I’ve had this award idea waiting in the wings ever since I was nominated for a PANDA Award by none other than Mr. Panda. The WordPress blogging community has done so much for me in just a few short years. When I started blogging, I did it to have a place to write without feeling constantly judged or feel like I was in some kind of popularity contest for likes, which plagues other platforms. I wasn’t overly concerned with reactions or comments here; I just wanted the space to say what I wanted, write my essays, and have my own site to post my fanfiction. I never imagined I’d become part of a fantastic group of bloggers who talk unabashedly about gaming, writing, anime, movies, and whatever the hell they want without impunity or undue judgment. This is what true nerdom means to me. I thought I was fed up and finished with most new games and most modern gamers, but then I realized through the friends I’ve made here that I didn’t need to use that defense mechanism anymore. I didn’t need to be the “perfect” gamer in order to prove myself despite my gender. I just had to be me.
Whew! Well, what all this is leading up to is…
THE ECLECTIC BLOGGER AWARD
I wanted to give back to the WP blogging community by creating an award of my own! I’ve been thinking about this for about half a year, though I’m going to have to add some bloggers to my list. Before that though, here’s the rundown of what the Eclectic Blogger Award is.
The Eclectic Blogger Award is presented to those blogs that are both eclectic and engaging, where conversation flows freely, where new and different ideas are always welcome. It’s to recognize blogs that always have interesting content to match the amazing, creative, and hard-working creators that make them possible. These are the blogs that inspire you to read, watch, play, and/or create content to further enhance not only the blogosphere but also the general zeitgeist, because they themselves enrich it with their existence.
- Nominate whomever and however many bloggers you want for the award.
- Share links from your blog for some of your favorite (or most eclectic!) posts.
- Mr. Panda – Who else could possibly get the first nomination but Mr. Panda who pilots a blog of the same title (now I’m imagining a panda steering a panda shaped airship, and it’s seriously adorable, but I digress). I remember I immediately started following him, because he talks about how he used Final Fantasy music for his wedding, and I did the same thing! I knew immediately that we’d be be friends. He reviews all the games on both his blog and YouTube channel, the latter of which is very convenient as I don’t always have time to read reviews, but I can listen to them at work. What makes the video reviews even better is sometimes his wife joins in and the format is just so fun, energetic, and informative.
- Cupcakes and Machetes – No bullshit book reviews and baked goods, because reading and eating are two of my favorite hobbies. Also puppies. If I had books, cake, and puppies, I’d never get off of my couch. This is the world I want to live in. I can’t even tell you how many books I’ve added and read because of this sarcastic lady here. If you want a real treat, her Goodreads’ reviews are the best thing to ever happen. She’s slightly more censored on her blog, but do not fuck with her on Goodreads 😀
- Ignited Moth – I don’t usually recommend setting moths on fire, but do recommend this blog. We’ve read so many of the same books and I can always use more graphic novel recommendations. Plus she’s a kick ass artist as well as being BFFs with C and M above. I’d love to hang with these ladies one day if I ever find myself in their locale. Coffee house or pub, it makes no difference. It’s the company and conversation that matters!
- By Hook or By Book – She claims she’s a former librarian, but I have to disagree. You never stop being a librarian (at least in my book :p), and this bookish lady proves it by not only reviewing more books in a week than I could in a year, but keeping up with all holidays, celebrity deaths, and dire current events where she’s certainly not silent about her feelings. She stands with the oppressed using the written word, and I appreciate every recommendation she’s ever sent me even if it might not be my cup of tea. There’s a reason Belle is her cover image #librarianforlife
- Livid Lightning – Lightning might strike twice in one place, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to catch her. The wild Lightning does whatever the hell she wants and cannot be contained. Currently, she sets fire to her own pages and the ones on AmbiGaming to the 13th degree (that’s one of the best ones, if you take her word for it…which I do) with deep examinations of games. it might be considered a bastard media, but she’s part of a growing movement to legitimize it. Personally, she helped me realized some core aspects about myself (INFJ for life!) so that when I wonder “Why am I like this?” there’s at least a reason if not necessary a complete explanation. She’s one of my best blogger buddies and ♫la la la♫ emotions? What are those?!
- Athena Veta – The Goddess of Wisdom runs one of the best video game essay/meta blogs on the interwebs, something I strive to emulate. It’s always refreshing to find kindred spirits who realize that games are much more than just blips on a screen, but rather a legitimate method for telling a story. It still baffles me how many people remain averse to this fact, and I can only chalk it up to ignorance and prejudice for the media, especially since I recall a conversation where I told someone I liked a game for its story, and she responded with, “I didn’t know video games had stories.” o.O Athena and her AmbiGaming crew (which includes a fore mentioned, awesome weather event) work overtime on their essays and metas, and the one on Chrono Trigger and the nature of reality proves it.
