The Well-Red Mage: Year Two


It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
– Herman Hupfeld



It’s hard for me to believe that I’m typing these exact words: one year ago today, we metaphorically opened our doors at The Well-Red Mage and posted our very first review. In retrospect, it’s a crude and unpolished post, what’s been called “lighthearted teasing”, but it was a start. February 20th marks the start of our Year Two. Today, we step into the bright dream of the future.

When we began, the few of us who survived the imperialist massacre crawled from the ashes of ruin and ignorance into a world where knowledge had to be restored. You can read the full story on our Lore page.


The graphics were terrible one year ago.

Every review we write is another tome resurrected from annihilation to find its place in the heart of the library of culture and entertainment. That’s why we treat each review (mostly) as an inspection of a work of art. Can you treat video games as works of art? Well, we did just that for a full year. Our goal has been to provide in-depth and analytical reviews of gaming art (and gaming non-art), and we’ve received positive feedback for this approach.

Before I go any further, I sincerely need to thank our founding members and contributors, without whom none of this could have happened. As much as this has been a labor of love for me, I fully recognize that it is the different perspectives of our guest writers and contributors, and the input of our founding members, which shaped this sliver of the internet into the well-read place it’s becoming.

Both the Black Humor Mage and the Timely Mage were with me from the very beginning. I owe both of you quite a lot, like all of the success this blog has seen. Though you’ve moved on, Black Humor, I couldn’t be more grateful for your suggestions, contributions, and continued friendship. You’ll always be a part of this place. And Timely, you are ever a source of inspiration, a confidant, a standard of quality and my continued informant.

To my darling wife, the White Out Mage, I’m consistently flattered that you would take time out from your increasingly busy day to stop in and read, as if for the sheer joy of it, and help with editing. Thank you. I hope our little Baby Blue Mage and Sweet Pea Mage turn out as wonderful as you.

To the many other friends like the Green Screen Mage, Bluebonic Mage, and Golden Godd Mage, I know you also lead busy lives so I’m thankful for your contributions as well. It’s about time for that next review, Greenie! 😉

The Silver Screen Mage, thank you for the movie reviews you blessed us with, and I wish you the best for your future endeavors beyond our quest. The Shamrock Show Mage, who has now gone on to vlogging (Andy Trejo Vlogs), thanks for gracing us with some awesome television series reviews, aiding us in extending our reach to the small screen.

And then there are the friends abroad I’ve never even met. Thank you for expressing your interest in joining our writing team. I’ve been greatly educated by your insights and perspectives on many things I’d never read about before. My gratitude to the Writing Beige Mage, the Red Hot Chili Mage (Stuff and That), the Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Game Reviews).

As for the Rage Mage… you can go take a hike. Hikes are good for improving a positive attitude toward life.Untitled.jpgCheck out the bios for our thirteen-member staff on the Authors page or see their contributions in our Archives. So the only question now that Year One is over is this: What awaits us next?

A new vision for Year Two: this blog continues to morph into a hub. Readers have mentioned they’ve encountered each other here in the comment sections and post mentions. Contributors have expressed that they’ve seen improvements in their traffic after posting here, so that’s a trend I’d love to see continue. We’ve built an audience of a few hundred followers and I’m more than happy to welcome anyone interested in crafting quality writing for us. Check out the Join the Party tab for details.

Need a snappy Mage name like the cool kids? Voila! The Mage generator, a blast from the past!


During my stay at WordPress, I’ve seen the community of bloggers come together and discuss, agree, disagree and demonstrate civility in a world sorely lacking it. Yeah, there has been the occasional feather-ruffling but that’s as to be expected. Truly, we are a bastion and a haven for a society that has forgone the ability to express mutually exclusive ideas. Intolerance, hatred, racism, inequality, selfishness, social ills and even moral ambiguity are things I’ve seen scarce traces of here. We as writers can show the world what it looks like to get a long, despite sometimes disagreeing with each other. That is a great inspiration to me.

