Big Up The Blitz: Episode Three (part one)

Welcome to the best-ever and most fantastic unofficial Blogger Blitz spin-off series, where this time we’re recapping all the results so far and speculating on the final.

Now, all good compilations need a montage, so… well, as this isn’t an audiovisual format, you’re just going to have to imagine this:

 

*80s music begins*

AN INTENSE MONTAGE UNFOLDS BEFORE YOUR EYES: sneezing WoW characters, Geralt cooking, Sims at a wedding, a weird little cat thing on a hike!

The bloke who does the X Factor voiceover says SOMETHING ABOUT IT BEING EPIC!

LOTS OF POSES!

All the competitors wink at the camera and their names flash up on the screen!

MUSIC SWELLS AND THEY ALL WALK INTO THE LIGHT TOGETHEEEEEER!

 

Well, that was epic!

Not as epic as BLOGGER BLIIIIIIIIIITZ

Not quite, but that’s what we’re here to talk about! Welcome to the third episode of Big Up the Blitz, where two superfans discuss the biggiest, bloggiest, blitziest collaboration on the internet. That’s Chris in normal text –

– and that’s Kim in italics. We’ve both been involved in both previous Blitzes, and now we’re here to lend our voices in an unofficial capacity as the greatest hype people ever to… hype Blogger Blitz.

Let’s dive right in there and start recapping our matches so far, shall we?

You know it!

 

ROUND ONE MATCH ONE:
Sick Day Saviour
Ashley Williams/ Commander Shepard (Around the Bonfire) vs Tyrande Whisperwind/ Malfurion Stormsage (Flameflash)
VICTOR: Tyrande

First up was an epic battle between Ashley Williams (sponsored by Bonfire) and Tyrande Whisperwind (sponsored by FlameFlash), In some ways this match got off to a shaky start – care to explain for our viewers, Chris?

Well, Kim, for the first time we had something resembling an official structure for the judges to frame their decisions. In past BBs, it’s been very much a free decision as to which post each judge personally felt was a better entry, however they decided to define that; this year, we have categories to be numerically scored! The first category, ‘event compliance’, caused a bit of a rumble straight away, as the description for Sick Day Saviour specified that each character’s ship should come up against a ‘kooky’ illness; ATBonfire’s more serious tone didn’t quite hit that note for the judges.

The first Blogger Blitz battle is hard for both the competitors and judges. Both teams are feeling their way into the event and how it’s going to work this year, and nobody yet knows quite what to expect. While Bonfire’s log entry format showed creativity, the judges felt it failed to show emotion – despite acknowledging that it was a good format to use for a professional like Shepard.

I never envy the first-round competitors! We learn a lot from the first match about what the judges are looking for and how different structures and writing styles will play into this year’s event format. I think this year we definitely saw the word limit hurt both competitors in this first match, with each of them needing to dedicate a lot of words to building their world – but we thought this might happen, now that each post has to portray not one but two characters and their relationship.

The judges praised both Bonfire and FlameFlash for their great depictions of the world around their characters but ultimately, felt that this left the competitors at a disadvantage when it came to focusing on the relationships. And that’s what this year’s Blogger Blitz is all about: proving your character’s relationship with their partner is the best.

I would have had no idea how to approach an entry this year, I’ve got to admit. Selling your relationship and coming up with a good solution/strategy for the event? It’s a tall order, so I think every single competitor did a great job just to come up with something that fit the bill!

The judges selected FlameFlash as their winner for this match, as he successfully conveyed the bond between Tyrande and Malfurion despite the word-count obstacle. What was up next, Chris?

 

ROUND ONE MATCH TWO:
Cuisine Collector
Geralt/ Ciri (KT Martin) vs N/ Pokémon (TC Clockworth)
VICTOR: Geralt

Well, our second match of round one saw Geralt of Rivia, sponsored by KT Martin, up against TC Clockworth’s champion of choice, N and his Pokémon. Both were tasked with dishing up superb cuisine, and both decided to go about it in a classic Blitz format: the simple descriptive argument! We’ve mentioned that one of the three judging categories was event compliance; another is post structure and writing style, and there wasn’t all that much to separate KT and TC in this category.

This meant that KT and TC could state their cases without all the additional ‘fluff’, so it would all come down to who presented the best argument. It sounds simple enough but it wasn’t: the judges were split in their decision. KT’s post was well-composed but the judges felt it read like a travel brochure, while TC’s contained vivid descriptions but its flow made his post a little difficult to follow.

The deciding factor for at least one judge, then, ended up being the third criterion: depiction of the characters and their relationship! When I first saw that TC had picked N and all his Pokémon I thought that there was a lot of potential to do cool stuff but that it would be much harder to communicate a strong relationship, and I think the fact that KT only needed to sell a relationship between two characters rather than many may have made the difference here.

It turns out that her decision to include images in her post was an excellent one too. Along with skilled references to various side-quests within The Witcher series, they allowed the judges to get into Geralt’s world effectively, Perhaps the competitors should have considered using a PowerPoint presentation, eh Chris?

That presentation may not have won me the round, but I still feel it was worth it just to go down in Blitz history as perhaps the most out-there formatting choice to date. I imagine it’ll be surpassed sooner or later, though!

Perhaps by a sea-shanty!

