Good morning, fight fans! After a rollercoaster of sign-ups the cast and crew of Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars has been decided, and today I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce the amazing folks who are going to be involved in this year’s competition. I’ll give a brief introduction for each blogger and for those sponsoring a character, I’ll introduce that character and their ship as well. First, let’s say hello to the judiciary, the three individuals who will ultimately decide the winner of Shipping Wars!
MEET THE JUDGES
Jace has the high honor of being the first person to sign up for Shipping Wars – a brave decision despite never having been involved in the event before! Jace and I have spoken a few times in the comments of Adventure Rules and he always has kind and insightful things to say. And if you’d like to sample some of that insight for yourself, you should certainly consider checking out Jace’s blog Zen Mind, Zen Life, a space for discussing Buddhism, mindfulness, and meditation. As someone who first encountered mindfulness as a mental health treatment, I particularly enjoyed seeing his thoughts on meditation as self care – it’s a practice I fully recommend to anyone else struggling with depression or anxiety. You can also see his posts on Twitter @ZenMindZenLife.
ANDREW AKA THE INK-STAINED MAGE
Once upon a time, The Well-Red Mage joined the Blogger Blitz as a competitor during our first year, and ever since there’s been a positive relationship between the Blitz and folks who write as part of the mage community. Andrew is an avid reader who shares about the books he loves regularly on Twitter @AndrewTurnwall. Of course, this is a gaming competition, and Andrew’s gaming props are not to be underestimated. As the Ink-Stained Mage, he has written game reviews for the illustrious Well-Red Mage website including their review of the celebrated indie title Celeste.
Our final judge is someone I had the pleasure of meeting via the Normal Happenings collaboration The Games That Define Us. Heather shared a beautiful story about her experience with World of Warcraft and I fully encourage you to read it. Once you’re done checking that out, pop over to her own blog Just Geeking By where Heather discusses the geek lifestyle from varied perspectives including video games, beauty, and health. You can also say hello on Twitter @JustGeekingBy, where I have learned to value Heather’s kindness and excellent book recommendations.
I’m super excited for our three judges because every one of them is new to the Blogger Blitz – no preconceived notions here, folks! This is going to be a fun crew and I fully recommend you check out their other works while you wait for the competition to get started. Now let’s dive into the cast: the bloggers who are submitting characters to the competition along with the gaming icons they’ve sponsored!
MEET THE COMPETITORS
ALEX SIGSWORTH AKA THE PURPLE PROSE MAGE
Our first Blogger Blitz veteran to join Shipping Wars is Alex Sigsworth, another Well-Red Mage contributor as well as a skilled blogger on his own site, The Purple Prose Mage. Alex is a racing game enthusiast but that’s not all he covers by a long shot – his reviews include films and comics and he also writes pointed opinion pieces such as this gem about the state of AAA gaming. You can also find links to his work on both websites at his Twitter @AlexSigsworth. Alex has a directness that’s easy to appreciate and he’s got a good head on his shoulders, too, which I think will match nicely with the character he’s chosen for the competition!
Mortimer Goth is a recurring character in The Sims series of video games (which I didn’t realize were not chronological until my research for this post). Some aspects of his story and identity shift from game to game but he is generally portrayed as intellectual, classy, and charismatic. Bella Bachelor is his childhood friend, crush, and eventually his wife and the mother of his children. She is also the victim of a mysterious disappearance, suspected to be an alien abduction – can winning the Blogger Blitz reunite Mortimer with his beloved?
AROUND THE BONFIRE
Our next competitor is a Blogger Blitz newcomer from the gaming blog Around the Bonfire. Of course, I say gaming blog while acknowledging that there is plenty more going on on their site – Around the Bonfire features reviews on television and books in addition to video games, as well as essays such as this one on the portrayal of money in video games. If long-form articles are your jam then huzzah! Bonfire has you covered with writing that hammers every aspect of the topic of discussion. You can also see their posts on Twitter @ATBonfire.
Ashley Williams is a party member and fierce ally in the Mass Effect series. She’s a tough soldier who is loyal and prefers to do her talking with her many scary guns. Despite her gruff exterior she also has an intellectual side and is an avid fan of poetry. Her romance with the player character Commander Shepard can take many forms depending on how you play through the series, so it will be interesting to see how Around the Bonfire portrays them in the kooky world of Blogger Blitz!
WINST0LF AKA THE BIZARRO MAGE
Another member of the mage community, Winst0lf is a self-proclaimed retro gamer and weirdo who also shares his writing on his own website, the Winst0lf Portal. This is a great site to check out if you’re a fan of poetry or short fiction – I really enjoy the concept of his story dice series and trying to figure out how the symbols on the dice inspired the story that came out of them. Perhaps the best way to keep up with Winst0lf’s fiction writing and games writing is to follow him on Twitter @winstolf.
Morgana was the first character I didn’t have to research, though I’ll link a little something here for those who want to read about him in more detail. Morgana is the mascot character of Persona 5, a mysterious cat being who has lost his memory of life before becoming a Phantom Thief. He is smitten with Ann Takamaki and refers to her as “Lady Ann,” her beauty serving as his inspiration to fight for truth and justice. His persona is the legendary swordsman Zorro, who grants Morgana a specialty for wind attacks. Will winning the Blogger Blitz finally earn Morgana the attention he so desires from Ann?