But beyond the inspiration, this is all just really fun. Yeah, sometimes it can feel like a chore, in which case I either give it a rest for a few days or push through to finish a post and get excited again. Ultimately, though, I’ve found a lot of enjoyment through blogging and interacting with others here.


And now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty stats. As I always say, I share these metrics out of a love for the craft of blogging, on the hopes that these will help to shape a direction in my mind and help to guide others who feel like they want to start driving more traffic. This isn’t out of some kind of misplaced braggadociousness. Rather, this is the Well-Red Mage blueprint, what I think can be achieved through perseverance and networking. The “making it big” concept is a myth that occurs to a fraction of the human beings who have ever lived. Sudden overnight success can happen, but it is a fantasy next to the results of hard work.


Too bad these don’t come in black.

Adding to our 379 WordPress and 222 social media followers is 1 email follower. Yep, you read that right. One email follower. Whoever you are, you unsung hero, I wrote you the following poetry:

An emailer gave me a follow
So that all my crap he could swallow
…I hope that he knows as our readership grows
That all of our humor is borrowed

Since our year began in February, here are some additional numbers I crunched myself:

visual Total views in Year One: 34,138

multiplayer Total visitors in Year One: 10,495

familyfriendliness Total likes received in Year One: 4,098

story Total comments received in Year One: 4,184

Speaking of commenters… I prepared awards for some of you!
yeartwoscoreI have the distinct pleasure of talking with these five folks consistently, and as well of course with the other wonderful people out there. Thank you  for commenting and proving yourselves to be beacons of discussion and knowledge, Mr. Panda, The Shameful Narcissist, Matt, NEETaku, and LightningEllen! If you are reading this and you don’t follow these five… tsk tsk tsk…


#1. “I Was Born For This” lyrics (Journey) – 2,067 views
#2. The Legend of Zelda (1986) “First Quest” – 421 views
#3. The Legend of Zelda (1986) “Second Quest” – 195 views
#4. Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000) 194 views
#5.  Armored Core 3 (2002) – 157 views

I wouldn’t have anticipated these numbers. Journey is of course a very popular and widely lauded game but it was the informative post on the translation of its end credits song which soared in popularity over the review of the game itself. I can only attribute that to appealing to the curiosity of readers who wanted to know the meaning of the words. I think a principle there of trying to craft a post which satisfies the curiosity or desire of a large audience. As for the other numbers, The Legend of Zelda spawned an iconic series and Marvel vs Capcom 2 is one of the best arcade fighters ever, but I didn’t expect to see Armored Core 3 ranked so high. Thanks, reddit!


Spirited Away (2001)59 comments
Princess Mononoke (1997)52 comments
Final Fantasy IX (2000)50 comments
“Your Gaming Memories in a Bottle?” – 50 comments
“Rose-Colored Glasses and the Nintendo Switch”48 comments

These really shouldn’t be too surprising. As discussion generators, three of these posts represent some really iconic works of art in two Ghibli movies and a Final Fantasy, then there’s the current topic of the Nintendo Switch, and of course our social and textual collage a bunch of bloggers helped put together for our 100th post.

Batman: Arkham Origins (2013) –
Well-Red Mage interviews Timely Mage
“Pat Grant’s Art”13 views
“Why I Love Vintage Gaming” part III: No DLC
Timely Mage interviews Black Humor Mage

I don’t know what happened here. Nothing to see. Nothing to see.



Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)10.0

Of course.



E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – 1.1

Also, of course. Came in handy for an April Fool’s joke.



