Unseparating church and state

I don’t promote my 1UP writing here as often as I used to, mainly because I feel like it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that anyone who reads GameSpite already knows what my day job is (since these days more people seem to come here from 1UP rather than the other way ’round, as in the olden days). And I never mention this site on 1UP, just because I enjoy the freeform, non-corporate approach that having my own site allows and worry that if I draw too much attention to it the powers-that-be might decide that I’m no longer allowed to spend my free time on evenings and weekends doing something that vaguely bumps up against my day job. (Never mind that they exist in harmony rather than competition, and I practically never work on my personal projects during work hours; corporate decisions rarely involve common sense or the “spirit of the law” or other such humane considerations.)

That being said, I insist you spend more time reading 1UP’s editorial blogs, since, well, it’s pretty much anything-goes over there. In other words, I’m basically applying the same “screw what gets traffic and write something we find personally satisfying” philosophy there as I do here. In fact, the most recent thing I posted there — a new column that uses Blu-ray releases as an excuse to explore the connections between classic films and classic games — was originally designed as a GameSpite feature, but I decided to take a chance and post it as a Retronauts column despite the fact that it’s really too long to fit comfortably in the blog format. Ultimately, I decided it’s worth the format clash, because it’s a heavily-researched venture that offers a unique spin on a potentially tired topic. So why bury here when I could bury it in 1UP blogs instead?

Yeah. Not surprisingly, I get the impression — though I don’t have any hard numbers to confirm this — that the blogs are one of the less-trafficked sections of the site. Part of that, I think, is because kids hoping to see a Top Five Largest Breasts in Video Games list are sorely disappointed by people writing in depth about the nuances of RPGs and the history of old games that may never have made their way to the U.S. But another factor is that (for the time being) finding the blogs is a giant pain in the butt to begin with. That’ll change next month, but for now you kind of have to know they’re there before you can find them, which isn’t exactly the key to pulling in a casual browsing audience, ya know?

So let me remind you that they are, in fact, there. Currently I’m overseeing three myself, and we’ll be adding a new one in the next few days, too. We’d have several others already, actually, but the section’s budget reflects our current economic times… which is to say that the extant blogs are already crimped by financial limitations. Such is the world we live in.

  • Retronauts: It only took like four years, but my pet classic gaming venture (which actually began here) has finally found a loving home. In a perfect world it would be a magazine, but not even one of the world’s biggest and most successful print publishers wants anything to do with gaming magazines these days. I guess that’s what GameSpite is for….
  • The Grind: Our RPG blog, and the first editorial blog I’ve given over to someone else’s control. This is very difficult for me, you see, because I am a complete control freak. But I think it’s moving along quite nicely.
  • The Tilt: This was supposed to be an iPhone gaming review site, but I haven’t been very vigilant about keeping my personal obsessions in check, which is why it’s more like a mad expression of my more than two decades of love for Macs, with some iPhone commentary as well.

Anyway, if you read this site, you should be reading these blogs, too. Not only will you see some familiar names in action, but the simple fact is that in giving me this section to manage as I see fit, 1UP has basically given me free reign to warp a portion of the site to my own tastes. The blogs have basically become a full-time and topic-specific version of this site — for better or for worse.

I figure if you’re reading this, you probably won’t mind. So! Please to bookmark or add to your RSS feed or whatever. It would warm my tiny heart.

38 thoughts on “Unseparating church and state

  1. I read those on a daily basis. Does giving an article the “Thumbs Up” do anything for you?

  2. And in creating this blog space, you’ve given me what i’ve always wanted– a weekly platform to talk about tabletop gaming to my heart’s content.

  3. I’ve noticed that the blogs aren’t as easy to access as they should be. Glad that’s changing.

  4. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as Nadia. I had trouble finding them the first time as well. It would be nice to see the blogs get a little more promotion, since I do enjoy reading the Retronauts blog and The Grind, and I’d like to see more cross-linking between them and the main site. Especially since The Grind often talks about upcoming games, I’m surprised that the blogs aren’t linked in 1UP news stories more often…

  5. The problem with those blogs is that they’re not included in the RSS feed. The reason I initially subscribed to 1Up was because of the great things you used to advertise about Retronauts, followed by Retronauts actually being able to deliver. However, the RSS only gives me the main news. I hope what’s getting tweaked with will be RSS for other aspects of the site.

  6. The Retronauts blog and The Grind are both in my Favorites, just so I don’t have to waste precious cyber-seconds navigating to them from 1UP’s load-bearing front page. I’m into it!

