Monthly Summary

Reviews of September (2017): Press Pass

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!

1Ve3maF 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.

InfernalMage Shortly afterward, another newcomer, the Infernal Accountant Mage (Popzara), made his introductions on another RPG with his well-written exploration of Vagrant Story.

FF3-NES-WhiteMage1.png Still another new writer, the Purple Prose Mage (Alex Sigsworth), brought his passion to the fore with an articulate presentation of Driver from the PS1.

on1.png Finally, a fourth debut was made by the Valiant Vision Mage (Lodestar Valor) with his funtastic dive into Pokkén Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch.

Welcome aboard, you fantastic quadrio!

mystic_knight1 An ever-present fixture here each month, the Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews) gave us a look at the whimsical and wacky point-and-click Day of the Tentacle Remastered.

finalfourteenthmage.png 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.

HandheldMage1 Ever the Sega fan, the Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress) opened a window in time for us to examine some gaming history with his review of Sonic The Hedgehog… on the Game Gear!

old investigators pic

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.

smashbros2_logo-1024x576 (1)

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

Pokkén Tournament DX (2017)  8.5

Driver (1999)  8.3

SteamWorld Dig 2 (2017)  7.6

Vagrant Story (2000)  7.5

Angels with Scaly Wings (2017)  7.4

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (2017)  7.4

FEZ (2012)  7.0

Semispheres (2017)  7.0

Day of the Tentacle Remastered (2016)  6.6

Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest (1989)  6.1

Sonic The Hedgehog (1991) [Game Gear]  5.9


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8 replies »

  1. Awesome list of articles Red. That article about requesting game review copies was incredibly insightful, and makes me realize I got a ways to go when it comes to reviewing games myself.

    As I mentioned in your FFVII post, I really like the Dualcast approach, and I’d love to see another review done in that format; it’s interesting to see two different viewpoints of the same game and how they compare to each other.

    I’m looking forward to October’s reviews, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mr. Cheddi! I’m glad that you found the review copies article helpful in some way. It’s not something to hold in too high esteem and you should try it if you’re able. You may find success with it faster than you think. As for Dualcasts, I’d love to do more! The perfect game needs to come by for it. Truth be told, I planned to do a Dualcast on FF1 with another contributor but time constraints ended up preventing me from collabing on that. Would that I had infinite time and resources!!! 😛


  2. Wow! Congrats on a hugely successful month, my mage friend. 😀 Blogger Blitz was a blast and thanks for the shout-out! We had quite the epic showdown there, eh? FYI, you are a much better writer than I am. Just look at how awesome your reviews and opinion pieces are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, L.Ellen! It was a lot of fun and you’re so modest! No need for that! You rocked the proverbial casbah! I was looking it over and thinking there’s no way I could attempt to write in that narrative format like that with my character. No way! Don’t sell your talents short! ::lightningemoji::

      Liked by 1 person

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