I know I’ve shared this information before but I am convinced that consistent posting makes for the best results in terms of traffic. Last July we managed to post at least once every single day and July saw 3,547 views. Even though we’ve had more visitors in more recent months, that was the most monthly views we’ve ever had. Chalk it up to trying out something consistent like the 31-Day Mage Challenge.

miketendo64Mike Scorpio of Miketendo64 

Thank you for giving me my start, Mr. Scorpio! You’re a legend! You deserve this:



katamar mage
lex luthor and donald trump
cara mengalahkan phaedra equus prime
sad superman
what store sells terraria
konami please hurt
when i was born when i was born lyrics
mage couple pinterest
who to stop breathing

I don’t know which is stranger, that someone might have been planning a mage-themed wedding or that someone was trying to figure out who to prevent from breathing…


What’s this? A surprise announcement? Yes. I’m pleased to announce an additional vision for Year Two: Well-Red Mage casts. After things settle down with having a baby, now due in less than 6 weeks, I plan to start podcasting. We’re looking at some time later this year or the beginning of the next, once I can get a hold of the proper equipment and figure out all of the technical details. The casts will focus on taking an even more in-depth look at the in-depth looks we’ve given to select titles, so be on the look out for this. Blogging will always be most important to me as a writer, but I’m excited to take The Well-Red Mage to the realm of earstuffs! There are no limits.

What else is there to say? Hold down PgDn on your keyboard and check it all out. As always, thanks for reading and thank you for coming along with us this first year.

-The Well-Red Mage


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97 replies »

  1. Hooray!!! Kudos!!!! & very well done!!!
    Lord C is racin thru these posts now (commentin when appropriate!) & is so happy everything is goin good for you!!!
    Cracking stuff, well-written, informative, genuinely funny, & truly heartwarming!!!
    I view this as watchin a family of lovely gamers wobblin about bein jolly, good lord, but Lord C loves it here!!!!!
    Lord C also thinks a Panda Swimsuit calendar is a brilliant Idea #AllTheFluffies!!! *Squee*
    Keep Up the Brilliant Work I Say!!!!
    & Finally; my name:
    I present to you, Henry Ofosu a.k.a Lord Tyr Cyberius: The Gorgeous Azure Mage!!!!!
    *Casts Strength Up, Cackles Maniacally & Vanishes in a cloud of Obsidian Darkness* <|:D

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The time really does fly! I think I found you in the midst of your first year and never looked back. Thank you so much for the shout out and for providing a place for intelligent discourse, dissident points of view without animosity, and just an all around great site. LightningEllen and I were talking about how blogs such as these are far better than so called “mainstream” since those only seem to discuss certain things often leaving out the most important parts of the gaming experience. There’s also the unfortunate “boys club” attitude, which I’ve never experienced here or on any of the other WP blogs I follow. I honestly think that blogs/reviews such as this are the wave of the future, so getting in on the ground floor is the way to go 🙂

    To many more years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think we met in the middle of Year One and since then I’ve definitely enjoyed our back and forth conversation. I knew right away that you’d place very high on the list of top commenters! Bear that trophy with pride lol!

      I never was able to get into the mainstream sites, beyond searching for references and info, and yeah they are certainly less colorful than our little WordPress world here.

      Things have come a long way since Pac-Man’s marketing to women, and now it’s not unusual for girls to be just as interested in games as boys, far different from what I recall when I was a child. Everything else will catch up in time, which is great so long as the balance doesn’t stray to misogyny or gynocentricity (can I say that? I just did … colorful, right?). We are the wave of the future! Thanks for being awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats!! Interesting how Journey’s lyrics dominated the views.

    Let’s see, my mage name is… The Killer Blue Mage. Well, since I hardly ever spend time hunting Blue Magic, I’d probably be better known as The Often-Killed Blue Mage. Besides, I sure as heck don’t want to be around when there’s a Mega Tonberry casting Cry in the Night or something. Blue’s my favorite color though, so there’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Funny about that lyrics post, huh? Maybe because it was so short, too. Killer Blue Mage sounds legit, and it was meant to be since it’s your favorite color! Of course since you’re blue and I’m red that means we’re besties forever.


