June is over and so is one epic month of content creating! Forty-seven posts in thirty days and this is what the editor in me felt like, mostly because I had to go so fast I kept making my own typos!
Haha I kid, of course!
Working with TWRM these past two years and some change has been a real work of love, a passion project, and sharing my baby with others has helped it grow into something I couldn’t predict. I simply could not have passed through June alone with the event we hosted but I did so hand in hand with (sometimes kicking and screaming and being dragged by) many awesome writers across the world!
Written media is dead? People still read out there and they responded for the biggest month we’ve ever had. I know because I’m one of those readers that enjoys reading, and I loved reading every single contribution this month!
If you’re a writer reading this, or conversely a reader wanting to write, be encouraged that there are people who still like to read in this YouTube and Instagram world. And TWRM isn’t even on the high end of readership metrics, too!
So let’s break down everything that went down this month. A lot happened and a lot may have been lost in the shuffle. This can help you catch up on anything you might’ve missed. We reviewed…
First off, it’s my distinct pleasure to thank our contributors for sharing their thoughts and their words. Here I go, starting with reviews.
After some time away, the newly christened Hopeful Sega Mage (from Art of Redress) cracked open June like so many nuts with a retrospective review of ESWAT: City Under Seige for Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. The Mail Order Ninja Mage (of Home Button) took a hard but earned gaze at the workings of Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory for Nintendo Switch.
Our most recurring contributor ever, the Midnight Mystic Mage (of Sublime Reviews), crafted not one but two reviews this month: primarily a review of Shadowrun: Hong Kong for PC and secondarily a review of Lovecraftian The Lost Child on Switch. Next to this veteran, one of our newest contributors, the Sometimes Vaguely Philosophical Mage (of Overthinker Y) delved into the mechanical deeps of Cultist Simulator, for PC, which in reading I found to be more thematically meta than I could’ve imagined.
The ABXY Mage (@ABXY_Reviews) convinced the universe that Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition for PS4 simply must be played. Even my soul was swayed. And to close out the month for reviewing, the Badly Backlogged Mage (aka Mr. Backlog himself) created the most compelling revisiting of a classic of controversy, Migthy No 9 for PS4, which is a real conversation starter!
For my own part, these well-red fingers put forth many words for the enjoyable shmup Earth Atlantis for PS4, the relaxing explorer Shape of the World for PS4, and Moonlighter for PS4 (which I HIGHLY recommend). Oh! And our new Blue Moon Mage (aka @wrytersview) made her debut this month, as you’ll find in the challenge section below.
The 30-Day Console Challenge (#TWRM30DayConsoleChallenge on Twitter) comprised the bulk of our content this month. Typically, we wait for July to do these, as we’ve done in the past with our Original Challenge followed by the Elemental Challenge on genres, but when the idea struck for this year’s challenge, I just had to get the proverbial ball rolling as quickly as possible.
Because of the nature of this year’s challenge with a maximum limit of writers, we weren’t able to accomodate everyone who expressed interest in joining. Bear in mind as a small consolation that TWRM hosts events of all sorts throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled for future happenings where you can partcipate as you like!
1 month of writing from 29 different wordsmiths on 30 different systems parading 210 of the best games from the past 41 years of gaming is a lot to enjoy, but I definitely encourage you to take the time to sift through these articles, share your thoughts on some of the best these 30 systems have to offer, and absolutely share your top 7 picks for as many of them as you can! I’m partial to the SNES, of course, but while I had a heck of a time filling out my 6th and 7th spots, others had their own unique challenges.
Here is the full roster, structured in loose chronology, complete with links for ease of navigation!
6/1: Personal Computers – the Purple Prose Mage
6/2: Atari 2600 (1977) – the Badly Backlogged Mage
6/3: Commodore 64 (1982) – TheDeviot
6/4: Nintendo Entertainment System (1983) – Richenbaum
6/5: Atari ST (June 1985) – the Hopeful Sega Mage
6/6: Sega Master System (Oct 1985) – Hungry Goriya
6/7: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive (1988) – Game Boy Guru
6/8: Game Boy (1989) – Blue Williams
6/9: Game Gear (Oct 1990) – Esper Dreams
6/10: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Nov 1990) – the Well-Red Mage
6/11: PlayStation One (Dec 1994) – the Hyperactive Coffee Mage
6/12: Nintendo 64 (1996) – the ABXY Mage
6/13: Sega Saturn (Nov 1994) – Trashlevania
6/14: Game Boy Color (Oct 1998) – 16-bit Dad
6/15: Dreamcast (Nov 1998) – Edwin @ Player2Reviews
6/16: Game Boy Advance (Mar 2001) – the Iron Mage
6/17: GameCube (Sept 2001) – the Midnight Mystic Mage
6/18: Xbox (Nov 2001) – the Green Screen Mage
6/19: Nintendo DS (Nov, 2004) – Normal Happenings
6/20: PlayStation Portable (Dec, 2004) – the Black Humor Mage
6/21: PlayStation 2 (2000) – the Infernal Accountant Mage
6/22: Xbox 360 (2005) – Trashlevania
6/23: PlayStation 3 (Nov 11, 2006) – the Final Fourteenth Mage
6/24: Nintendo Wii (Nov 19, 2006) – the Sometimes Vaguely Philosophical Mage
6/25: Nintendo 3DS (2011) – the Valiant Vision Mage
6/26: PlayStion Vita (Dec 2011) – the Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage
6/27: Nintendo Wii U (2012) – the Moronic Cheese Mage
6/28: PlayStation 4 (Nov 15, 2013) – the Timely Mage
6/29: Xbox One (Nov 22, 2013) – the Mail Order Ninja Mage
6/30: Nintendo Switch (2017) – Mr. Panda
I did write out some observations about the Console Challenge and its nature as a set of lists labeled the top best games, which you can find in a weekly update post on Patreon. I’ve another observation and I think this is the most important one. Though each list article was labeled the “Top 7 best” for each system, there is one thing that was the deciding factor and that was “experience”.
