Hello adventurers and welcome back to Round One of the Blogger Blitz! Last week, we saw NekoJonez and Lightning Ellen face off in Retail Rumble. If you missed the winner of that competition, I highly encourage you to check out their match! This week, Kim of Later Levels and Luke of Hundstrasse go toe-to-toe in glorious battle to see whose character would make the best mailperson when the neighborhood’s roughest dog is on the prowl.
If you’re not familiar with the rules of the competition, Kim and Luke each submitted a post on Monday describing why their character would win the event. If you missed those posts, you’ll want to read them before moving on. Kim sponsored Guybrush Threepwood while Luke sponsored Claire Redfield. I encourage you as you read their articles to follow their blogs – these competitiors are wonderful bloggers and you don’t want to miss out on their content!
Once the articles were submitted, a panel of five wise judges read over them and began to ruminate upon who would win the competition. They then submitted their votes, which are totaled to decide the winner of the round. Our judges are James from Quickly Tap X, Athena from AmbiGaming Corner, Chris from Overthinker Y, Geddy from Nostalgia Trigger, and my wife, who is here representing Adventure Rules but also has an art Instagram in case you want to question why in the world I do my own blog art when I have an incredibly talented wife who could make far superior images. If you aren’t following these folks, you should remedy that immediately, because they are each amazing in their own unique way!
Two competitors. Five judges. Only one winner. Who will it be? The only way to find out is to turn up the tunes and get this race started!
Our two competitors this week each embraced a different style as they began their race. While Luke utilized a narrative approach much like our previous competitors, Kim chose to change things up by delivering her argument as a sea shanty! This musical number really gave her piece some punch and made it stand out immediately in the eyes of our judges. Destiny in particular was impressed with Kim’s skilled use of visual rhyme and slant rhyme in addition to traditional rhyming, as this kept the shanty from feeling too sing-songy throughout. In addition to skilled construction of the post itself, the fun and goofy nature of the shanty fit well with the atmosphere of the Monkey Island games. Geddy said “Guybrush’s story was fun and full of whimsy (not to mention tied to a children’s cartoon theme song), matching the Monkey Island universe.”
This isn’t to say that Luke’s approach was looked down upon! Multiple judges commented on how his narrative style perfectly fits the survival horror genre of Claire’s game of origin, and he really seemed to capture her personality too. James noted “Luke did a great job of really getting into character, and I could hear Claire’s quips and thoughts in the way I would had this been a part of an actual Resident Evil Game – to the point where I could see the ‘Just once I’d like a normal job….’ line coming, and felt a weird sense of completeness when it arrived.”
When it comes to presentation, the judges felt these competitors were very much even. Looks like neither Threepwood nor Redfield is going to pick up an early lead!
For the sake of those who are perhaps unfamiliar with the characters competing here, both bloggers included in their argument some method of explaining important events or details. This was a clever technique that allowed both competitors to make full use of their five hundred words without having to waste any on explaining an unfamiliar concept or item. For Kim and Guybrush, this took the form of links to pages explaining the different references being made. For Luke and Claire, footnotes were the preferred method, offering explanation or justification when needed.
The judges enjoyed both of these methods of explaining important details, but one just barely edged out over the other. Destiny stated in her analysis that “while Kim has pages showing how her items work, Luke has great footnotes showing HOW Claire would actually be able to do this.” Kim’s method presented information while Luke’s method presented evidence. You don’t have to question if Claire can outrun a rabid flesh-eating monster, because Luke points out that the source material demonstrates this ability.
Now let’s get to the meat of the arguments – what are these characters bringing to the table? Both definitely took different different approaches in this regard. While Claire brought little more than her crossbow and motorcycle, Guybrush has a pretty vast array of tools at his disposal. These tools are not only literal items he carries like the rubber chicken or magical treasure map, but also helpful individuals he has befriended like the sagacious voodoo lady. Between excellent advice and useful navigational items, it’s no trouble for Guybrush to find his route and execute it.
