“Time is the most valuable thing that a man can spend.”
2 years, 552 posts, and 1,132,132 words later… The Well-Red Mage is now entering Year Three! It’s been two solar circuits since a duo of sweaty friends and myself put together the root ideas for this blog, and since then it’s grown into much more than I think any of its founding members imagined. I never thought I’d be working with contributors from different countries around the world, people interested in building community. I never thought that crowdfunding or YouTube or Twitter would become a regular part of this place.
Funny how the future can surprise you but that gives me a “reach for the stars” kind of an attitude. There are so many resources available to everyone in our time. Yes, there’s a lot of over-saturation and it’s hard to build an audience anywhere online, but old fashioned determination yields results, or at the very least surprises! I’m under no illusions that TWRM will “make it big” (whatever that means) but we’re going to defeat Polygon, just so you know.
Since this site has turned into a hub, a mage academy of sorts, I decided to ask my colleague of the arcana what they thought we should do to commemorate entering our third year. An idea instantly came courtesy of Lodestar Valor, aka the Valiant Vision Mage, who suggested contributors and patrons could share why they write or support TWRM. Given the nature of the suggestion, I’m somewhat bashful about putting this post together and collecting testimonials but I’m grateful for the idea and further I’m attempting to distinguish between myself as the Well-Red Mage and this collaborative project called The Well-Red Mage. It doesn’t help sharing a name with the title of the house but the former is my personality, the latter isn’t something I could ever take credit for.
That also means that I cannot be held responsible if you don’t like the content here, hahahahhaa! Scapegoats! That was the plan the whole time! *time-released morphine injects into the base of my skull* Ahem… anyhow, you can click on the WP icons to visit their exterior work.
The Well-Red Mage presents… TWRM 2-Year Testimonials!
When I started writing, it was for a couple of reasons: I enjoy writing, especially about video games, and I wanted to be part of a community that I could discuss my work and passions with. I ended up entering something called the “Blogger Blitz”, hosted by Adventure Rules, I entered with a Pokémon Ranger against The Well-Red Mage with Mega Man; however, I wasn’t able to actually compete when the time came due to other priorities (you can see that news here). Regardless of losing by default, I really enjoyed TWRM’s entry. After following TWRM for a while, I saw a tweet essentially asking for people to join the site as contributors. I felt this was a great way to have more social opportunity, more writing practice, and I have since found that I really enjoy the articles written by others as well. I got in contact with TWRM and joined as the Valiant Vision Mage. I have since written two reviews in my time as a Mage, received positive feedback, and have had the chance to interact with some of the other contributors. thewellredmage.com is a great website to be part of and I plan to continue writing for it into its third year.
Over year and a half ago I started a blog on games and gaminess for a couple reasons: to push myself to make a video game and to keep myself writing after grad school. I chose WordPress because of its ease of access, but also because I noticed there were quite a lot of other people writing on games using this platform. (I haven’t formally made a game yet!) Over a year and half since starting, I still have my blog, but I am also proud to be a contributor (Mage) and Patron (Warrior of Light) for The Well-Red Mage site.
After setting up my blog, I began to expand and read other people’s work on the platform, creating a sort of blurry etching of the WordPress games writing community/communities. In my perusing, I remember being particularly impressed by one article I read by Well-Red, one that might have seemed trivial to some titled “What I Learned from the Best and Worst Video Game Parents”. It was exemplary in two ways, it was actually a fun piece and it brought other writers together.
I began to comment on some of his work, and I even wrote a post myself, basically highlighting how exemplary he was in his virtue of community-building. It is still refreshing to see this kind of work being done in a realm like ‘game culture’ that is most often described as being close-minded to other perspectives (and that’s putting it mildly). He replies to comments, he’s engaged, and moreover his door is open if you want to contribute. Notice the ‘Join the Party’ tab at the top of the site.
If you join the party you can get an 8-bit little Mage icon for yourself, come up with a fun name, and situate yourself in a kind of balanced milieu existing somewhere between harsh reality and hardcore fantasy gaming community. It’s not a place where you have to interact with someone using Old English all the time or anything, nor one that eschews deep reflection and thought…but a chill space where you can appreciate games with like-minded people and hone your writing skills.
