You may have noticed that things have been on a sort of unofficial hiatus around here over the last week and a bit; my only excuse is that life is just pretty hectic right now. Last week I had a week off work, which was good for me but which was spent trying to achieve as much as possible in the time available while also relaxing; this exercise in contrary goals meant that I just didn’t get any writing done, so… let’s try to return to form, shall we?
I can’t think of a better way to resurface than with a quick run-down of the first-round matches of this year’s Blogger Blitz, a super-mash-up spectacular featuring bloggers running their favourite gaming villains through a series of bizarre mega-events. For some more info on the competitors and the specifics of their matches in the first round, I’ve got a handy little primer here, written before the start of the event and which also links to Blitz host Ian’s introductions of participants and events (which are much better than I could have done, naturally, because he’s the host).
Also, check out Ian’s own semifinal schedule – which also contains links to the entries and results posts for all four first-round matches described below!
FIRST ROUND MATCH 1. MARJOLAINE def. BOWSER in TOTALITARIAN TEATIME
In the very first face-off, last year’s champion LightningEllen – whose work you can find at LividLightning – guided Bowser, of all people (of all Koopas?) through a bizarre tea party involving a depleting stamina bar and constant interruptions. Her foe: Marjolaine of Dragon Age, ably aided by Athena over at AmbiGaming.
This was a ridiculous match, in the best way. These two are my gals, and they’re so tight with each other that they couldn’t even bring themselves to beat each other up, instead opting to deliver a never-before-seen collaboration of sorts. I knew this was going to be an intense battle as soon as I saw the draw, but I couldn’t have predicted how it went down!
It was a battle that saw both participants staying in character in the best way, with Marjolaine using her wits to pit tea-party-goers against each other and outsmart the stamina system while Bowser roared and wreaked havoc. I really didn’t envy the judges this year for having to find a way to decide a winner in this one – I’d have had trouble, not just because they’re both friends but because it was just so darn close.
In the end, former Blitz judge and first-time competitor Athena triumphed over the reigning queen, which must surely put her as an odds-on favourite. You never know what’ll happen in the Blitz, though, and I look forward to seeing how Athena does in the next stages (and what her opponent/s come up with to outmanoeuvre her..!).
FIRST ROUND MATCH 2. XEHANORT def. MARIO in THE GREAT BADDIE BAKE OFF
I’m genuinely surprised and a bit honoured to be able to say that I won my first-ever Blitz match! Like Athena, I was a judge last year, and getting to return in this different role was a very fun experience. I found myself up against another two-time competitor, though: Luna from GamersUnitedGG, who did an awesome job last year and returned to do just as brilliantly this time!
We were pitted against each other in a contest to determine who could bake the most delicious, cakey, delicious cake – while avoiding the knife of a not-so-friendly Tonberry. Luna whipped up a super-creative scenario in which she totally sabotaged Xehanort, destroying his baking aspirations while devising her own tasty recipe; I went in a different direction, getting Xehanort to just sort of direct his various selves and henchmen to collect ingredients from across space and time, and I got some useful feedback about the shortfalls in my approach – which I’ll hopefully be able to use to up my game for the semis.
I’ve got to just give major props to Luna; I really didn’t expect to win when I read her post. If the judges has just had slightly different inclinations she could well have been a winner last year and again this time, for reals!
FIRST ROUND MATCH 3. GANONDORF def. SIGMA in BLOGGER BLITZCEPTION
This one was crazy. Ganondorf and Sigma (from the Mega Man series, I believe) – repped here by Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate and FlameFlash over at Monk of Mists – had the superlatively peculiar task of getting a monkey to write a blog post for them. I really have no idea how I would even have begun to approach this one, so it’s to the bloggers’ credit that they both managed to come up with some seriously creative arguments for their victory which were also entertaining stories in their own right!
