“The PANDA Award”


“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11(ESV)



Ah ha! An image of the Ailurus fulgens. Get it?

Today I am grateful to be a writer. I have the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with some very genuine and very thoughtful folk. Writers have been given a gift. They have the power to change history, as history has shown. They have the power to lift up or destroy, to exterminate, edify, elucidate, educate, enchant. Writers command one of the greatest weapons in the world: the written word.

I’m thankful to be a writer because it has connected me to people I’ve never met, people who have long died, who have yet to be born, who speak another language, whose intentions (such as is the case with “PANDA”) noble. It’s no secret that we’re living in turbulent times. The invention of the PANDA Award by my fellow blogger and friend, Mr. Panda, is a wonderful writerly act to help bring warmth back to the world.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’d add “humanitarian” to your undoubtedly impressive resume, Mistah Panda.

Because here’s the gist of this award. Unlike many of the other chain-letter-esque awards floating about the blog-void, the PANDA Award seems to have been created with special purpose. It’s lovely of course to learn a bit more about each other and thereby understand each other better. But this is an Award designed with encouragement in mind.

PANDA is an acronym which stands for “Play A New Day Award”. Its creator described it thusly:

“I want to encourage others to play for another day. No matter what is going on, whether in the world, your country, your home, or even in your mind, I want you to play for a new day. We’re all in this together, and we can make it together.”
-Mister P


These are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Nominate any number of people for the award.
  3. Encourage them in any way, whether through thanking or complimenting them.

I first learned about the Award from a nomination we received from LightningEllen, so it is to her that I express my humble gratitude. Your kind words won’t be forgotten by this forgetful mage. And also thank you to Mr. Panda for the original nomination (which I missed, my mistake).

To anyone else I may have missed and to all the bloggers who’ve nominated us for awards I’ve failed to respond to, please pardon my injudiciousness in missing your posts. Alas, the world of writers is an expansive one, to say the least. You are all talented and eloquent writers in your own unique way. I’ve always tried to keep up with everyone’s posts, but there’s simply no way for me to do it as I meet more and more people… until I retire, at least.

And without much further ado, here are the writers I’d love to encourage. May they be the next leading novelists, essayists, journalists, philosophers, preachers, orators, and teachers, and keep changing the world.


Mr. Panda – I’ll admit that I am more than a bit jealous of you as a rival, sir. You built your blog from the ground up a mere month after I got my beginning here and look at everything you’ve accomplished. Your work speaks for itself. Evidently, because you have one of the most active and vibrant gaming blogs that I know of. And believe me, I’ve done a fair share of scouring for gaming blogs. I don’t know how you manage to do everything you’ve done but I know it means you’re a dedicated, tireless, and responsible person. I see your comments everywhere and you genuinely interact with people, myself included. You’ve been described as a “force of positivity”. Creating this PANDA Award is no surprise coming from you. I’ve never met you in person, but I know you must have a very big heart. Thank you for your contributions to our field and keep being such a positive influence on others. You’ve helped me keep doing this.

LightningEllen – The one whose nomination clued me into the whole PANDA Award. Thank you very much and I appreciate how interested in fair-minded discourse you are. I’m glad to know we’ve talked about certain controversial subjects with mutual understanding, and I think that says a lot about how open-minded and uninterested in argument you are. Furthermore, you run a well-organized blog themed on organization, so that must mean you’re a rather organized person, which must be some kind of legendary attribute because I certainly don’t have it. And of course, I think it speaks volumes of your virtue that you’ve even got something like this in your sidebar: “EPIC POSTS FROM THE AWESOME BLOGGERS OUT THERE!”

Vahrkalla – Humor can fall flat a lot of times online, but I haven’t found that to be the case with you and I detect that’s because you’re not over-intentionally trying to be funny. Rather, you seem to have the wit thing down. I mean the header under your blog title… genius. Also, I owed you a One Lovely Blog Award response since you nominated me and I didn’t put together a response, so I’d like to extend this PANDA Award in return. Thanks for being so sincere!

The Angry Scholar – I think I have to confess I have a secret bromance with you. You’re cornering a market on WordPress with your emphasis on horror, the supernatural, and folklore in pop culture, movies and so on, but it’s really the incredibly thoughtful discussions that you and I have had on your blog that I’ll always remember as some of the most involved and mutually respectful I’ve ever had, talking about 2001, and the numinous, and in fact you’re pretty much the reason why I decided to create our Facebook page as an arena for easier discussion, which means you’re the indirect causal agent on the blogger interviews done here, as well!