I joined up and when I had time to write a review, I did. It is a fun and challenging experience to write something in such a format as he is Well-Known for: the long-form game review with an ‘8-bit’ system, comprising of analyzing a game though choosing and writing on eight game-related themes. He’s also hosted a couple of my thought pieces too. Full transparency, I doubt anybody would have even come across these pieces if he hadn’t hosted them.
Last year, was a year of growth for the site as Well-Red decided to go full-throttle into community-building by openly offering his blog as a hub for others to participate in, now more resembling an E-magazine than a blog with friend contributors. Since then he’s created a Patreon account where the currently modest amount of money gathered supports the upkeep of the site with hopes to be able to offer some financial support to the community of Mages (writers) that have since joined up. As for the Patreon, I signed up immediately to help out the community as this is clearly something I value. I’m behind being a part of something that offers a space for people to hone their craft while digging into the things they love.
I’m grateful for the friendship and community that Moses provides and wish him the best as he enters his third year. I’m frankly excited to see what he does next. He’s passionate, creative and inspiring and I hope the site and Patreon only continues to grow and bring more love and light to the WordPress game writing community and game culture at large. It seriously needs it.
I joined The Well-Red Mage with two main ideas – get more views for my writing, and join a community of intelligent gamers. I got both in spades, but there’s two things I couldn’t have predicted – first, just how good this community is. Being part of such an intelligent, friendly and welcoming community is really a pleasure – there’s no porn, flame wars or juvenile hissy fits – just a bunch of people who like thinking and talking about their favourite hobby. Second, this site gives so many great ideas for writing. The FF Project, the “Great 3D Slaughter” – great thought pieces that never would have occurred to me if I hadn’t joined. So congratulations WRM on turning 2! May there be many more.
Why I Write
I’ve sat here, staring at a screen for the last few days whilst sipping coffee, thinking about this testimonial post and asking myself, “Why exactly do I write?”
As a kid diagnosed with ADHD, who used to deal with low self-esteem issues and had very few friends growing up, writing stories and gaming, my two biggest passions, have always been there for me. Video games have had a great impact on me, as characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Link and Cloud Strife have inspired and helped shape me into the person that I am today. I started writing about my favourite games from the second grade on because I found that I had more of a connection with the characters I loved than I did with actual people. Kids would tease me for my weirdness and adults would criticize me for my lack of ambition and focus (be an engineer, be a doctor, don’t go into writing and art, they used to say to me), but I knew, during those hard times, that I could rely on gaming and writing to see me through.
Whereas I wrote then because I was isolated and alone, I write now because I want to connect with others through it. My low self-esteem prevented me from seeing all those years ago that I had a real knack for it and that I truly enjoy it. Before starting up my blog, I never felt comfortable sharing my content because I thought that people wouldn’t care about what I wrote. I was wrong.
Even though I’ve only joined up with WordPress a short time ago, I found a community of like-minded individuals that liked what I was about, gave me welcome feedback on my content and gave me confidence to continue sharing my work. This confidence had also helped sharpen my communication skills in my career as an engineer, responsible both for designing the world we live in and keeping the public informed and safe. And it’s this confidence, along with the support I’ve received from everyone, that had finally led me to join up as a Mage here at The Well-Red Mage.
I look at my little son, who came into my life just recently, and I want to show him that you shouldn’t be afraid to let your creative side shine, that you shouldn’t let what people say, or even what you say or think about yourself, dictate how you go about your life, that you should pursue what you’re passionate about and join up with those who, despite coming from different walks of life, share that very same passion with you. That’s why I write now and why I joined the collective at The Well-Red Mage.