Sigma made a hilarious hash of attempting to ‘interface’ with the bizarre organic creature he found before him, while Ganondorf resorted to violence. This move split the judges, with the argument that it was less Ganondorf-y than, say, callous manipulation on one hand, and the argument that it was totally in character and a smart way to solve the problem efficiently on the other. We saw here how the new judging format (last year, the five of us submitted reasoning to Ian without seeing the others’ views; now the three must discuss collaboratively, then vote) can lead to some interesting points being raised in favour of subtleties that the others might have missed. It’s all very meta and very exciting if you’re a Blitz nerd like I apparently am!
Ultimately the contest was won on the rules: the event specified that the post-within-a-post (the one the monkey was to write) would form the basis of the entry to be judged. Sigma got the monkey to do some great stuff, but it didn’t really end up writing a compelling article, while Ganondorf’s monkey turned out some lovely words about… despair and conquering, and stuff.
It was perhaps the funniest of the first-round matches, and well worth a read!
FIRST ROUND MATCH 4. FRANK FONTAINE def. CHARLES JERICHO in PARKING PANIC
Finally, Alex Sigsworth adopted the panache he regularly displays on his blog to adopt the character of Charles Jericho (of Driver) as he faced off against BioShock‘s Frank Fontaine, who had Michael from GitGudAtLife at the reins. Their challenge: find the one remaining parking space at VillainCon while defeating a different gaming boss on each floor.
You should probably just go and read the posts on this one, because I really don’t know how to explain it. Jericho’s smart methods of dealing with his foes (he stuffed Kirby into a shotgun and blasted him at Darkeater Midir, for heaven’s sake) were extraordinarily impressive, but somehow Fontaine came out on top through the power of a plot twist that is just… well, I don’t think we’ve ever had something like it in the Blitz before, and it still blows my mind that he actually pulled it off.
The results post even got a twist ending of its own! The question now will be whether Fontaine’s able to pull another stunt like this one, or will he have to resort to something different in order to keep things fresh? We shall soon find out…
SEMIFINAL MATCH 1. MARJOLAINE vs GANONDORF in MOVIE MARAUDERS
Now, here’s something interesting (I can’t take credit for it, though; Ian himself noted this on his Twitter):
Athena’s just defeated LightningEllen, last year’s overall champion. Ellen beat Teri Mae in the final last year. So… if Athena beats Ellen and Ellen beats Teri Mae, does this mean Athena should beat Teri Mae? Or is this a Pokémon starter types situation where Athena beats Ellen beats Teri Mae beats Athena?
WHO KNOWS, is the only answer. We’ll soon find out, anyway, as they’re about to meet in a titanic battle to determine which is better at… hosting a movie night. Obviously, as they’re villains, their snacks will need to be stolen from another party being hosted nearby!
This one sounds relatively simple but has the potential for a lot of creativity in coming up with solutions, as well as in how the bloggers frame the problem. Keep an eye on this one, as both competitors should be considered very strong going into this semifinal round!
SEMIFINAL MATCH 2. XEHANORT vs FONTAINE in BREAKING THE BROKER
And the second of your semis will be myself and Xehanort against GGAL and Fontaine. We’ve got a truly odd challenge ahead of us: find the Shadow Broker (from Mass Effect) and extract information from him about, er, prime real estate. Our goal is to find out the best possible place to set up a new hideout/ lair/ castle, or whatever strikes our fancy, but the Broker won’t make it easy!
This is going to be an interesting one for both of us, as I think we both have a good set of options when it comes to tracking down and manipulating people. Xehanort and Fontaine both have history on that front! It’ll really just come down to who presents the more compelling tale with the tightest argument, I think, and that means… well, I’ll have to try pretty hard to keep up with Michael, if his first round’s any indication, put it that way!
Those are your semifinal matches, then, and within a couple of weeks we’ll know what the final looks like. It’s already a great year (I feel compelled to say that it’s just as good as the first, but that one was so good that I can’t say it’s better – yet!) and it’s only one round in.