The Chi-Scroller – I’ve enjoyed your company for a long time now and I’ve always found your specific posts to be unusually tempting. As I recall, you’re one of the bloggers that I’ve wanted to read more of and I remember reading a handful of your articles in a row. That says a lot about your canny way of verbalizing the titles for your posts as well as generating content that people actually want to read. I sadly don’t have so much time to read as much as I would like but your posts have proven to be addictive to me, and that’s quite the accomplishment of which you ought to be proud! Your ranking of the Castlevania games was one of my favorite ranking posts.

Particlebit – You are one of my favorite people! As if that weren’t enough you’re an exemplary blogger and an amiable person. I’ve always had the feeling that we’ve known each other for a long time, as if we grew up together. And yet again, your avatar is an instant win-over. Plus it looks like you completed your Pokémon Go Pokédex, which is certainly enviable and indicative of determination.

Astro Adam – Just when I fall to thinking that everyone is just a big, ugly, jerk (just one) and the whole world is burning with anger, disagreement, rage, disappointment, and cynicism, I stumble into your blog again and see the innocent smile of your face. Hey if that sounds a little too “intimate”, I’m sorry, but you’ve got an honest smile. I think that means you have a good heart. I remember this post I read a little while back on your blog that I thought was so fresh in how positive it was when everybody else seems so jaded and upset at life. With politics and culture wars dragging us down, you’ve written instead about happiness. You make the Rage Mage blush.

Milo and Rueben at Stuff and That – How often do you see reviewing blogs that tackle both music and video games? Not often, is the answer. I’ve always known in my heart of hearts that you guys were running something totally unique. Looking again at your menu, I’m like “What don’t you do?” You’re the swiss army knife of blogging! Heck, I’m forever indebted since Rueben made the voluntary choice to become a mage here!

retr0pia – The only person who might love retro gaming even more than me. You had a head start on me by a month and it doesn’t seem like you wasted any of that time. You’ve succeeded in crafting an admirable blog almost entirely dedicated to consistent retro-philia. Anyone who has the please of following you comes to know exactly what they’re getting from you in terms of content. You’re in my Top 10, buddy!

The Shameful Narcissist – You are currently the blogger who has given us the most comments and for that I am eternally grateful. And I have certainly noticed that your comments are far more than mere passing remarks. You are a person who is genuinely interested in others and in putting conversation and discussion first. I don’t know how you manage to comment on so many blogs. You’re positively ubiquitous! And how you manage to write 10,000+ words in a single review is beyond me. It’s truly awe inspiring and I hold you as the standard in writing dedication and consistency. You’re so personable with everyone and I’m glad we met!

Matt from Nintendobound – There’s got to be a reason why you’re on so many lists of awards. The reason is you. Being quadrilingual is undeniably a large part of that. I just think you’re such an inspiration! And I frickin’ adore your avatar! You’re probably being swamped with so many nominations but I’m certain you’ve taken them with characteristic humility.

steviegill – I think it’s been a little while since we’ve interacted but I know that we connected on a really good level in the past. I think that’s because of our mutual love for classic gaming and indie titles. Your blog is clean and professional in its presentation, which says volumes about the sensibilities of a person who knows what they want and how they want to do it. With menu items like “Retrospectives” and “Nostalgia”, meeting you was like a match made in vintage heaven.

The Every Gamer – I only recently got to know you through your interview here but in that short time I’ve come to find you quite inspirational. You’ve successfully overcome your own personal challenges in order to create a blog with thriving content about things you’re passionate about, and I find that really motivating for me. You’ve made your own life an example to others. And your homemade pictures are hilarious and awesome!

DReager1 – You have a very welcoming, friendly and unique voice and blog. That’s evidenced from posts like your fighters ranking, which I can’t even begin to comprehend how you put together. That makes you either a genius or a hero, or both. In my book, you’re a genius hero. Don’t ever give up and keep being so distinctive!

Van Rockingham – We’ve known each other for a long time and you’re one of the first blogs I interacted with. I still remember first gazing at your archive of articles and thinking how prolific it is. It still remains one of my many goals I want to emulate! In that sense, you’ve subtly influenced nearly everything I’ve attempted to do here and for that I am exceedingly thankful.

Old School Game Blog – Talk about uniqueness. You’ve got it. Amiga isn’t something too many people are actively posting about but you demonstrate a real passion for the truly retro. You’re also one of the earliest blogs I remember being genuinely excited to discover. I consider you the Amiga expert, but that’s not to say you don’t have anything for Nintendo lovers. Keep up the retro work!