For some reason, the other kids at school didn’t think I played games. I think it’s because I was a good student; I read for the pleasure of reading so the general opinion of me was that I probably considered games to be too stupid. I wasn’t any good at sports, so why would I play a virtual sport? But the truth is that I played games a lot, more than I should have done for how much revision I had to do. I wasn’t very good at making friends. I thought deeply about big things and it put a lot of people off. So I’d play games as an escape. I spent prom night playing Minecraft instead of spending an evening with people I’d only have pretended to like. I suppose that’s how it starts. People with friends don’t need to blog about their interests, because they can have conversations instead. The Internet is a place for “the other people” who aren’t in the club. So even though I recently announced that I’ll be taking a few months away in order to spend more time on coursework, I can’t wait to get back for the same reason that I otherwise enjoy being here. Games can bring people together, especially when there’s the shared desire to think of them legitimately as a form of expression. I’ve come to love being part of a group that thinks like I do, and doesn’t ignore anything I say. Being a part of the Well-Red Mage made me realise that, while I don’t really have any friends, I have such a big family.
What?? 2 years is a long time! Wow… Mage’s grow up so fast, eh? Wait, what was I doing again…? Oh, I’m writing a testimonial thingy. Okay! Ahem.
The brilliant Well-Red Mage was my 3rd ever blog follower and I’ve had the pleasure of watching this wonderful website grow into a stronghold of civil video game discussion. Now we don’t always agree on games (*cough* Final Fantasy XIII *cough*) but that doesn’t stop us from being blogger buddies! At the end of the day, we all have opinions on stuff. As long as we respect each other, that’s all that matters! I know I’m oversensitive about certain characters (*cough* Lightning Farron *cough*) so I’ve learned to just take a joke and whatnot. Well, I’m trying really hard to at least… 🙂
I’m also incredibly honored to have a mage title on this website! I’m very critical of my own writing abilities so I was shocked when WRM approached me with the offer. I do intend to write my debut review, eventually. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write here! I wish the Boss Mage and his crew a glorious future on the interwebz.
Little did I know before writing this, I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of writing and contributing here at The Well-Red Mage. It was Feb. 26th last year that I was lucky enough to have my blogger interview which was what led me to writing reviews for the page. With the help of TWRM I was able to craft and conjure my new Magely persona, The Midnight Mystic Mage.
I always loved to read interviews and reviews on TWRM because of the standard of quality that was obviously held to every post. Each post left you feeling like you really got to know a lot more about each game and blogger than you did before. I also loved the set up of having a fitting quote before each review and the analytical 8-Bit review to go right along with it at the end.
So I saw the blogger interview opportunity, which I thought sounded like a great time and way to get others to see some of my blogging, and then heard that I could actually make my own mage and join the team if I was up to it! How could I turn that down? I have to say there hasn’t been one time since then that I have regretted that decision.
Red is always super motivated and taking step after step to move forward with the success of the blog which is very inspiring. He has also become a very great friend who has made me feel welcomed since day one. He also proof reads and helps me to edit each post I make on the page which is incredibly helpful and keeps me from looking like a fool to all of you so I certainly appreciate that as well.
It has been of great help to my writing since joining and I feel that the format us mages use to review games really helps you to look closer at what made the game great or not so great. It has also helped me reach a wider audience each time I post and at the same time helped me meet more kind and interesting people who share my same passion for video games which is the main reason I started blogging in the first place.
So here’s to The Well-Red Mage! A place where we can all come together and be ourselves while talking about that which binds us or discuss civilly that which makes us different. I am proud to be a part of such a wonderful hub for entertainment discussion and hope that I am able to continue to grow as a writer and enjoy the company of each of you on my continued journey in the big wide world of gaming. Congratulations on the incredible first 2 years and may there be many more to follow.
I want to really thank all of our readers and our patrons, the great Warriors of Light, for supporting The Well-Red Mage and making discussion, games writing, and community something worth championing. I especially want to show how grateful I am to our contributors as well. Mages, you all have been a real source of inspiration for me. Thank you for sharing your voices and, more personally, thank you for your friendship. I believe the world of thinking about games is enriched by your thoughts, which in turn enriches the culture. If time is the most valuable thing someone can spend, then I’m glad I’ve spent so much time here. Happy birthday, magedom!
Who knows what’s next?
Joie de vivre,
-The Well-Red Mage
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