  7. Yeah, I don’t even have 1up bookmarked anymore – instead, I have the Retronauts blog bookmarked, since I generally visit it twice a day. From there, it’s easy enough to navigate to The Grind, which is just as good.

    Sometimes I’ll check back and see what’s going on with the main page, I guess.

  8. Retronauts and the Grind have been bookmarked since they started, sir, and I usually catch up on the Tilt after a few days.

    I have no idea how getting more traffic works, though. Should I be clicking on the individual articles to draw in more traffic for you, or is it cool to just spend time on the main blog page and read the articles all at once? Whatever helps.

  9. Yeah, Retronauts is my default 1up bookmark these days, too. I might wander away to the main page if I’m looking for a particular review that day (WOO Henry Hatsworth), but, yeah, 1up is otherwise a kind of empty shell for me these days. That’s not to slag on 1up in particular – in fact, it’s kind of cool that I’m getting so much of my gaming reviews/critcism fix from a variety of relatively homebrew sources (like Gamespite and all the post-1up splinter podcasts) rather than relying on one single monolithic source.

  10. By the way, just considering the numbers, “Top Five Breasts in Video Games” would have to have a pretty unfortunate ending.

  11. Anyone who gripes about the blogs not having RSS is not even trying. Not only does each individual blog have its own separate feed, there’s a single overarching all-blogs feed that I subscribe to myself so I can see when someone else has posted something without my writers needing to ping me every time they make a post.

    All blogs RSS: http://www.1up.com/rss/1upblogs

    Now you have nothing to gripe about.

    Don’t worry too much about my (baseless) traffic complaints. I’m just trying to guilt-trip everyone into commenting more.

  12. It’s nice to hear that the blogs are expanding and will be better advertised. I’ve rarely visited 1UP for news, so it’s always about the features. And the blogs seems like the best source of interesting, original content on the site. There’s always something worth reading.

    I never log in to my 1UP account to comment, but maybe I should change that lazy habit.

  13. Oh, you want comments? Er…I don’t usually comment on the internet at large, though. I’m a pretty shy guy, you see.

  14. The blogs are the main reason I visit 1up these days, so don’t think your work is going unappreciated. In fact, I think I’ll go read that Akira article right now.

    While we’re at it, any hints on what the new blog is? Movies? Shooters? Oh, oh, I’ve got it! Handheld games! I’m right, aren’t I?

  15. I added all the blogs to my RSS feed the day you started them and I’ve been reading them religiously. I really, really love the way things are heading over your section of 1up. Keep up the good work!

    P.S. When can we expect “GameSpite Year One, Vol. 2”?

  16. I never really had a problem finding the new blogs since they launched. They may be halfway down the page, but they’re quite prominently displayed.

    My trips to 1up are usually: See if there’s a hilarious list by Sharkey/Ashley -> Check for new podcasts (not so much since I installed iTunes finally) -> Check the RPG/Retro blogs.

    Where would like a “The Lost Square/Enix Chronicles” article about all those late SNES era games that never made it to the US be though? I need to know where I could find my Treasure Hunter G fix!!!

  17. I adore The Grind and Retronauts blogs. I check them several times a day. Better navigation is good, of course, but I don’t need it. If I type “r” into my address bar, both of those blogs are at the top of the list (“RPG Gaming Blog” and “Retro Gaming Blog.” Convenient!)

    I’m sure Kat will read this: I have particularly enjoyed your entries. I enjoy Parish’s, too, of course, but I think everyone here expects that.

    A weekly Square/Enix history column? Sir, you are too good to me.

  18. Thanks Kupek. =) And yes, I agree, check out the blogs! I think the Grind is really coming into its own. I may be biased though… ;)

  19. I’m subscribed to the individual RSS feeds for Retronauts and The Grind. As far as I’m concerned, the rest of 1UP.com doesn’t exist.

    (Well, not really)

  20. My typical 1UP visit is skimming through the front page to see if there are any previews or reviews that look interesting, then scrolling straight down to click on “The Grind.” It’s my favorite part of the site.

  21. Yeah, maybe they should stop actually paying Sharkey to write those drivel lists, and give the blogs a little more promotion.

  22. The 1UP blogs feel a little like an appendage of Gamespite. Having Shivam, Levi, and a bunch of other folks on the blogs always makes me smile at the blogroll. The Suikoden podcast felt sort of like a Gamespite podcast with most of the usual suspects gone. It feels like you have taken the best parts of Gamespite and incorporated them into 1UP. The results have been incredible to say the least.