SevenFlorins – I don’t know if you’re active anymore or if you even remember me, but I cannot forget you. You were the very first person to like The Well-Red Mage blog on our review of DuckTales: Remastered. We were a calcified and cumbersome thing when we started but I’ll never forget the excitement of receiving that first like and realizing there was suddenly a reader out there. It changed everything. Thank you, my friend. I wish you the best and hope you’re happy and successful where ever you are.

The White Out Mage – (Is this cheating?) You don’t run your own blog, my darling wife, but your fingerprint is all over this one. You’ve been the greatest inspiration and example to me in all this time and since I met you I realized that there is indeed true joy in the world. You’ve served here in the capacity of an editor whenever you found the time between raising our son and dealing with the next baby on the way. You’re the most admirable woman I know and I’m eternally grateful for your companionship!


Of course I don’t mean to say to anyone I didn’t nominate that you aren’t an appreciated and wonderful person. You are, to be sure. I’m a better person to have met you all. Now go give a PANDA! Let’s really keep this going!
-The Well-Red Mage


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Categories: Opinion

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39 replies »

  1. I have had a gaming drought but have not forgotten the people I started reading on this site and am hoping to get back at writing very soon! Keep up the great work and keep inspiring me to continue to write and not let rigor mortis set in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sevenflorins! My hero! Good to know you’re still out there! Let me thank you personally for being a part of our beginnings here. I hope you’re doing well and you find some time to get back to blogging sooner rather than later.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry I’m late to see this! I’ve been encumbered with work work, work, work, illness, work, work, sleep et al lately and I’ve been irredeemably lazy when it comes to the site. Thank you so much!!! I’ll get onto this as soon as my Firewatch piece is done! Congratulations as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know why, but Pandas versus Mages sounds like it would be a fun game. Two rivals, destined to clash in a headstrong battle of… something. But you would be cool friendly rivals and not enemy types.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks a lot for the nomination and I appreciate the kind words! I haven’t been as active around the blogs lately with finals prep hitting me from all sides, but I’m looking forward to being caught up during Winter Break and just working to manage my time better. Keep up the good work over here! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah thank you so much for the nomination *blushes* I honestly feel honored that I have the followers I do so I try to keep up with their blogs as much as I can (it’s the magical to-do list), because so many people take the time to read my words. I also feel like if someone comments on something I’ve written, I owe it to them to comment back, tit for tat and all that!

    This is honestly the best award, and I’d say that regardless of a nomination. It gives insight into so many other awesome bloggers ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aw, thanks for your kind words! 🙂 All of this beautiful positivity really warms my normally cranky soul, lol. I enjoyed reading this! It’s a good problem when there are too many awesome bloggers to mention in one post. And no, it’s definitely not cheating to nominate your wife. Keep up your amazing posts!

    I hope Rage Mage is okay though. This bright atmosphere can’t be good for his health… I suggest he visit one of those “system wars” forums on popular gaming sites to recover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s overwhelming to think that we writers have the power to influence the world for good and to be a source of positivity for all. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this with others! As for the Rage Mage… he slipped into a coma and I’ve been trying to revive him with a mixture of kitty litter and strychnine, his favorite meal.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks a bunch for the nomination and for the words! It makes me happy to know I am an inspiration to a blogger as great as you. Hopefully I can continue to live up to that! =P

    You are an inspiration to me too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I honestly think we should keep this a positive experience since it’s not about who was mentioned so much as it is about spreading the encouragement out to everyone through our networking. I respect your disappointment for not being mentioned but with nearly 500 followers and a fairly active set of consistent commenters, there’s simply no way that I could’ve nominated everyone. I apologize if my failing to mention you irritated you. It has been a while since we’ve interacted and I had many people on my mind. Thank you for your comment, nonetheless, and maybe you’ll get your nomination somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words both to me and to everyone! You’ve been a true blessing to many of us in the gaming blogosphere. Thank you for helping to form fun, safe spaces to discuss video games and encourage one another. I admire the work you and the mages do, and I’m so glad you’re spreading the love and PANDA! You don’t know how honored I feel by this post. I may have teared up reading your sincere messages to both me and all the other PANDA recipients. PANDA TEARS, of course! Congratulations again, and thank you as always!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve only tried in some small way to be a positive influence on the blogosphere. Thank you for coming up with this award, Panda. It really is incredible and it was actually thrilling to attempt to heap as much praise as possible on the people who have made an influence on my life. You’re an exemplary blogger, sir, and I doubt I’m alone in saying that I aim to be more dedicated like you. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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