Claire has experience of her own, though. Her speed and manual dexterity are clearly demonstrated by multiple feats she has accomplished throughout the series, and while her motorcycle isn’t always ideal for sharp cornering, it can still give her an edge during the easier parts of the route. There’s no reason a secret agent accustomed to handling biological warfare couldn’t handle a typical mail route.
Of course, there’s one thing that maybe makes this mail route somewhat less than typical…
Cue the actiony music! This wouldn’t be a Blogger Blitz event without something crazy interrupting the action! This time around, the three-headed hellhound Cerberus is here to mess with things. A big part of succeeding at this event is in how Cerberus is handled. So how did the competitors fare?
In a fun switch of tone for the post, Claire dealt with Cerberus in what might have been the least survival-horror strategy possible: fetch! A quick shot of her triple-crossbow sent enough arrows for each head of Cerberus, the dogs momentarily distracted by sticks to give Claire the opening she needed to escape. Luke presented this solution in a way that didn’t break the grim reality he’d created despite its more lighthearted tone, and James felt that “the whole time I was reading it I was seeing it all play out in my head quite vividly …….Which was a big part of the reason the bait-and-switch worked so well when it landed at the end, and I done me a genuine lol. Even more impressive, the cheesy one-liner is absolutely in keeping with the RE franchise’s tone.”
Meanwhile, Kim skillfully pulled from the lore of Monkey Island and recalled an occasion where Guybrush faced a similar enemy to Cerberus – the piranha poodles of Elaine Marley’s mansion. Guybrush need only recreate his solution to that little problem: lace some delicious meat with the petals of a flower that doubles as a sleeping agent. Once Cerberus chows down on that, he’s out for the night and Guybrush can go along his way no worse for wear. Chris loved it. “[Guybrush] sorted the mail, checked his map, picked up some supplies, put Cerberus to sleep and handled any potential Redfield interference before heading off, so you know his route went flawlessly after that!”
The judges loved that neither of these competitors offered a straightforward solution. To quote Chris: “they both came up with a bit of ingenuity and figured out ways to get around Cerberus that weren’t just ‘fight/ stab/ shoot/ run away and hope'” The first thing Destiny said after reading both articles was “I’m so glad they both found a way to outrun Cerberus instead of trying to beat him!” So while Cerberus was arguably the biggest obstacle to deal with in this challenge, both competitors easily managed to circumvent him with little effort.
With Cerberus out of the way, the only thing left to challenge the competitors is – well, each other. This is an area where we start to see a clear difference in the approaches of these two competitors and it is going to start to affect the game. While Guybrush is nowhere to be seen in Luke’s narrative and Claire offers nothing about how she would defeat him, Kim makes sure her sponsored hero has a dastardly contingency plan to deal with his opponent.
What Athena refers to as Guybrush “[taking] out his competition in the most delightful of ways!” is the slow and painful torture of Claire Redfield using a voodoo doll. If you’re familiar at all with the concept of a voodoo doll, then you get the idea of how Guybrush’s weapon works. Jab some pins into some limbs and Claire is feeling the pain. James found himself asking “Could Claire Redfield deal with Cerberus *and* some Voodoo shenanigans? Is that even allowed, or is it it a legitimate example of exactly the kind of haphazard loophole exploiting Threepwood would embrace??” This method of dealing with Claire is pulled from the Monkey Island game, is clever, and perfectly fits Guybrush’s personality, and making the choice to interfere in this way was a big moment for Kim.
Things are really getting down to the wire now! Guybrush has a pretty great setup here – a great way to take out both Cerberus and Claire, all the navigational tools he needs to find his route and deliver the mail successfully, and even a catchy song to sing during his errand. If Guybrush had planned all of that in advance and been totally prepared for the match beforehand, he’d pretty much have the whole thing in the bag. However, the judges didn’t exactly agree on whether or not Guybrush did prepare for the match.