- Defy the Majority – I can’t look at Kirby now without thinking about this awesome blogger who’s made me want to play Animal Crossing as well as the big, puffball’s games! I can’t help but appreciate someone who diligently goes through my ramblings from quite long ago, reading through and commenting on them. She understands the struggle of not only keeping up with the backlog, but keeping up with talking about the backlog. I know it helps keep me honest and work on it, but it takes time away from, you know, working on the backlog :p
- Cheap Boss Attack – Friends don’t let friends not have RPGs to play. There have to be at least 20 more games in my collection directly due to him, because he either literally gave them to me or I bought them for peanuts. But I don’t base friendship on tangible items, but rather mutual understanding of similar interests. He introduced me to some of my favorite LPers and SOMA, a game that fucked me up for over a month, and that I gladly count in my top 10 games of all time. His “It’s the Freaking Weekend” posts are always something to look forward to (even if I’m sometimes off by like a week), and it’s just a positive gathering place for gamers to talk about what they’re playing with none of the “one-up-manship” you often find elsewhere #overthat We both agree with the somehow strangely controversial philosophy of “Let People Enjoy Things,” but that’s how I live my life.
- The Well-Red Mage – How do I even begin talking about The Well-Red Mage? He’s well; he’s red; he’s a mage;, and most important, he’s The. Terrible jokes aside though, when I was introduced to TWRM by someone who most certainly has a place on this list, it was like I finally found my gaming fandom home. TSN has not always had the best life. I was quite the targeting for bullying in my youth, and even when I found people who enjoyed video games, as well, there was that “one-up-manship” thing to contend with the added addition of sexism to boot. There was also just the sheer, fucking negativity and put downs. I definitely had people IRL who I loved talking with video games about but only when others weren’t around. One of my good friend is a huge Final Fantasy VI fan and he wants to cosplay as Sabin like I want to cosplay as Sephiroth. We can talk and bond over it, and (shock) neither one of us feels the need to put down the other for our favorite FF. I wish everyone I knew was so decent, and I found this type of behavior online as well. The buck stopped on The Well-Red Mages pages (sorry…it was too good not to use a page-y plural). There’s a mien of mutual respect even within critique, and following such a diverse group of reviewers helped me to realize if someone doesn’t like my favorite game as much as I do and/or has another favorite that doesn’t mean they think it sucks. Because this was my reality for so long, I always came into situations defensive and ready to fight, because I was expecting someone to be a jackass. It’s fucked up how the world prepares you to be insulted. TWRM’s goal is to change game journalism, and I now actually like reading game reviews (that aren’t my own. Shameful Narcissist. What do you want from me?), because the reviews are done similar to how I’d render them: thorough, researched, and insightful. I might not always agree with the assessment (The Last of Us, eh??), but I respect the reasoning behind it, and video games are something one can still have civil discourse about (so long as the hypotheticals don’t edge too close real life human rights analogues, but I think that could be another debate). Being able to disagree is an important aspect of being a well-rounded individual, because counter opinions make you re-examine your own to either alter or solidify them through critique.
- Space, Time, and Raspberries – Besides following the Rule of Three brilliantly, STR also has an ongoing serial about an adventurous snail named Elliot. She also taught me beautiful things can come out of despair and that’s a lesson I dearly need to learn.
- Inkbiotic – I have to resist the urge to verbally explode about her current book Peddling Doomsday, which I’m more than halfway through, but so far she’s 2-0 with novels (at least the ones I’ve read). Writers are by definition eclectic. We have to be. There’s no other way to gather ideas. Sometimes (I’ll admit) I skim through blog entries, not because I don’t love you all, but I don’t always have time to read every word, but I want to absorb every word this fine lady writes to the point I often want to cry when she only posts shorts. Writers might all be eclectic, but no two are odd in the same way.
- The Ink Garden – I revel in ink as you can see from this and the blogger above! This wonderful lady was one of the first to read my fanfiction and make me blush from the praise. We’ve kept in correspondence for the past year or so somehow bending time and space between my ridiculous schedule and hers. I think the first post of hers I saw was an ABC about writing. I remember doing it, but it’s been so long I don’t remember lol. I not only appreciated her for introducing me to The Well-Red Mage (I told you that was coming), but also just being a friend. One thing I’ve noticed is as bad as you might feel about not answering messages or comments, people never shame you for it. I kind of feel that if someone is a worst critic to you than yourself, they might not be a good person to have in your life. Now this is not to say that outside critiques are important, but believe me if I haven’t gotten to your message in a week, I’m kicking my own ass for it, and everyone else seems to be the same! I get so many apologies from people who feel bad they haven’t responded to me, and I’m usually so out of it, I have no idea what the hell they’re talking about, and even if I did, I have zero room to talk. I may appear outgoing on the internet, and if you met me, you’d probably think the same, but I’m actually very introverted and inwardly awkward. The internet allows me to be more of myself than I ever could, and TIG, as one of my first blogger friends, really helped bring that out 🙂
- I ♥ Old Games – One of the best parts of blogging is the fact that I have friends all around the world. My goal is to know at least one person in every single country so that I always have a place to crash 😀 Joking aside, I ♥ Old Games’ devotion to them is mind-boggling. I have learned about systems I never knew existed, because I believed game consoles weren’t a thing until maybe the late 70s, but consoles have existed even before then. Anyone who teaches me something new is someone worth following. I really do not know that much, so the more knowledge the better. We both bond and commiserate over our attempts to slay our backlogs, but that’s one final boss that keeps knocking us out.
