Hello! Welcome to the brand new and fully remastered USG. It's a redesign that's been a long time coming, and I'm excited to finally show it to you for the first time.
It's hard to believe, but it's been just over two years since I officially took the reins from Jeremy Parish. A lot has happened since then: new additions to the team, new ongoing features like Starting Screen, and, of course, a ridiculous number of games.
As we head into our sixth year (I know!), we want to better reflect what USG has become. That includes updated branding, which is intended to help us continue to build our own identity, and a greater focus on our core strengths. It should be easier to find our best work now, particularly great features like this Oral History of Tony Hawk's Underground, as well as coverage of all the most popular games of the moment.
When I sat down with Craig, Karl, and the rest of the Gamer Network design team to begin this process several months ago, I talked at length about who we are. I talked about the great work Matt is doing in breaking news and covering big events. I talked about our strong retro pedigree, which is reflected in the spotlight it receives in our navbar. I talked about the podcast, of course.
But mostly I talked about our commitment to honoring the medium—to knowing the history, understanding the issues, and being able to talk fluently about gaming's past, present, and future. I talked about the unabashed passion this team brings to covering their favorite games, which is reflected in articles like this one. There are a lot of gaming news sites out there, and they all have their own voice, whether professional, cynical, or hipster. But around here, we're really hobbyists at heart, and I think it shows.
So let's talk about the site itself. Here are some new elements of note:
Two brand new newsletters: Over the next two weeks we will be launching two brand new newsletters. The first is a Friday digest that lets you catch up on any big news you might have missed, as well as some of our best features and op-eds. The second is an extension of our RPG podcast, Axe of the Blood God, featuring a special RPG-focused essay from Nadia or myself, as well as the latest RPG-related features and headlines. That one will be running on Wednesday. Fill in the box at the bottom of this article to subscribe!
Spotlight and latest articles sections: One of the biggest changes is how the site is structured. We're moving away from the panel style and going for a format that makes it easier to put a spotlight on our best work without burying the daily news. Further down you'll find the most popular games of the moment, our latest long reads and reviews, plus the latest Starting Screen columns. The ultimate goal is to put our top articles in front of you on a consistent basis, and also to give you a good feel for what's happening in gaming at any given moment.
Long Read and Retro landing pages: Features and retro coverage have been a source of pride for USG since the very beginning, but they've often been buried in very basic archive pages. The newly-revamped landing pages include access to our latest features, op-eds, and lists, as well as some of our best retro coverage from over the past couple years, such as Jeremy Parish's wonderful History of RPGs series.
New community tools: Our amazing community is another source of pride. To further facilitate the amazing conversations that happen in our best articles, we're introducing nested comments to make it easier to follow a complete discussion thread.
When you're finished with this article, I invite you to have a look around (and sign up for the newsletters!), because there are quite a few neat new features throughout the site. Hopefully you'll find yourself opening up a bunch of extra tabs for some lunchtime reading.
As always, thank you for continuing to support USG over the past five years. Enjoy the site, and we look forward to geeking out about games with you for another five years and beyond.