Rarely did anyone opt to include a game that they hadn’t played themselves on the basis of its objective merits and reputation (though that did occur). Instead, contributors stuck to the games they themselves had enjoyed and could personally vouch for. That’s important in talking about the top games for any system and it was evident from the beginning when potential contributors expressed interest in writing about only those consoles with which they were most familiar.
The big takeaway is that we can’t argue against someone’s top picks (beyond comparative objective qualities) because a lot of these were decided on the basis of experience, and experience or lack of it isn’t something we can fault someone for. Financial situations, upbringing, place of residence, culture and sub-culture all influence the kind of experiences we possess, naturally, unless we go out of our way to gain more experience. In the case of many contributors, maybe all of us, we simply haven’t played every game on our respective systems. The crux of the matter is that we respect each other and our choices in these picks because then we’d to an extent be dismantling someone’s experiences, which to some degree they cannot have helped.
One of the dumbest things is when someone says “I can’t believe you haven’t played [insert game here]!!”
In the midst of all this console talk, the Mail Order Ninja Mage (of Home Button) spearheaded the rebirth of an antiquated anthology: the Interview series! “Press A to Chat” aims to pay special attention to interviewing the mages, our writing team here at The Well-Red Mage, with the goal of simply letting all these personalities we work with shine. You have no idea. Hahaha we enjoy quite a bit of discussion in Mage Chat on Discord and so it’s awesome to get more in-depth into the minds of some of the creators here.
Who knows where this series will go? Thus far we’ve seen an interview with the Hyperactive Coffee Mage (of Games with Coffee) that addressed what some video game characters can say to us personally, as well as an interview with myself about past writings, aspirations, and what TWRM is for. Check the chats out!
To even further highlight the discussionary nature of our enjoyable community, the aforementioned Hyperactive Coffee Mage (Games with Coffee) and the Hopeful Sega Mage (from Art of Redress) put together a talk that any Sega fan would love. The past of Sega, the present of Sega, the potentiality of Sega… it’s all here to be postulated and mused over.
Oh hey there was also this minor event in June called “ehthree”. In order to support the small event, I decided to do up a triple threat of articles with full humor on display. That’s not going to be to everyone’s taste but I have to get it out of me or I will explode. “Seven stupid E3 predictions that will definitely never happen in this timeline” was all about a bunch of anti-predictions, things that would be hilarious if they happened but probably won’t ever.
Carrying that concept on still further, I dug deep into the passionate pleas for more Smash characters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with “Twenty-Four Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Yet To Be Revealed, If Ever!” and “Smash Fighters Honorable Mentions!”.
A single laugh rolled down my cheek and that’s enough for me!
To close on a more heartfelt note, I’ve known some people who have had to deal with the trauma of bullying, a prolonged battle all the way into adulthood. I have had my share of dealing with the stuff, as well, and the inspiration arose recently when my son got hooked on The Sword in the Stone to write about that film’s underlying themes of dealing with a variety of bullies. So I wrote “The Sword in the Stone and How to Overcome Bullies” in the hope that it would both give some substance to a rather episodic and seemingly disjointed animated classic but that it would also give some food for thought and encouragement to those who need it.
Finally, on the Patreon front, I’m happy to welcome some new Warriors of Light who extended their support for TWRM! Thank you and thanks also to those who have supported us for some time now. WordPress recently charged me for the custom domain package so yeah you can be sure that support is going directly into the site.
I’ve also looked to make more use of Patreon’s Lens that gives some insight into behind-the-scenes things. Now that the busiest month I’ve ever experienced blogging is over, I’m looking to get back into the swing of things with weekly updates and monthly tips ‘n tricks articles (and TWRM Radio, too!). You can check out everything to do with our Patreon campaign and what supporting TWRM means for us, how it helps us build a new future, by checking out the Patreon mage page.
Like they say at Sony, greatness awaits.
In your service,
-The Well-Red Mage
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, a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!