing with us.  What if, on the other side of that raspy, mouth-breathing voice are five other dudes, bored on that particular evening, and also messing with people on Home?  Hmm…

Then Lady Luck strikes in the form of Bobby’s girlfriend, who had arrived from work.  Bobby quickly devises a new plan: use his real girlfriend’s voice as Justine’s voice, then have Sean jump in and start talking shit as Justine’s abusive older brother.  It sounds just stupid enough to work.

We tell Target2 that we’re trying to get the mic to work.   After some fiddling with the cords, Bobby finally gets hands his mic to his girlfriend; let’s call her Carol.  She says, “Hello?” into the mic and we wait for his response.  There was none.  So we type in “Can you hear me?”  and he replies that he can’t.  So Bobby fiddles some more with the mic connection, and even goes into the system settings to make sure the mic is working.

While he’s doing this, Carol is berating us for being jerks and assholes.  And you know what?  I almost agreed with her.  We were trying to explain to her what happened with the other guy, the one that pretty much fell in love with our virtual Justine.  We told her that we felt so bad for the guy that we couldn’t bring ourselves to mess with him anymore.  “So why are you messing with this guy?”  It’s complicated.  Yes, you could say we’re jerks for purposely trying to get a guy’s hopes up, only to shoot them down once they realize that they are actually talking to a bunch of dudes.  What we tried to explain to Carol was our need to do a social good.  There are people that take this virtual world stuff way to seriously, and they need a wake up call.  This was it.

I assume it was a sense of curiosity that allowed Carol to participate in our little ‘game’, if only for a few minutes.  However, the coming minutes would prove to be some of the strangest yet, in this experiment that is now clocking in at the 3 1/2 hour mark.

Carol tries again to actually speak with Target2, and again to no avail.

JUSTINE: Can you hear me?


(Bobby unplugs, then re-plugs the mic)

JUSTINE: How about now?


That last time startled us, not because he yelled or anything, but quite the opposite.  Hi ‘No’ had a hint of desperation to it, as if he truly wanted to hear Justine’s voice, and was being denied.  That freaked us out a bit.  Carol commented that this was getting a little weird and the guy’s raspy voice was starting to get to her.  “He’s probably going to jack off to my voice or something!” she told us.  “Yeah, we know,” replied her boyfriend.

Finally, on the last attempt, the mic started to work.  And Target2 was happy.  Very happy.  He was basically talking non-stop.  We had Carol ask him about where he lives, in an attempt to discern whether or not Target2 really lived where he said he did.  He named some schools that he said was near him, and automatically we could smell the bullshit.  None of the schools he mentioned where schools nearby, or even within the city.  He’s screwing with us! Then, he mentions a high school that we all knew to be a real high school.  OK, we’ll give him that one, but he could’ve been looking up schools and just listing them off to us.

Target2 then tried to schedule some kind of meet up.  “Maybe I can take you down to the beach sometime,” he tells us.  OK, now this is getting creepy.  It’s time to end this.  Justine excuses herself and goes into a corner of the apartment, out of view, and changes to the fat decidedly less-attractive male avatar.  And it didn’t work. Target2 just thought Justine was messing around.  He wanted to talk some more, so we had Sean get on the mic and just start talking shit to him as the older brother.  Still nothing.  And I wish we would’ve left it at that.

(the chase begins in the next post…)

January 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

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