Hello, adventurers, and welcome to the final match of Blogger Blitz round one! Multiple bloggers have faced off in competitions both wacky and dangerous, and now it has come time for our final match before the semifinals. Last week The Well-Red Mage was dancing with himself, but now we’re back to a traditional versus match with all five judges ready to bring their thoughts on these two talented bloggers. And this week’s competition is all about the best thing in life: sweet, sweet lovin’.
If you are somehow not familiar with the rules, here’s a primer. Opponents and the events they are competing in were decided by a random drawing. On Monday, each blogger in the competition presented their argument for why their character would win. If you missed those, it’s good to be familiar with them before seeing the final results, so go read up on Link and the Joker and then come back! While you are at the blogs of these very talented ladies, I highly recommend you give them a follow and read their other articles, as Teri Mae of Sheikah Plate and Luna of Gamers United are quite excellent at what they do.
Once those posts were posted, our five patient and gracious judges took time from their busy lives to read the posts and put together some organized thoughts on the good stuff, the bad stuff, and who they thought won the match. I highly recommend you check out the blogs of these excellent individuals because they all deliver some really great content. In case you don’t yet know these glorious folks, they are Geddy of Nostalgia Trigger, Chris of Overthinker Y, James of Quickly Tap X, Athena of AmbiGaming Corner, and Destiny, who you can follow for her artwork on Instagram.
Two competitors and five judges walk into a bar. Only one blogger gets a hot date with Victory. So let’s put on some date music – wait, all video game date music is slow and lyrical and would put my readers to sleep? Okay, let’s put on some situationally inappropriate battle music and get this competition going!
For those of us who don’t know much about the universe of Final Fantasy, there are a few key things you need to know about the malboro. For one, this is a seriously ugly monster. Just look at him. Nasty! Second of all, he really likes to kill stuff, particularly a party of adventurous heroes led by the angsty lead singer of an early 2000s punk rock band. Third of all, malboro breath is as putrid as they come. There are so many vile chemicals in there that just getting breathed on by this thing can cause full-body paralysis and make you sick enough to die. But hey, that doesn’t mean that malboro doesn’t deserve love! What it does mean, though, is these characters have to work seriously hard to find that love.
Both bloggers did a pretty good job of providing reasoning for why in the world their character would even go through this mess in the first place. Link let’s no sidequest go unfinished, and all the Joker needs is a little financial incentive to grease the wheels. Destiny pointed out that it was a strong choice for Luna to include this reasoning because otherwise the Joker might not even participate in an event like this!
This week both bloggers chose a different style of presentation, Luna going with the narrative format we’ve seen previously BUT with the added flavor of the piece being written in first person. Teri Mae started with narrative in a fun “dialogue” with Link before converting to a more oratorical approach, focusing exclusively on the content of her argument. It was cool to see different styles in competition with one another and the judges thoroughly enjoyed both, particularly how both bloggers really incorporated their character’s source material and personality into the post.
Athena complimented Teri on “how [she] incorporated dialogue from Ocarina of Time and really captured Link’s personality in a few lines,” and James said of Luna “I think [she] really nailed Joker’s character, and her little vignette of matchmaking/self-interest/double crossing was something I could well imagine actually happening in a Batman game, comic or TV episode.” Both bloggers captured their character very well and so we’re starting off this match pretty evenly.
While both bloggers did a lot to hearken back to their source material, there was a difference in how often it was mentioned by the judges. Luna did an excellent job of portraying Joker’s character and she made a solid choice by bringing in another DC character (more on that in a minute), but when it comes to calling upon the original game Teri Mae knocked it out of the park.
As a Zelda fan himself, James commended Sheikah Plate’s knowledge of the series, stating “for fans of the Zelda games, that knowledge was most evident in the knowing little jokes Teri Mae made (lovingly) at the franchise’s expense – as funny as they were subtle – and as a Zelda fan, I enjoyed the little nods to some of the game’s recurring themes/foibles.” Chris pointed out specific moments he really enjoyed: “I love the bit about him just incessantly asking the same questions until he gets the information he needs! And the idea that the Triforce of Courage would be the thing that would allow him to actually hang out with Marly himself made me laugh.” Finally, Destiny complimented her use of the “wake up” moment that appears at the beginning of many entries in the Zelda series, in this case Ocarina of Time. Not only was Link’s character well-portrayed, but his series was too, and Teri Mae’s article was a love letter to the franchise in a way that the judges found really engaging.
One difference that stands out about these two articles is that one blogger offered a general solution while the other offered a specific solution. Teri Mae argued the “how” of Link’s ability to find love for Malboro, but Luna went the extra mile and included a specific character that Joker would pair the beast with: Poison Ivy. Ivy is a great choice for this plant-creature, and her ability to produce pheromones that draw men to her is certainly a pretty strong weapon for Joker to have in his arsenal.
