So much time, so little to do… Scratch that. Reverse it.
I feel like I’m busier than ever working away at this labor of love yet the mounting pressure of deadlines hasn’t completely passed me over. As we step into October and Autumn, that lovely time of year, we here at The Well-Red Mage have had the opportunity to reach out to publishers and developers in order to begin reviewing upcoming and new releases. It’s certainly been an exciting crunch time! That’s why I’ve called the retrospective theme of September “Press Pass”.
So what are we sitting around lollygagging for? There are places to go, people to see!
As always, it was a joy and a pleasure to work with our team of contributors. Four of them had their debut this month, the Iron Mage (on YouTube as Iron Mage) spearheading with his insight on proto-RPG Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest.
Welcome aboard, you fantastic quadrio!
Perhaps one of most unique reviews ever to appear here was written this past month by the Final Fourteenth Mage (Cilla Vs Games) when she took a look at the inter-dimensional, sci-fi, dragon dating sim Angels with Scaly Wings.
While not an official contributor, Cheap Boss Attack, an all-around impressive personality in the gaming scene, collaborated with me to put together “How to do Games Journalism: Requesting Game Review Copies”, wherein he and I chatted about what this aspect of journalism means and how to go about it. I definitely appreciated that he shared his wisdom with the world here. Check it out if you’re interested in this next step.
It’s a step we’ve taken after reaching a place where I felt comfortable in putting out requests and confident in what we’ve built together. I still don’t know what I’m doing (case in point: I screwed up my email settings and didn’t receive emails for nearly 20 days, so several emails from devs were being shuttled over to an account I never checked!) but I do know that as scandals and controversies, and even nontroversies, continue to rattle the world of gaming and games journalism… I know we can do better. I know we can have better. Help us create a future built on respectful discussion and quality journalism.
This is all best summed up in our page “What is the Well-Red Mage about?”. Why am I even doing this? THIS is why. Words shape and change the world, and I want to create the kind of gaming community and games journalism that I want to see.
Two community events took place this month and if you missed them, well just know they were a lot of fun. I sponsored the character Mega Man in the Blogger Blitz event hosted by Adventure Rules, and while I tried to inflate his adaptive abilities beyond their scope (like some kind of well-red idiot), the victory at the finale ultimately went to LightningEllen *fanfare plays*! She’s a great friend and an even better writer so definitely stop over to check out her work and give her some congrats!
The other event concerned our Asking Big Questions series. Now there are two of those, so yeah it’s a series… Check out “Are video games art?” and share your thoughts with us! Turns out it’s a touchier subject than you might’ve thought and a lot of people gave some very nuanced opinions full of subtleties and variations on the question, including our own mages whose responses you can find in “The Grimoire of Games as Art (or Not)”.
Finally, I had the joy of reviewing what must be one of the most surprising games of the year: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a benign and deceptively kiddie SRPG with a lot of challenge and steep difficulty. Two games I received courtesy of developers/publishers (thank you to Image & Form Games and Vivid Helix) were SteamWorld Dig 2 and Semispheres, both played on the Nintendo Switch. I was taken aback at how enjoyable Dig 2 was and it’s to my discredit that I haven’t played any of the other SteamWorld games yet. Semispheres is also an enjoyable game but in a different way, short but very cerebral, kinetic, perplexing and engaging from start to finish, a must for puzzle fans!
Oh yes and I also played FEZ. In the review I talk about the relationship between controversial creators and their products. It sparked some interesting discussion so check it out.
At the very last I need to mention that this month saw our first ever Dualcast review put together by the Black Humor Mage and I. What a huge undertaking that was but we managed to finish our epic 14,000-word double review of Final Fantasy VII in time for the game’s 20th anniversary. Our goal was to provide a unique double-take on the legend from two perspectives: nostalgia and contemporaneity. I’m also happy to announce that you can now enjoy either reading the Dualcast review or you can listen to it in audio form on our Patreon… for FREE! I’m making this particular audio review available to everyone there, so please check it out along with the other rewards we’re offering.
If you consider supporting us with even just a dollar a month, you’ll have access to all our audio reviews and you’ll know that you’re helping us create a better future for games journalism.
Well, tomorrow is my 6-year anniversary with my inspiration, my wife, and where has the time gone? Cherish every moment because life truly is like a mist that disappears quickly. All that’s left is to look forward to October!
In your service,
-The Well-Red Mage
Ranked best to worst:
Final Fantasy VII (1997) 9.0/9.5
Driver (1999) 8.3
FEZ (2012) 7.0
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