  4. Congratulations on such a productive year! You do good work and you definitely earned each and every view. Looking forward to reading more of your reviews in the coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations! I loved hearing about the history of this blog, and glad I found you guys! You always provide consistent high-quality content, and I’m always appreciative of forums to discuss potentially-touchy topics reasonably. And I can’t wait to hear some of your podcasts once you get everything set up; how exciting!! 🙂 Here’s to another great year! *cheers!*

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on such a successful year of blogging, this blog has impressive numbers of followers and views. I was surprised to see the diverse nationalities of the viewers. I was also surprised to see so many views from the United Kingdom (I would have expected a larger country with a higher population to come second). I can see why the Legend of Zelda review was so popular, it was interesting to read a discussion of a game that launched such a famous series from a personal point of view. I was expecting the posts that invited viewer’s comments to feature a higher number of comments though. I did not realise there were so many writers for this blog. I enjoyed the list of search terms, people have viewed my blog using weird search terms as well.
    Good luck with the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is incredibly endearing. It’s great to see a showcase and history of this blog. I kinda wandered in before. Haha. Anyway, I’m pumped for the podcast and will definitely sub when it comes out!

    Liked by 1 person

      • As someone who listens to some gaming podcasts, I’d be happy to offer my thoughts in order to improve it, and of course to encourage it. What a great community here as I’m excited to see it grow.

        How does one achieve magely status?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I would definitely take as much input as I can get! I’m not big on podcasts but I’ve followed a handful over the years. A big thing for me personally is the cadence of someone’s voice. I’ve heard far too many try-hards and mutterers, so I know what I want to do as far as tone. Content is another thing that’s still up in the air, but I’ve got time. I appreciate it!
          As far as magely status, well you can check out our Join the Party tab at the top menu for more details. A few of our mages are personal friends but many of them I’ve never met. They just expressed interest in contributing and it’s been mutually beneficial, though of course I’m all for additional quality content, especially when it comes to reviews for games I would never personally play.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m gonna look into magely status this week then. 🙂 Yeah, there are some podcasts that I wasn’t too keen on, but some that are so genuinely heartwarming and entertaining. I think its good to have a sorta niche or angle, you know this I’m sure, but I just say it as a listener. I’m sure you’ll come up with great content ideas though. Are there any ideas you are kicking around?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Awesome! If you get as far as a contributor, we welcome you with open arms. As far as ideas for the casts, well I’ve thought about taking an even more in-depth look at some of these games which our reviews have only scratched the surface of. Several of them I could talk about for days and our angle is treating them as works of art. I want to continue to refine these ideas and focus them into something I can consistently talk about, so to avoid rambling and ranting. In other words, I feel there’s a point to podcasting but I want to focus that point. A game like Journey is an example. Any other input you’ve got knocking around your noggin?

              Liked by 1 person

              • I’d like to contribute, but I’m inconsistent. At times I’m insanely busy and at others, free as a bird… I thought of a mage name though: Evergreen Mage. I live in WA, (the Evergreen State), hike in forests and I also have two degrees from Evergreen State College, haha.

                Ideas on podcasts… well, I think your theme is flat out great. So there’s that.

                I was wondering about scope. How long you might want the cast to be, how often you would do it and how many people would be involved?

                If it were an hour to an hour and a half, with 2-3 mages, a group review of a game as art with multiple perspectives would be really interesting to listen to. Getting people together and editing might take quite a bit of time, and at first it would be harder than the beginning. Maybe every two or three weeks or so? I guess it depends on the technical know-how, tools available and other factors like output capability and small funding.

                Anyway, maybe there would be some nice intro type of stuff, then the meaty game analysis/review (almost like a book review ish, but funner and magelier?), and of course whatever fun bells and whistles you might want to add.