Another Blogger Blitz veteran, FlameFlash jumped into Blogger Blitz: Black Sheep last year to fill a vacancy created by someone who had to leave, and ever since I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying his quirky sense of humor and appreciated his advice and support via Twitter @flameflash. On his gaming blog Monk of Mists, he shares video clips of his gaming experiences such as this gem of banishing a blue shell upside down in Mario Kart 8. I’m not much of an Overwatch guy myself but if you’re a fan you should definitely check out his plays of the game.
Tyrande Whisperwind is the high priestess of the moon goddess Elune, and this grants her magical powers related to the moon and stars. World of Warcraft has a rich history and Tyrande has accomplished a lot of things in her time – the important thing for us here at the Blogger Blitz is that her lover Malfurion has spent time trapped in a 10000 year sleep called the Emerald Dream. Perhaps by winning Shipping Wars with her magical arsenal, Tyrande can finally wake her husband and be reunited with him at long last.
During Blogger Blitz: Black Sheep, Pix served as a judge and read the posts submitted by other competitors. This year, she’s stepped out from behind the bench to compete! Pix runs the gaming blog Shoot the Rookie where she posts some excellent top fives as well as hosting fun community events such as the Blogovision event along with Overthinker Y. Pix is a blast to talk to, and you can do so on social media by following her on Twitter @Pix1001.
Itsuki Aoi is the protagonist of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (pronounced “SHARP-eff-eee”), a game I haven’t played before but certainly want to (Switch port, please?). He’s a regular high school student until he is brought into the world of the Japanese music industry as well as Fire Emblem, where he fights alongside Chrom as his mirage partner and specializes in the rapier weapon type. His ship for the competition is Yashiro Tsurugi, a cold and professional master of the art of singing and dancing. Can Itsuki thaw the chilly Yashiro by winning the Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars?
In the legend of the Blogger Blitz only two champions have been crowned so far – and once again the very first champion has returned to the competition! Lightning Ellen shares her thoughts on gaming from the blog Livid Lightning, where she tells stories of her misadventures in whatever game she happens to be playing at the time (in recent months that’s been Mass Effect). Ellen’s style is relatable and engaging – you feel like you’re just talking to her over a cup of coffee when you read her articles. You can follow her on Twitter too @LightningEllen if you want to stay up-to-date on her contributions to other sites like The Well-Red Mage or AmbiGaming.
What will be very exciting to longtime Blitz fans is that Ellen is returning with her original character in tow: Lightning Farron is back! Ellen has chosen to ship Lightning with Fang, another tough lady who joins the party late into Final Fantasy XIII. The two are stalwart friends and Ellen wants to emphasize how the power of love shared by friends is just as mighty as that shared by lovers. Lightning’s got plenty of ammunition to back that up thanks to her versatile gunblade and a variety of magical powers granted by the gods of her universe. For those who haven’t played Final Fantasy XIII (or, like me, you missed its various sequels), you can read up on Lightning here.
Clockworth is a newcomer to the Blogger Blitz universe but he’s the newcomer I know best – the two of us are friends AFK (that’s “away from keyboard,” Mom) and knew each other long before Adventure Rules even came into existence. We’ve been talking about Pokemon and Smash Bros since before we had jobs, homes, or spouses, and now he’s here in Shipping Wars to test his writing chops. While he does not currently have a blog active, he has an extensive history of writing in the wrestling world, where he competed in fan writing competitions as the wrestling persona Vantage. You can check out his wrestling and Nintendo-theme content on Twitter @tcclockworth.
His sponsored character N is a major character in Pokemon Black and White versions. N’s love for Pokemon is a powerful one that leads him to want to free them from their trainers, but a crew of bad actors point that love in a sinister direction. N understands the thoughts and feelings of Pokemon in a way that other trainers do not, and it is because of this that he is able to have such a powerful friendship with the Pokemon on his team. Will that bond be enough to carry him to victory in Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars?
Our final competitor is another that I met through the wonderful The Games That Define Us event, where KT shared a lovely article about the inspiration she received from the story of one Samus Aran. Since then I’ve followed KT on her blog Wintendo64 where she shares her thoughts on games as well as tutorials for her cosplay, such as this one from the Castlevania anime. Oh, did I not mention she does cosplay? You definitely want to follow her on Twitter @wintendo_64 so you can see her works in progress as well as the final product of her excellent crafting skills.
Geralt of Rivia is the protagonist of the Witcher series of games, a witcher who has an immensely storied history over the course of multiple video games as well as comics and novels. What’s important to know is that he’s fast, strong, clever, and cares deeply for Ciri, who he thinks of as a daughter and the closest thing to a relative he really has. With a wicked pair of swords on his back and a skill for alchemy to enhance his already impressive abilities, can Geralt’s steel and silver prove his love for his daughter during Blogger Blitz?
I hope after seeing all of the excellent competitors and judges we have lined up for this year’s competition that you are as excited as I am for Blogger Blitz: Shipping Wars. Next Monday will be the announcement of which competitors will be battling each other in the first round as well as the full descriptions of the events in which they will be competing, so you’ll want to come right back here to Adventure Rules on Monday, July 22nd at 9 AM EST to see what’s coming down the pipe for Blogger Blitz!