Over the last month or so, something very special has been happening.
Under the watchful eye of curator and event runner Adventure Rules (Twitter here, and blog here), a group of brave adventurers has been pitting some of their favourite gaming characters against each other in a series of increasingly bizarre challenges as part of the inaugural Blogger Blitz, with judges including yours truly.
The first round in the bracket has just wrapped up, with the semi-finals due to start next week, so now seems as good a time as any to do a quick round-up and recap of what’s been going on so far. Here’s the official bracket as it stands right now, by the way, but if you’re going to read that then there’s almost no point reading this. Oh, well. Let’s dive in to the first set of matches!
By the way, I’ll only be summing these up in pretty short order, but I really would recommend going and having a read of everyone’s posts. The way that this works is that each competitor posts a 500-word argument for each round at the beginning of the week, and those have taken some great forms including short stories and what I described in my judgement as a ‘Socratic dialogue, but with one party completely mute’. The judges then have the rest of the week to deliver their verdicts, which get tallied up for the results – and the results posts are equally worth reading, since they tend to take the form of hilarious descriptions of actual battles represented a bit like a Phoenix Wright argument.
First up, NekoJonez and his chosen champion, Indiana Jones, took on LightningEllen and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Lightning Farron, in the Retail Rumble! Jonez is a friend of mine – and my co-host in the 999 playthrough – and LightningEllen is someone I hadn’t known before, but purely based on that beautiful animated header I just had to start reading her blog, which is one of the rare ones to combine personal touches with excellent reviews really well. The two collided in a challenge fit for Resident Evil 4’s Merchant: who could select and market a product in order to get more sales than the opposition? It was a hard-fought battle, with Lightning bringing out the sexy and Indy trying his best to redeem his franchise after Crystal Skull… happened. In the end, Lightning came out on top, and moves on to the semi-finals. But who will her opponent be?
Well, that’ll be Mega Man, as represented by the Well-Red Mage. The Blue Bomber advanced to the second round by way of forfeit when Lodestar_Valor and the Pokémon Ranger were unable to compete, but that didn’t mean that we went without a match. Mega Man had to produce a hit song and music video in a dance-off for the ages, which he did with aplomb.
So what will the clash of titans involve, when Lightning meets Mega Man in the semis? Well, let’s just cover the other first-round matches first, and then we’ll get to that.
In week two (Mega Man was week three, but I’ve grouped it based on who’s facing off against whom in the second round), we saw Claire Redfield, sponsored by Luke of Hundstrasse, race against Later Levels’ Kim (she who hosts the Question of the Month, the latest of which has just gone up, and who kindly let me interview her about music a while back) and her chosen warrior, Guybrush Threepwood, to deliver as much mail as possible while avoiding the deadly grasp of three-headed hellhound and ten-year-old me’s least favourite Kingdom Hearts boss, Cerberus. Claire’s argument took the form of a gripping thriller story, while Guybrush actually sea-shantied his way around the match, so these were two really entertaining reads. Claire stormed to victory by successfully posting all her mail juuuust ahead of Guybrush, but it was a close-fought battle!
And finally, Claire’s semifinal opponent was decided when chef and Zelda fan extraordinaire Teri Mae of SheikahPlate pitted Link (who else?) against GamersUnitedGG’s Luna and her choice, the Joker, in a battle of love and war. These two brave souls had to find a mate for the most disgusting of all creatures, the foul-breathed marlboro, and a hard fight this was indeed. Link managed to show that he was no stranger to matchmaking, while the Joker’s plan was well-executed but perhaps not quite in the spirit of romance, and so Link advances to face Claire Redfield in the second semifinal match.
So there’s your second round matchups, folks: Lightning versus Mega Man and Link versus Claire. Not rivalries I ever thought I’d see, but hey, that’s what crossovers are for!
But what will their tasks be…?
Well, things had to get shaken up a little bit for the semifinals, didn’t they? Couldn’t just have it be a simple single-element contest again, no sirree, and so the runner-ups from the first round were asked to contribute their ideas for the next set of matches. Lightning will be taking on Mega Man in…
SOCCER SURVIVAL. NekoJonez suggested a theme of ‘how would each character survive in their opponents’ world?’, which has been mashed up with Lodestar_Valor’s idea of a sporting event for the ages to create a bizarre hybrid apocalypse-cum-exhibition-match in which each champion must captain a football (that’s soccer to you non-Brits) team to victory, but to get to the stadium they’ll first have to make their way through twenty-four hours of enemies and arenas in the game world their opponent comes from. It’s going to be crazy, y’all, and that’ll be happening next week!
Then we’ve got Claire trying to best Link in a battle of…
VILLAIN ESCAPE. Kim’s suggestion – how will the warriors escape when the dread pirate LeChuck throws them into the ocean with an extremely heavy weight around their ankles? – gets blended up into a delicious mix with a slight reimagining of Jonez’ concept to create an event in which the two competitors must switch roles, get interrupted by pirates and death, and then return to claim victory. So Link will have to fight off zombies and Claire’ll need to save Hyrule from Ganondorf, but to get there they’ll have to escape LeChuck’s trap.
I seriously can’t wait for these matchups. It’s going to be awesome.
I’ve mentioned the competitors as we’ve gone along, but some love is also due to the judges, and Adventure Rules has been running a Judge Appreciation Week for that very purpose. Check out the posts on each of the judges: Destiny, Athena, Geddy, James and… me! (My appreciation post isn’t up yet, but I’ll be intrigued to see what our gracious host finds to appreciate about me!) Some serious appreciation also has to go to our overlord, the host himself, and I hope the other judges might join me once this is over in doing a little appreciation post of our own.
So that’s the Blogger Blitz! Round One was intense, awesome, hilarious and occasionally a bit smelly, and the semis can only get better. What will the final be?! I DON’T KNOW BUT I’M HYPED.