    The deluge of content has been hard to stay abreast of though. I am way behind on Retronauts and I have not had a chance to visit The Grind in a while. Irregardless, I have sort of followed you to 1UP and have taken to posting there over Gamespite. I need to get back to Talking Time at some point…

    @turkish101: I heard on Good Grief that Sharkey might be getting a Freeloader blog. It’s a perfect fit for him and I hope 1UP gives him that opportunity.

  23. I just bookmakred the The Grind and will use that as my gateway into 1up.com. I`ve been meaning to check out the blog ever since you mentioned it in that DS rpg thread on the general gaming board.

  24. My main reason for not reading 1UP as regularly as I might is that some sort of conflict between the site and my browser overloads my processor whenever I scroll, making things janky and laggy. It’s uncomfortable to read, so I don’t. (sad face) If I could figure out how to fix this, I’d check it out much more often.

  25. @parish: The blogs are part of 1UP though. I guess some people prefer the blogs over the main site, but I get most of my gaming news from 1UP and download most of the podcasts.

    Any chance you could get more “main page” folks (Garnett, Mielke, David Ellis) to guest blog on Retronauts, The Grind, or The Tilt? It might help point “main page” people toward the blogs. John Davison loves to talk about iPhone games on Listen Up and could easily expound on his comments for short articles on The Tilt.

  26. I’ve been reading all three daily for a few weeks now. I’ve never had problems finding them from the main page, but I could see general site visitors skipping over the blog section all the way down there.

    Oh, and I actually like the broad coverage that the Tilt has. iPhone stuff and mac stuff fits together like peas in a pod. And it’s not like the iPhone is being neglected or anything. Honestly, I’d say that the best blogs are ones that have a strong focus on one subject, but cover other things when warranted.

  27. Jeremy! Please read this!

    It’d be awesome to have a way to search through the blogs. Just the other day I was trying to find a post in The Grind I’m pretty sure you wrote about Suikoden. Unfortunately, a search of the 1up site doesn’t bring it out, and clicking through the backlogs can be time-consuming (especially for an article you aren’t quite sure exists).

    Anyway, the blogs are my new favorite things on the internet. I go to Kotaku for news, but here and the blogs for the in-depth gamey stuff that makes me feel all warm inside… and sometimes outside.

  28. So who did you hand the reigns of The Grind to? Kat?

    Great work on all three blogs. Reading the Grind almost takes me back to the GIA days. I’ll agree with some of the above posts and say that my only gripe is the limited search functionality, but that’s my only real gripe with 1up as a whole. I suppose that’s just the backbone of the site works. I’ll get over it.

  29. Man, who *wouldn’t* like better search functionality at 1up? People have been asking for it for so long that you’re likely to see Jesus come back and share a hot cocoa with Chow Yun Fat long before you’ll ever be able to find anything at 1up that isn’t linked directly from the main page.

  30. Hey guys! I know iPhones and Macs might not be everyone’s strong suit, but The Tilt is totally worth peeking into. With Jeremy’s wealth of Mac knowledge, Ray’s love of shooters, Levi’s adoration of all things comic books and kittens, and the random posts by Sharkey et. al, it becomes a lot more than fart apps and shovelware. I swear!

    I know it’s easy to write off (because, seriously, mobile games have historically been atrocious), but we’re doing our best to wade through the shit and find the gems out there. It’s a bit of the oddball of the bunch, but that’s what makes it so fun!

  31. I’m looking forward to the blogs being easier to find — I go to 1UP every day to see what’s new, and have been visiting the blogs every few days so far — more now that they seem to have a dedicated update spot below the previews update box.

  32. Ilchymis is totally right: the iPhone game scene is a wild west. With so many developers out there, there are lots of crazy ideas being tried, and I’m loving watching the growing pains as iPhone and iTouch become actual gaming machines.

  33. I too simply adore both the Retronauts and The Grind blog. I read a lot of blogs but these two jumped to the top of my favs once I caught word of them. As I think was mentioned on a link out by GameSetLinks, you guys are professionals at this kind of niche coverage. It’s fantastic that 1UP has given the teams free reign on these projects as it’s really progressive stuff. I read the Akira piece today in class and enjoyed your insights. In my own way I try to bring to light new criticsm on older titles, and I find your work to be really inspiring and motivating in that regard.

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