The judges really enjoyed the decision to incorporate Poison Ivy into the scenario. Destiny actually called it a month ago when I first announced the events and who was competing in them! James called Poison Ivy “an inspired choice for matchee,” and Chris stated “Poison Ivy is actually a really smart match for our Marlboro friend – I’m surprised I didn’t think of her straight away, so props to Luna for realising that Joker has an obvious solution to this thorny, smelly problem!” The Joker went the extra mile by offering a specific match for malboro and that makes a lot of difference in this event.
Are those wedding bells ringing? It looks like Joker has this one in the bag! I mean, he got an attractive woman to agree to marry the malboro, so that’s game over, right? Well, it’s not game over for the Joker, who still has to make sure he gets what he wants out of this scenario: cold hard cash. As malboro and Poison Ivy drive off into the sunset, their special wedding car happens to explode, giving The Joker the opening he needs to make off with all of the malboro’s hard-earned gil.
While the judges commended Luna for making a decision that is very much in-character for the Joker, it certainly did not help her win points in the competition. Chris stated “It was a fun story, but I don’t know if we really saw much in the way of convincing evidence that Joker would actually be able to match these two with any success.” Both Athena and Destiny questioned whether this method of getting what Joker wanted would even really pay off for him. “I don’t think Ivy would jump into Joker’s plan that quickly,” Destiny stated (a thought echoed by Chris in his comments as well). “And even if [the plan did work], how do we know the Joker got any money out of it?” Athena questioned whether an arranged marriage even really counts as successfully finding love for the malboro, especially when any affection the creature feels is the result of pheromones from Poison Ivy – “and whether the pheromone trick worked wasn’t entirely commented on.” Joker’s plan lacked the clarity needed to guarantee that it would be successful, and even if it was, as Geddy stated, this marriage is one that would likely end in divorce.
Now that Joker’s plan is up in smoke, it’s all up to Link to find love for the malboro. But since Teri Mae didn’t offer up a specific individual as a solution, how is she going to demonstrate that Link is capable of finding love for this horrendous creature? If you’ve read her article, you already know the answer: Link has done this before. Many times, in fact, throughout his many incarnations. Multiple Zelda titles feature Link playing matchmaker, painstakingly delivering letters and adventuring halfway across the world to help two very different people find love.
This is the part of Teri Mae’s argument that really swayed the judges in her favor. Geddy points out “where Link does have a strength is with bringing love together (Kafei and Anju, for example)…he’s done it before and he can do it again.” James summed it up very nicely: “I kept coming back to the fact that Link had done exactly this stuff many times, and – here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write – his experience playing interspecies cupid is hard to argue with.” He described this evidence as the “smoking gun,” the definitive evidence that Link has this challenge in the bag the whole time. Sheikah Plate may not have suggested a specific partner for malboro, but she demonstrated that Link will take the time and put in the effort to find an honest-to-goodness perfect match for this creature.
And there it is, Link’s victory theme playing as malboro rides off into the sunset with someone to love! Teri Mae stole the hearts of the judges this week with her subtle Zelda references, her loving tribute to the spirit and style of the series, and her factual demonstration of Link’s track record when it comes to matchmaking.
Although Luna didn’t snag any votes this round, it wasn’t due to lack of hard work. The judges had a lot of positive comments about her piece and ultimately it came down to the details. Everyone spoke highly of Luna’s command of the character; Geddy pointed out that it was “cool how the Joker was written to stick to what he knows, rather than trying to pull something uncharacteristic out of a hat!” James felt that “The Joker was quintessentially Joker in his approach to the challenge, and also had the perfect NPC in the form of Poison Ivy too. In any other week, that probably would have been more than enough.” And Athena loved “how devious the Joker was; he immediately sees this as an opportunity for himself to benefit, and goes about setting up the pieces so *he,* and not the malboro, benefits.” It was this truth to character that proved to be The Joker’s downfall – selfishness and love don’t work well together, and his plot had some holes that had to be addressed before it could succeed.
So with that, congratulations to Teri Mae and Link and a hearty “well fought!” to Luna and The Joker. This ends the first round of the Blogger Blitz, which means we are now getting ready for the semifinals. WHAT?! Talk about crazy! In a way it’s really flown by and I’m excited for what the next round will bring.
THIS PART IS IMPORTANT. On Monday, August 28th, I am going to be announcing the matchups for the semifinals and the events that each pair of opponents will compete in. This includes the schedule of when those matches will occur, so you absolutely do not want to miss that announcement. It’ll go up at 9 AM EST, and if you aren’t following me here on WordPress you can choose to follow instead on Facebook or Twitter to see posts when they happen. I have something else special for next week that I’ll be announcing as well, so be absolutely sure you come back on Monday for the full details!
Thanks so much to everyone involved in the Blogger Blitz. Whether you are a competitor, a judge, or an audience member, this event wouldn’t be happening without what you bring to the table. So thanks so much for your work and support, and I look forward to seeing you on Monday for the big news that’s coming! So long for now, adventurers!