                This is just random thoughts here, and I’m sure you’ve thought through things quite a bit on your own, so I don’t mean to intrude. I just can’t wait for it to start. 😀

                Liked by 1 person

                • Evergreen Mage is pretty awesome! I’ve always held these mages to the standard that life comes first and I put no demands on consistency for contributors. It’s whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it, so you can file that away.
                  I’m happy to hear you think the theme for the cast is good. A couple thoughts are about an hour, hour and half, and at first it would be just me to get things started. I’ve got a few close friends who could be interesting to get together, if we can all get the time for it. “Magelier”? Hahaha that’s the spirit! I feel like it would begin with the meat and then I can add additional things as things progress, sort of feeling out what both the audience and the authors want.
                  You’re not intruding at all! I find this incredibly helpful! Thanks!

                  Liked by 1 person

                • If consistency isn’t too big of an issue, then I would love to join the… coven? gaggle? Magic circle? and contribute. I’ll look into it this week or next… a large storm is a comin in real life, so I’m enjoying today while it lasts.

                  Anyway, sounds like you have a great place to start when it comes to the “Spell Cast” 😉 It’s definitely an iterative process and I’m sure it’ll catch as it gets rolling.

                  Liked by 1 person

  8. This was an awesome post! I love the awards and the different looks at statistics. I had a great time reading it, and I look forward to hearing more about the podcast in the future! I listen to audiobooks and podcasts almost exclusively while on the long trip to and from work, so I will definitely enjoy listening along.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow you guys, those are some incredible numbers for the first year! Consider me in awe! :O Either way, congratulations on a year – you make some terrific content and I always get giddy when I see a new post from the Well-Red Mage in my feed 🙂 Here’s to another successful year!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice post! I always like seeing these posts from blogs I follow regularly, as it’s really neat to see the awesome progress made. Your blog is one that consistently delivers good content into my feed, so I’m definitely looking forward to the podcasts. Also, I think the amount of comments you’ve received throughout the year is of particular note; that’s a stat I’d like to really increase on my blog. Nice work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Particlebit! I’ve enjoyed our discussions over the past year. I hope we can continue to deliver the content you expect from us. As for these stats, there are so many I can’t take any credit for. This WordPress community is such a welcoming, honest, and friendly one that I’ve enjoyed being a part of.


  11. Congrats on this huge milestone Mr. Well-Red Mage! Thank you so much for the badge too. Ancient makes me feel wise and sophisticated, and not old at all, haha 🙂

    I really appreciate you entertaining my comments and I truly enjoyed our civil discussion on your great first review! Said game’s main character is quite special to me so I tend to get a little defensive of it. Thanks for your understanding 🙂

    I’m looking forward to your podcasts. I started listening to them at work (WHILE working I must stress, haha), and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Good luck with the upcoming addition to your party.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Miz Lightning! Wear the Ancient badge with pride. It may let you into the Pokemon Indigo League. I’ve greatly enjoyed our discussions, particularly the back and forth on the post which shall not be named. I felt your defensiveness was genuine and not fueled by a “I’m right and you’re not” sort of mentality. I’d defend anything that was that meaningful to my life, as well.
      As for the podcasts, like I said it may be a little while before we get it up and running, what with the party addition 😉 , but I’m encouraged to hear there are a few folks out there looking forward to it. Makes me nervous but I’m terribly excited.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Seeing ET jogged my memory. It was very interesting to watch. Especially when they talked to game developers, and you look at the timeframe they were given back then to now. It has come a long way.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah a lot of stupid, selfish decisions by Atari is what led to that crash. I recently reviewed Pac-Man and did some research into the Atari 2600 version of that game that sold so many copies but let so many people down. I wonder if my parents’ generation wouldn’t be so anti-video game if Atari hadn’t screwed up the industry with terrible ports and flooding the market before Nintendo came along.