While Chris clearly got the impression that Guybrush got all of his supplies together beforehand, Athena felt that it seemed like Guybrush was literally interrupting his mail route to go and ask for directions or to get the tools he needed in order to proceed. “I still have questions about how he actually performed the task: would he have been able to stay away from the dog if he had gotten lost and had to stop to visit the Voodoo Lady?” While Guybrush certainly demonstrated his ability to deliver mail, outpace Claire, and defeat Cerberus, he didn’t necessarily demonstrate his ability to do all three simultaneously. “I would have liked to see one more detail about either him performing the tasks together…or him subduing the dog before delivering the mail” (quote by Athena, emphasis by me). Guybrush admitted that getting lost was a possibility he had to consider and that he would need help in order to take out Cerberus and Claire, whereas Claire seemed able to handle herself pretty well.
If it seems pretty much neck-and-neck at this point, that’s because it really was a close match! Guybrush may have admitted to possibly getting lost and didn’t have a clear explanation of how he’d defeat Cerberus and Claire simultaneously, but he at least had a plan for Claire. Claire only prepared for Cerberus, and one can’t help but wonder if she could realistically overcome the powers of voodoo and a ferocious demon all while still delivering the mail the fastest.
I cannot emphasize enough how each judge felt that both competitors this week performed strongly and that choosing between them boiled down to, as Athena described it, “the smallest of details.” Geddy stated to me that “I changed my mind several times while trying to decide” and James added “both Kim and Luke should be immensely proud of their entry, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them both.” Destiny wanted me to make sure that I emphasize just how much she enjoyed both posts, and how both competitors did an excellent job with their word limit and constructing effective arguments. And Chris began his judgment by saying “this was a tricky one, because both characters are so obviously well-equipped to deal with the situation!” All five judges had a hard time choosing the winner and want both Kim and Luke to know that you did excellently!
That being said, someone has to win this thing, so let’s tally up the votes-
Sure hope Google led me to the right theme song! Kim and Guybrush fought really hard for this win, but what it boiled down to for the judges in this round was natural ability. Nothing Guybrush did was against the rules – the powers and tools each character wields are a part of who they are and are perfectly legal in the competition! But for the purposes of this particular event, some judges felt that the fact that Claire could win on natural ability alone gave her the edge over Threepwood.
Geddy felt that “Claire has more of the skillset to run from vicious flesh-eating things,” and Destiny stated that she felt Luke did an excellent job of proving why Claire was capable of this event both physically and emotionally. And while Chris came out with the impression that Guybrush prepared all of his tricks beforehand (and consequently voted for him), Athena understood the argument as stating that Guybrush could take the trip to the voodoo lady on the side if needed and felt that would be hard to pull off in the midst of the event.
So congratulations to Luke of Hundstrasse for a hard-fought win this week! Kim of Later Levels did excellently as well, and if you’re not following these folks then I highly recommend you fix that. As they’ve demonstrated here in this event, they are both quality writers and deliver stellar content. And thank you again to the five fantastic judges for making the hard choices – I certainly wouldn’t want to shoulder such a heavy responsibility, so kudos to you all for doing so with grace and level heads. If you haven’t had enough of the Blogger Blitz yet, lucky for you there is still more to come! Next week is gonna be a little different than the past two weeks, so you definitely want to swing by on Monday to find out what to expect. For the full match schedule as well as more detailed introductions of each character and blogger, you can check out this post.
Thanks again to everyone participating in the competition as a judge or as a competitor. Conversely, if you’re in the crowd, thank you so much for reading and I hope you will go show your support to all of the hardworking bloggers who are making this event possible. For the most up-to-date Blogger Blitz news and to see the good-natured banter between the competitors, I highly recommend heading to Twitter and checking out #BloggerBlitz, or simply following Adventure Rules. There’s more to come in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to stick around so you don’t miss a moment of the Blogger Blitz!