That’s a good point – you and I have both been on both sides of the entrant-judge line, and we’ve both got the odd distinction of having submitted entries in formats nobody else to date has used! 

Which makes us well placed to provide some awesome commentary, don’t you think? So let’s get our butts over to match three!

 

ROUND ONE MATCH THREE:
Hectic Hiking
Lightning/ Fang (LightningEllen) vs Morgana/ Ann Takamaki (Winstolf)
VICTOR: No contest; Morgana advances

Blogger Blitz veteran LightningEllen was due to compete in this one against Winst0lf, with Lightning Farron taking on Morgana. Sadly though she was unable to take part – but that doesn’t mean her adversary was let off the hook! The judges still put him through his paces so he could prove he was worthy of a place in the semifinal.

As we’ll see, Winstolf certainly was deserving of that place, but he didn’t slack in this first round. He turned out some great character interaction which really played to his strengths and his pair’s.

That’s right, Chris – so much so that he ended up being awarded with the highest average score so far in the competiton! Winst0lf delivered an action-packed submission that demonstrated excellent imagery and banter.

For concerned Blitz fans, we can confirm that Ellen is safe and well. We’re sorry that she wasn’t able to take part this year – as the returning victor of the very first Blitz, we’re sure Lightning and Fang would have given Ann and Morgana a run for their money, but at any rate Winstolf more than earned his semifinal spot by anyone’s standards.

 

ROUND ONE MATCH FOUR:
Wacky Wedding
Aoi/ Yashiro (Pix) vs Goth/ Bachelor (Alex Sigsworth)
VICTOR: Aoi

Next up was match four, a battle which saw Pix 1001 partner with Itsuki Aoi and go up against Alex with Mortimer Goth. I have to say that the majority of characters featuring in this year’s Blogger Blitz aren’t ones I’m familiar with, but the competitors all did a great job at making their personalities come through in their entries.

That’s a good point! Let’s think… I knew vaguely who Geralt was, but haven’t played any Witcher; I’ve played Sims games but wouldn’t have known who Mortimer Goth and Bella Bachelor were; I know N and his Pokémon, although I couldn’t tell you which ‘mons he has, and I played Mass Effect and FFXIII a few years ago. So that’s maaaaaybe three out of eight sets of competitors I’d have recognised before the contest; I know at least one of our judges is very au fait with Warcraft, but I’m sure each entry did a good enough job of introducing these characters that a judge already being familiar or not shouldn’t have affected anyone’s odds…
(Wait – how could I forget?! I do know who at least one half of Pix’s team is, sort of, on account of his appearance in The Video Game Fashion Show, but that was mostly an introduction to his sense of style rather than who he is.)

This is just one of the challenges judges face when taking part in a Blitz event: how do you remain impartial and choose the best entry, when you may know some characters better than others? Another challenge is comparing entries in all sorts of formats – and Alex brought us another never-before-seen one this year.

It’s true! I’m always impressed by the variety of formats on show, and I doubt we’ve seen the last of the Blitz’s New and Unique One-Off Formats, but Alex’s newspaper article was one of those innovations that’s so simple and well-suited that I couldn’t believe nobody had thought of it before.

His clever format choice and strong delivery gave him an edge when it came to the structure category. But how did he fare in terms of event compliance? Two of the judges enjoyed the fact he piled on complications and added to the original brief for this round – but one thought this detracted from the point of the match.

It’s a balance we’ve said before is a tricky one: with competitors needing to define their own obstacles, it’s a fine line between giving yourself too much to handle and not allowing enough of an opportunity to overcome problems in awesome fashion.

Maybe this was part of the reason why the judges didn’t have much to say about the relationships themselves in this round: they got a little lost in the discussions around structures and event compliance. This meant the final verdict was very close but the win was awarded to Pix, because she was more focused on the obstacle that needed to be overcome in this round.

It was definitely interesting to see where the judges’ focus was directed during each round. I think we saw all three judges considering all three criteria; when one or two of the categories were very closely tied, which I think happened every time, the third would come into play as the decider.

The scoring system has certainly added a new, more analytical element to this year’s Blogger Blitz. I can see how it could give judges a good starting point for their discussions – although sometimes it can be hard to define what makes an excellent entry. Sometimes it just has to have that [cue stereotypical announcer voice] X-FACTOR!

I think previous years have allowed some freedom for judges to decide their own criteria about what makes a good post, and hopefully the new structure has been helpful to the judges when trying to make their difficult decision! I’ll be interested to see whether there are any changes to that for next time, since Ian is always doing his best to optimise the format for everyone involved.

Anyway, that was round one! Congratulations to all involved on turning out another great show – and with that, shall we turn our attention to the semifinal matches?

[in X-Factor voice again] LET’S DO IT!

hype intensifies

So we have the following competitors through to the semi-finals: Winst0lf, FlameFlash, KT and Pix. Who was up in the first round, Chris?

Well, it’s time for a commercial break – so you’ll have to click here and pop over to Later Levels to find out in PART TWO of this most excellent presentation!

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4 comments

  1. Ahh! This is so good. Although it isn’t helping with the nerves. You guys know blogger blitz inside out so it is really good to see your take on things.

    Also, am I right in thinking that my poor boy Yashiro got no votes in High Score Haute Couture or was that someone else?

    Liked by 1 person

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