          Liked by 1 person

          • They were living in a time where gamers were consuming things faster than they could make them. I think at one time I had well over 60-70 cartridges laying about. I recall going to the store once a week or more to see what new titles there were. There was even a series of games you had to complete to get some thing. Wow, my memory is failing me. I think it was 4 games. And I recall being there the day they were supposed to get the final one in, and it was delayed. I went home, got a ride the next day, and they were sold out. I think I actually stopped playing for a month. Lol. Different times to be sure.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much! I do in fact plan to work my way into doing all of this full-time and seeing where this road leads. If it can support my family then I’m all for it. That’s a distant dream but a goal nonetheless. Thanks for asking!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations on reaching your second year. I am honoured to have followed you from the beginning. The first year us is always the hardest. Our first year netted just over 10,000 views and 500 followers. Now as we approach our third year (I know right? Miketendo64 has been operational for almost two years now) we know have over 1900 followers and 294,000 views. Of course, I didn’t do this on my own, I have a very talented team including Mr Panda, Kuribo, Matt from Nintendobound, themancalledscott, gamer2006, Double Jump, Dan of Dan’s Gaming News and Jacktendo92, the superstar editor-in-chief who cracks our more posts in a day than I ever could in a month. Its to these people, that the WordPress community is such a great one and are always there to provide a lift, a like or a comment. I hope you have a prosperous year two and that we can expect much more from you. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Congratulations on doing so well! Those are some amazing numbers for a single year! In the coming months I look forward to hearing your podcast (I like to listen to them when walking to work; I’m sure yours will make the journey fly by).
    Also, Lex Luther and Donald Trump is my favourite search term there. Did someone assume they were the same person?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey thanks very much! You were a big part of driving these numbers and I appreciate all the conversations you’ve struck up. The podcast may be a ways away, but thank you for inciting excitement! Hopefully I can create something of quality.
      As for the Luthor/Trump thing, I did compose a post which I’ve since taken down that compared the two of them. This was back when there were many candidates. My political feelings are complex and I’m far from happy with the current administration but I felt it was the right thing to do after he took office to take it down so as not to 1, politicize myself and this blog, and 2, to discourage political argumentation, which has swept this country. It was a funny post though! haha

      Liked by 1 person

        • High on hi-potions? Yes when I was putting the article together I found a few images people had already shopped, like making Trump bald and such. At the time, mine was the only post I could find that listed comparisons between the two.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Ah yes I forgot that you’re from the old country, pardon the phrase. We yanks have had quite the mess on our hands. This was such an election fought in terms of culture rather than anything else. But yeah, there are quite a few horrifying comparisons to be made. Luthor, of course, was prez once in the comics as well. For me, the most frightening thing is a man you know has terrible morals that is widely loved by millions who treat him like a saint.

              Liked by 1 person

                • That’s complex too. I know a lot of his supporters personally are nor racist. It’s dismissiveness like that which got him elected in the first place. Best hope I have is it’ll make people think about a much smaller government. Why would we be worried about a tyrant being in power if he didn’t have the power of a tyrant? We should’ve deflated government before someone like Trump or Clinton for that matter could make it to office. That’s my view at least. I just want government to leave me the heck alone.

                  Liked by 1 person

  14. Hooray! Congrats to you Well-Red and all of the Mages, past, present, and time! You always do a spectacular job on pretty much everything! It’s an honor to be mentioned by you, and I will proudly wear that Arcane Badge! It’s always a pleasure to discuss video games with you! You’re entertaining to share comments with and very knowledgeable about games and Ghibli! I’m very excited about your podcast! I’m sure it will live up to the excellent discussion you always provide. I actually also have a special project I’ve been working on, but perhaps I shall wait for my own anniversary to talk about that one. Either way, congrats on all of your success during the first year, and may you have all the best as you enter Year Two!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so very much, Mr. Panda, my friend, my rival! If I recall correctly, we both got started right around the same time, so I’m waiting with bated breath to hear what your surprise is shortly! My imagination soars. Hopefully it’s a Panda swimsuit calendar. Thank you for being an exemplar of discussion! I’ve always enjoyed our talks and when I thought about tracking our top commenters, I knew right away that you would come in 1st place. Wear the Arcane with pride, from one mage to a panda.

      Liked by 1 person

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