The merry old month of May is over and the weather is already getting hotter, which in Southern California means it’s already flirting with triple digits. In May, we here at The Well-Red Mage beat the heat with an exciting month. Seriously. I had a heck of a lot of fun in May and I have a lot to be thankful for, so without further ado about something let’s get to our monthly breakdown!
Here are the titles we reviewed in May:
Foremost, my gratitude to our contributors this month for crafting excellent reviews here. It’s consistently a delight to work with a team of magical writers and featuring their guest posts is something which brings flavor and new perspectives to our blog, so you don’t have to just read my point of view all the time. Companions on our great quest to restore the knowledge that was lost (see our Lore) have been invaluable.
Be sure to check out a review on the GameCube gem Skies of Arcadia: Legends by our resident Midnight Mystic Mage (of Sublime Reviews). Also, the ever-eloquent Evergreen Sage Mage (wakalapi) brought forth his second contribution with a review of Hollow Knight, by all accounts a gorgeous and magical obscure indie title. And tertiarily, our newest magi, the Spoony Bard Mage (of nerdspeaker.com) rendered a retroactive review of the coolest superhero ever and his NES classic, Batman: the Video Game (1989). I hope you get the chance to read these posts and enjoy meeting the magical trio as much as I enjoyed featuring their work!
Yes, we are always looking for more contributors. If you are wanting to write on an established platform without having to bother about starting your own blog, or if you’re a blogger interested in guest writing, definitely contact me and be sure to read Join the Party! Also, ensure you give our three contributors from this month a follow on their own blogs. These are bloggers of quality.
You know who isn’t? The Rage Mage. He puked all over Avengers: Age of Ultron so if you’re not a fan of that movie, stop in there and wallow in the filth for yourself. If you are a fan of the movie, consider the post to be counter-culture? Warning: it’s indulgent in the extreme. Put the kids to bed.
May was also an exciting month because it really saw a leap forward in the direction that we want to take this blog. A quick note on the coming “Mage Cast” will suffice for a podcast update: I have finally found that perfect song (free and available for commercial use) to use for the intro and outro. It’s upbeat and has a retro flair to it but it also features a harpsichord, which plays in heavily with my love for the classics. I can’t wait until everything’s ready so you can hear it but be assured that I am taking my time with this. I don’t want to mess it up and I want to come in confidently knowing I’ve done my research and made the best set of episodes I could make for launch day.
Another milestone was when we began to think along the lines of creating a custom logo and avatar icon. As much as I love the NES Red Mage sprite, I can attest to the fact that I don’t own it. Expanding the reach of this blog, I had to become comfortable with creating something from scratch. Fortunately, my wonderful White Out Mage wife has a background in graphic design and she was able to come up with these designs based on my own sketch. We decided to swap out the feather in the hat and use it for a quill pen, replacing it with an old-fashioned press card to highlight our propensity for editorials. You can get a better idea of the change by checking out this post.
May also saw an Atari 2600 added to my collection. The thing had been collecting dust in my closet for years until a friend helped repair it. I owe a degree of thanks to Mr. Sabatoni, aka the honorary Magenta Martial Arts Mage, for that.
If you’re looking for a good wireless controller, I recently wrote a review of the 8bitdo NES30. Spoilers. It’s frickin’ awesome. Plus, even better than just being frickin’ awesome, it works with the Nintendo Switch after a recent firmware update.
I also penned an opinion post which turned characteristically tongue-in-cheek. E3 is coming soon and a lot of people are expressing what they’re looking forward to most from the event. I thought I’d come at the topic from a different angle and focus not necessarily on any particular game or company announcement, but rather on the general atmosphere of the expo. Namely, I want to see more competition. It was apparently a provoking article since a lot of people responded and I appreciate those that expressed both their agreement and dissent! Thank you! By the way, that article was written primarily for a contest on NowLoading.co where it was first featured. The topic was “What are you anticipating from E3 2017?” I hope at least they get a chuckle out of it, though I’m not confident it’ll win due to its lack of specificity. But hey, I enjoyed writing it.
Speaking of enjoying writing, there are two articles from this past month which homed in on that subject. Most recently “How to Make Reviewing Games Seem Unnecessarily Difficult” took a glance at the predicament I occasionally find myself in as a gaming writer and reviewer. We saw a big response to this article and lots of empathy, so I think it’s safe to say that talking transparently about the struggles of being a writer struck a chord with a lot of bloggers out there. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and for the encouragement.
Another post on the nature of writing came by addressing the topic of self-promotion and how to come at it. The post “Growing a harder shell, or how promoting this blog on Reddit has helped me to handle negative comments better” saw a good response from our readership who expressed that they too wrestle with the human things I do like self-consciousness, a lack of confidence, fear of harsh criticism, and so on. Thank you for coming alongside me.
Because of the responses posts like these have had on this blog, I’ve come to the decision that I’d like to include blogging tips and tricks in the upcoming “Mage Cast”, things I’ve learned along the way and observations on writing and blogging that I think may be of some aid to others.
However, the big responses went to the tentative first in a new series for us: Asking Big Questions #001: “What have you learned since you started blogging?”
I was absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of heartfelt responses that so many shared with me. Though expression is my job as a writer, I cannot express how encouraged I am to have read about the origins of so many writers, about the passions that keep you all going, about the wisdom you’ve picked up along the way. We’re still getting additional responses to this big question, so if you haven’t weighed in yet, there’s no time limit. Definitely, definitely, definitely head to the comment section of that post where you can find the responses our fellow writers left behind as a kind of mural, as well as links to full-fledged articles written to address this fundamental question. Thank you so much for your participation. There are simply too many of you to name but your words have been immortalized for time immemorial on The Well-Red Mage. You’re a part of our restorative movement to combat ignorance!
And well, that’s it! It was a straight-forward month with plenty of opinion pieces and new horizons. I’d have liked to write more reviews but my word is the original Final Fantasy really sucking up a lot of my time! As it stands, below are the scores for our reviews from best to worst. I definitely personally recommend playing Black Widow for a retro trip and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is pure gold. Much as I love the franchise, I can’t really recommend Alien: Covenant. If you’re a reader, I recommend C.S. Lewis’ obscure first-part of his space trilogy, a novel entitled Out of the Silent Planet. AND… I’m ready to defend my grade for Sonic the Hedgehog. If you disagree with my scores… take it up with the Rage Mage. Bring it on. 😉 But if it’s any consolation, I’m fully assuming my score for the 2nd Sonic game will be much higher.
We’re close to 50k views and 800 followers! Thank you for reading, NPCs!
-The Well-Red Mage
Ranked best to worst: