Greetings, fight fans! Last week the official sign-ups for the Blogger Blitz: Black Sheep competition were held, and a number of great bloggers signed up to sponsor competitors and to judge the competition. Today I’ll be introducing each of those bloggers and sharing a little bit about their blog and (for the competitors) the villain they’ve brought to the competition. This also gives me a chance to practice drawing the characters and allows me to get my lousy first attempts out of my system before the official tournament starts, plus the added bonus of introducing any video game characters you may not already recognize. So let’s jump right in and meet the cast!
CHRIS OF OVERTHINKER Y, SPONSORING XEHANORT OF KINGDOM HEARTS
First but certainly not worst is Chris (Twitter: @overthinkery1), my good buddy from the philosophical gaming blog known as Overthinker Y. Chris participated in last year’s Blogger Blitz as a judge and returns this time around to compete in the tournament with the mastermind behind the convoluted story of Kingdom Hearts, Xehanort!
Xehanort’s evil expertise is the long game – he has contingencies for his contingencies and he’s been plotting to throw the world into darkness for ages. Xehanort is part scientist, part philosopher, part combat expert, and all evil. His influence on the Kingdom Hearts series is impossible to ignore – he has turned pure hearts to darkness and is always ten steps ahead of Sora and his mentors. In the Blogger Blitz, we’ll get to see his brilliant mind put to tasks of a very different nature – will his skill at planning and command of dark magic carry him through to the end?
Chris is a talented blogger with a number of interests and hobbies. He has written at length about gaming fashion, covering topics such as belts and jackets and even co-hosting the High Score Haute Couture event (where the tables turned and I got to serve as a judge for one of his community events). His other artistic pursuit is that of music, and last year he put together a number of cool tunes as part of his Musical Mayhem series (another event in which I participated). When it comes to his most recent work, Chris has been reclaiming older posts from past blogs and sharing them again, and that has led to some really interesting discussions about old commercials, music in games, and every topic in between!
ATHENA OF AMBIGAMING, SPONSORING MARJOLAINE OF DRAGON AGE
Our next competitor is the goddess of wisdom herself, Athena (Twitter: @TheAmbiGamer), the mastermind behind the psychological musings of AmbiGaming. Like Chris, Athena was a judge last year and this time is returning to the Blitz to jump into the fray. Her sponsored character is the cunning Orlesian bard Marjolaine!
Marjolaine has all of the classic skills you might associate with a bard – her music grants useful buffs or curses foes with debuffs, and on top of that she’s a skilled seductress. But Marjolaine isn’t just gorgeous; she’s cunning as hell and believes firmly in betraying before being betrayed. The cold precision of her archery is matched only by the precise way in which she targets her opponents’ weaknesses and takes advantage of them when they are most vulnerable. Can charisma and cunning carry her to the championship?
While equally as smart as Marjolaine, Athena is just about the nicest person you could ever expect to meet. Her Monday Metacognition series focuses on thinking deeply about various gaming topics; some of my recent favorites have dealt with returning to a game you tried before and having an unexpected emotional reaction to a video game. Perhaps her most ambitious current project is her Year of the RPG series in which she is playing a number of grand RPGs for the first time this year – right now she’s working through The Witcher III, but she’s also been through Skyrim, Baldur’s Gate, Chrono Trigger, and others, so RPG fans will want to check that out!
WILLIAM OF WILLTENDO, SPONSORING GHIRAHIM OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD
Competitor number three is fellow Nintendo blogger William (Twitter: @Will_Tendo) who is here representing his gaming blog Willtendo. William is a Blogger Blitz newcomer and he brings another newcomer along with him – the wickedly fabulous Ghirahim of the Legend of Zelda series!
Ghirahim fashions himself the king of demons, but don’t let his impeccable taste in wardrobe fool you – Ghirahim has a lot of power to accompany his style. He’s a complicated villain who sometimes toys with his foes and others tries to tear them to pieces in a vicious rage. His powers run the gamut from teleportation to materializing swords and daggers to nigh-impenetrable flesh that allows him to block even blows from the legendary Master Sword like they are smacks from a fly-swatter. Can Ghirahim prove himself the true king of evil?
William’s blog is the place to be when it comes to Nintendo coverage, and he has a good variety of content ranging from ranks to reviews to rants about the latest news. The great thing about Willtendo’s structure is that most posts fall into one of these three categories, giving you a consistent range of content so you know what to expect. More recently, William has become part of a podcast called Challenger Approaching which has some great content so far – I particularly recommend the most recent episode debating whether Dixie Kong or King K. Rool should represent the Donkey Kong franchise in Smash Bros, and the previous episode covering William and his co-host Sterling’s impressions of Smash Bros 64. That was particularly interesting to me, seeing the perspective of folks who came to Smash 64 after playing other Smash titles (as opposed to folks like me who played it when it came out originally).
FLAMEFLASH, SPONSORING SIGMA OF MEGA MAN X
Our fourth Blogger Blitz competitor is actually our eighth – the original holder of this spot unfortunately had to leave the competition due to other priorities. However, rather than mourn our lost we’ll celebrate what we found – a newcomer named Flameflash (Twitter: @flameflash) along with Sigma from the Mega Man X series! Flameflash was gracious enough to step in during the eleventh hour and make sure that the competition could take place, so I’m very grateful to have him in the Blitz.
Sigma is the boss of what is perhaps the best Mega Man game ever, Mega Man X, and continues this tradition throughout most of the series. His signature weapon is the beam sword, but he’s not just good at slashing things. His artificial consciousness is fused with a virus that effectively grants him technological immortality, he can produce massive blasts of concussive energy to obliterate his foes, and his machine charisma has allowed him to build an army of robots that serve his every whim. Will machine overcome man in this year’s Blogger Blitz competition?
I hadn’t met Flameflash before he signed up for the competition but it didn’t take much perusing of his blog to see that he has lots of cool hobbies and really loves his kids. His posts are short and sweet with good quality photos. On the gaming side of things, he has a separate blog called Monk of Mists where you can check out his gaming videos for titles such as No Man’s Sky and Overwatch. There’s a little something for everybody between both blogs, so if you’re like me and hadn’t met Flameflash yet, go say hello!
ALEX SIGSWORTH, SPONSORING CHARLES JERICHO OF DRIVER
Our next competitor is Alex (Twitter: @AlexSigsworth) of the blog Alex Sigsworth, an aptly-named website where he shares posts about both video games and films. He’s a newcomer to the Blogger Blitz but that doesn’t mean he or his sponsored character, Charles Jericho, should be underestimated!
Jericho is a classic crime boss complete with the fast cars, the loyal army of thugs, and the skill with a sawed-off shotgun. He’s a ruthless guy who wouldn’t show mercy even to someone who shows mercy to him (literally, that actually happens) and his greatest weapon may very well be the extensive resources offered to him by running a criminal operation. He may not have the superpowers of many of our other cast members, but perhaps that humanity will give him an edge in the quirky Blogger Blitz challenges!
Alex’s blog is the place to be if you are a driving game enthusiast. He is currently working through a list of his top 50 video games, many of which are well-known driving titles including Need for Speed and even Driver 2, one of the games in which Charles Jericho makes an appearance. If you’re into film content, Alex covers news around the Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok’s Netflix debut as well as the trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp. You can also catch him at community events hosted by other bloggers, such as in this Video Game World Cup submission!
MICHAEL OF GIT GUD AT LIFE, SPONSORING FRANK FONTAINE FROM BIOSHOCK
Our next competitor is a brand new member of the adventurer community, Michael (Twitter: @gitgudatlife) from Git Gud at Life. As a new follower, Michael of course is our next Blogger Blitz newcomer, bringing new life and a new franchise to our competition. That franchise is Bioshock, as the next villain entering the fray is Frank Fontaine!
Frank Fontaine is a mysterious figure whose true name isn’t even Frank Fontaine – talk about misleading! Fontaine is a crime lord who uses his theatrical skills to manipulate other people into doing his bidding, including the player character of the first Bioshock game. His skills at grifting make him dangerous as a criminal, while an overdose of the gene-editing chemical ADAM makes him a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield and gives him command of the elements of fire, ice, and electricity. Can Frank’s wicked combinations of performance-enhancing substances, criminal knowledge, and impersonation skills lead him to the top of the competition?
Now being a new follower of GGAL, I was drawn immediately to the GGE3 series, four posts all about reactions to different news at E3. If you (like me) are still trying to absorb everything from E3 and want to eat up as much news as possible, then these posts are definitely for you! I particularly enjoyed this rather academic perspective on whether or not the events of Fallout could be a reality – I’m glad to have met Michael and look forward to seeing his posts in my feed from now on!
ELLEN OF LIVID LIGHTNING, SPONSORING BOWSER OF SUPER MARIO BROS
Our next competitor is Lightning Ellen (Twitter: @LightningEllen) from the gaming blog Livid Lightning. Ellen is not a newcomer to the Blogger Blitz competition – in fact, she happens to be the reigning champion! She fought her way to victory with Lightning Farron of the Final Fantasy series, but this time is championing a very different sort of character: Bowser from the long-running Super Mario series!
While some of our villains may be from series that readers might not have played, I feel that Bowser almost needs no introduction. The King of the Koopas has been kidnapping the princess of Mushroom Kingdom for over thirty years, his perseverance unmatched as he returns every single time he is defeated. Bowser has a huge variety of abilities gained over his long career, from his physical features like deadly spikes and fire breath to magical powers to a number of clever devices and advanced traps. He’s no slouch when it comes to more mundane abilities either; will his mastery of tennis, go-karting, party-hosting and soccer-balling give him an edge in the competition?
Ellen recently gave her blog the reboot treatment, bringing it into the modern age like an old franchise getting a snazzy remake! She’s slowly been introducing her old blog posts to the blog along with some added perspective from now-Ellen, which is really engaging to read. You can see her rise to the championship in the original Blogger Blitz, relive her first ever review from her old blog, and repair an NES. She’s not just reliving the old days though – you can see newer posts from Ellen like her Mass Effect Andromeda first impressions as well as her debut post on AmbiGaming all about how fictional characters can inspire us.
LUNA OF GAMERS UNITED, SPONSORING THEL VADAM OF HALO
Our final competitor this year is our very first competitor of the first Blogger Blitz, Luna (Twitter: @xGamersUnitedx) from the blog Gamers United! Luna was the first blogger to sign up for this competition when it was still new, scary, and I had no idea what I was doing. She was also ahead of her time in that last year, she was the only person to bring a villain to the competition! This time, she’s sponsoring the alien antagonist of Halo, Thel Vadam.
Thel is a military commander and employs all of the abilities which that entails. His troops are fiercely loyal to him and he is a tactical mastermind, particularly when it comes to employing daring and unusual tactics in combat. He likes to fight on the front lines and is particularly skilled with the energy sword, making him a mighty opponent in melee combat. Is Thel’s combination of tactical fighting, melee prowess, and an army at his disposal enough to conquer the other villains of the Blitz?
While Luna may sponsor villainous evildoers in the Blogger Blitz, she herself is a kind and fun person to talk to. Her blog has plenty of gaming content to enjoy – in fact, right now she’s in the midst of a thirty day video game challenge. She’s got a lot going on these days so she has had to include some posts all together in one, but it gives you lots of fun questions to answer like the best sidekicks, toughest bosses, and coolest weapons!
OUR FIRST JUDGE, PIX OF SHOOT THE ROOKIE
Now that we’ve met all the competitors, let’s take some time to introduce the judges who will be evaluating each post submitted to the competition! First is Pix (Twitter: @Pix1001) of the gaming blog Shoot the Rookie. I met Pix pretty shortly after the first Blogger Blitz, so this is her first opportunity to participate in the event and she is our final newcomer. She’s no slouch when it comes to community events, though – she’s hosting one of her own right now in the form of the Video Game World Cup event. She was also the co-host of High Score Haute Couture, and has some of my favorite top five posts in the gaming community: I particularly recommend this one about five songs that remind her of video games, and this one about snow worlds!
OUR SECOND JUDGE, KIM OF LATER LEVELS
Our next judge is an Adventure Rules regular and a master of community events: Kim of the blog Later Levels (Twitter: @LaterLevels). Kim participated in the Blogger Blitz last year as a competitor and submitted the most musical competition post we’ve had so far. This year, she’s decided to switch things up and judge the competition instead. Kim has plenty of community event experience thanks to Question of the Month and the quarterly Blog Party, but don’t think that big projects are her only forte. Kim writes great stand alone articles as well, including the recent experiment she conducted on retro vs classic consoles and her article about the misunderstood villain of the Monkey Island series, LeChuck.
OUR THIRD JUDGE, DESTINY OF ADVENTURE RULES
Returning to the Blogger Blitz after judging the competition last year, it’s my wife Destiny (Twitter: @switch_to_decaf)! Destiny originally volunteered to judge last year’s competition after hearing me explain the concept and liking the idea of a blogging competition all about video game characters. Honestly, I didn’t think to tell her when the second competition was coming up because although I knew she had fun, I didn’t think she cared one way or the other about being involved again. Turns out when she found out I was holding sign-ups for Black Sheep, she wanted to come back and see even more great posts from the adventurer community. Destiny is technically representing Adventure Rules as she doesn’t have a blog, but if you’re interesting in checking out her creative work you can follow her on Instagram at switchtodecaf to see all of her art!
So there you have it, fight fans, all of the judges and competitors for Blogger Blitz, Black Sheep! Now that you’ve met everyone, be sure to go give them a follow on their blogs as well as on Twitter so that you don’t miss any of the posts for the competition, as well as the banter and good-natured ribbing. In particular, you’ll want to head to my Twitter this Thursday around 6 PM EST to see the live drawing where I’ll be revealing which competitors are facing each other in the first round, as well as the wacky events they’ll be competing in. If you miss it, no worries – it’ll be available in post form on Monday, July 16th, at 9 AM EST. But if you want to be in the know, Twitter is the place to be for all Blogger Blitz news as it happens! Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you Thursday for the live drawing!