The leaves are dying. Branches grasping like cadaverous hands. Winter is coming…
But hey! The Well-Red Mage community is here to keep you warm through all this cold! November was a busy month for us and I love it when things are busy. We hit a huge milestone (for us at least 😛 ) and we developed more relationships with developers. We were sent some physical NES carts to review. We held our first game awards ceremony. I got to see a movie I waited for my entire comic book lovin’ life: Lady Bird! No, just kidding, it was “Super Friends” and it was… well… the little kid in me was happy.
These are the titles we reviewed:
Begin at the beginning, which means recognizing the hard work of our esteemed contributors.
The Valiant Vision Mage (aka Lodestar Valor) soared into action with the first contributor review of the month, and it just so happened to be on Xenoblade Chronicles. Just in time for the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, which is like a day away! Get on that and read his excellent work if you need to catch up on the franchise before buying the new game. I certainly did and I feel prepped and ready for the next adventure.
The Brave Blue Mage (of 924 Collective) returned in November with some free-to-play talk. Following up his review on the original Epic Battle Fantasy, he took the opportunity to review Epic Battle Fantasy II. Maybe we’ve got a series of reviews in the works here? Who knows for sure but ultimately, if you’re looking to play some games and spend pretty much nothing, check out the Brave Blue Mage’s reviews and F2P titles. Thank your lucky stars for reviewers who are willing to cover the more obscure stuff!
The Final Fourteenth Mage (of Cilla Vs. Games) was up next with not one but two reviews this month! Her first was on the recent Nintendo mobile release: Animal Crossing: Pocket Edition. Does this thing have the capacity to reach Pokémon GO levels of popularity? Only time will tell but I already have a few friends bugging me to help them get digital furniture. Her second review was on Tokyo Tattoo Girls, another recent release but this time for the Vita and Steam. Check out both reviews and their unique perspectives from this tireless writer!
The Wonderland Dragoon Mage (our newest contributor) produced a review this month for Star Wars Battlefront II. Hang on! Keep your anti-EA memes in check. This is a review for the original Battlefront II from 2005, not Battlefront II 2.0, which is apparently not doing so hot. Pretend like that never existed and remember a more idyllic time in gaming when we could enjoy Star Wars without talk of gambling, government intervention, internet backlash, and mass boycotts. Go back to an era of wonder.
The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (of Nostalgia Trigger) addressed a nostalgia icon this November with his review Metroid: Samus Returns, the space-faring bounty hunter’s throwback to her 2D roots. This is one game I really wanted to play, but unfortunately my gigantic Polynesian hands make handheld gaming uncomfortable at best. Good thing I get to live vicariously through awesome writers like Geddy the OCN Mage! I felt like I got a great handle on what Samus Returns is all about and what makes it special. That’s what a review should do.
The Midnight Mystic Mage (of Sublime Reviews), a regular monthly fixture here, took a surprising departure from his usual macabre and horror fare for a great review of Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Indisputably one of the most popular games of all time is available everywhere, even in your pocket. Well, more properly on a device which can easily be held in your pocket. Either way, there’s never been a better time for Minecraft fans and if you are one (or even if you’re not), then head over to check out his review.
Rounding out a solid month of inspiring contributions from writers who believe in a better future for games writing, the Iron Mage (of the Iron Mage YT channel) danced with the devil in the pale moon light. By that I mean he reviewed Cuphead. My goodness there has never been a game on Xbox that I’ve wanted to play more. This review whet my appetite. This game that we’ve all heard a lot about, undoubtedly due to no small degree of cultural controversy around it, gets a real Mage treatment here with an analysis of its visuals and gameplay by the Iron Mage.
Two major events rocked our world this November, at least the world of TWRM, that is.
I’m happy to announce that we as a team of writers held our first Mage Academy Awards this year! The idea was suggested to us by the Purple Prose Mage (aka Alex Sigsworth) in order to commemorate a milestone. We got the team together to vote on categories and nominees, we announced the nominees first and then the next day we announced the winners. Congratulations to all the great games that took away some digital lauding, and more importantly a hearty thank you goes out to the developers and publishers that brought us fantastic titles this year. 2017 has been super!
“Pentakosiarch”. Greek for “commander of 500”.
The second major event that hit our proverbial shores was reaching our 500th post, which our game awards served to commemorate. Back in February ’16, when two friends and I started this blog, I had no idea where it was headed. I just knew I wanted to blog, I wanted to get better at writing, and I wanted to write about video games for a change of pace. That change of pace almost two years later has brought on about two dozen writers and over 500 articles. I ended up falling in love with doing this and with interacting with new friends. Eventually a vision for the future of games writing came out of it.
I still don’t know what place The Well-Red Mage has in the world of gaming, and heck it could all come crashing down tomorrow (hopefully not), but I do know that I’m grateful for the “now”. I am happy to communicate with other gamers about a host of subjects and see respectful, important conversation happening. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, who has interacted with us, who reads our work and who writes our work. I really don’t consider The Well-Red Mage to be my own (though my internet pen name shares the title). I’d much rather this place be a haven for real community rather than the stronghold of a textual loner.
A few more things to tidy up.
We’re streamlining our Patreon rewards system. For those interested in supporting this vision for the future of games writing and games culture, you can check out our Patreon and what we have on offer to become a Warrior of Light. I’ll retweet you. Promise! Also, there are other changes I’m interested in making come the new year. Hey, like I said before, I don’t know where this is going!
Some final recommendations:
I was able to review a physical NES cartridge sent to me by Mega Cat Studios! The game was called Almost Hero. Check it out, especially if you love retro gaming. This is the real deal when it comes to NES accuracy.
I really enjoyed Super Mario Odyssey, of course. Few people haven’t. Oh and the marathon review I wrote for Chrono Trigger spanning over 17,000 words (never again) has made its way home from where it originally appeared. This was a freelance piece I wrote and got paid for, and it was called by one well-meaning tweeter an article that sounded like someone’s doctorate, so I’m quite proud of it. If you have a huge chunk of time on your hands… well, let’s face it nobody does. Let me rephrase that: IF you want to read a frickin’ in-depth analysis of one of the best games ever and enter a discussion about the nature of objectivity in entertainment, overcoming hypberole and nostalgia in critical thinking on games, whether a “Greatest Game of All Time” title is even possible, and you want to learn more about the rich history of Chrono Trigger, then please check out my novella! 😉
In your service,
-The Well-Red Mage
Ranked from best to worst:
Cuphead (2017) 8.0
VVVVVV (2010) 7.6
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a community of authors with paid contributors, an alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!