- I Played the Game – All of them. All of the games as well as playing for charities. Here in the states we have Extra Life, which is a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. My husband does it every year, and this upcoming one I believe they’re going to try to partner or something with the designers of that accessible Microsoft controller. Across the pond they have something very similar called Gameblast, and I was happy to support it last (this?) year, though I was sorry I missed the actual stream. IPTG’s conquering of the backlog puts mine to shame I’m afraid, and I remain jealous of the progress. More than 20 games finished in a year? Hahaha, I’m lucky if I play five, but I like blogger buddies who make me want to challenge myself to succeed. No point keeping people around who encourage failure.
- Forged from Reverie – Do you want to read phenomenal world-building with a complex, solid magic system, and eloquent writing? Look no further than this forge made of dreams. I’m waiting for the day when I can hold a physical copy of his novels in my hand, because what I’ve read is akin to Tolkien without the antiquated pacing. His stories remind me of Skyrim or at least what I know of Skyrim. The mien is very Skyrim like in its epicness, and as a writing gamer (or gaming writer…I have no clue which one I really am) who also uses games for inspiration, this is a big deal to me. I feel as though more and more books will be published with such a foundation (I think many already exist, but I can’t prove that the direct inspiration came from a game; there are just similar paradigms), which, when known, will help bolster gaming out of the bastard medium its been forced to wallow in due to non-gaming critiques not realizing its potential.
- Hungrygoriya – She’s my favorite streamer and one of my favorite Canadians. My evenings are a hundred times better whenever I get a notification she’s on Twitch. I’ve experienced so many games I’ve never have heard of but for her Let’s Plays: Spellcaster, Ys: The Lost Omens, Dragon Crystal, and Ultima IV to name a few. I now have several Ultimas on my backlog as well as in my possession, and this doesn’t even mention her game hunting skills. She has to have over a thousand games in her collection, and she’s kind enough to share the often arduous process of obtaining them with us. As frustrating as her stream of Lost Levels might be for her, her relaxing voice never stresses me out hehe. Eventually, one day, you’ll all hear what I sound like…once I get a recording perfect that is :p
- The Dragon’s Tea Party – I was lucky enough to catch one of her Twitch streams the other day as well for a motorcycle racing game that look like a hell of a lot of fun. With my friends across the pond, it can be hard to coordinate or catch their happenings due to that damn time differential, but I only had about a half hour left of work, and I wasn’t doing anything too arduous. Plus it was the day before 4th, which was quite an amusing conversation, considering our locales 😀 Along with streaming the Dragon is another wonder blogger reviewer. She’s currently playing through Final Fantasy VIII, and it’s awesome having another person (along with…CRAP who is it? I think it’s Cheap Boss Attack who likes VIII) to talk with about the reviled Junction System and the wonky timeline.
- The Duck of Indeed – I’m super pumped there’s another fanfiction writer in my midst. I haven’t read any yet, but they’re for FFVI, which I’m currently playing and have written fanfiction for myself. In fact FFVI was the first game I ever wrote fanfiction for. Now if you’re going to ask how can a duck hold a pen or use a laptop? Well, you’re going to have to go to her blog and see!
- Professional Moron – Yes! This is a market for this, and yes, he is a professional. Do you want random silliness in your mailbox? Do you want to be regaled with products that you’ll not only have no use for, but that might not even be able to exist? Are you ready to wonder what use you’ll have for these items and what possible universe you could use them in. Well wonder no more! PM has all of the answers with detailed explanations and a healthy serving of gibberish, which you are more than welcome to participate in. A fun site with a fine smattering of book and movie reviews thrown in to break up the silliness.
- Falcon Game Reviews – “Unprofessional opinions on games” may be the best ones. Professional ones often miss the heart and reason of why we game. FGR is another hotbed of various takes on games, and there’s almost always something interesting going on in the comments.
- Drakulus – If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know I like to throw some flowery language in my essays and even reviews. Sometimes you don’t want that though. Sometimes you just want to know the pros and cons of a game and whether it’s worth spending your hard earned money on. Even though we have some some wildly different tastes in gaming (to some degree), I’ve learned a lot from Drakulus’ blog, adding some games I would’ve never considered. Gaming has gotten many people through tough times, and that’s the least I can say in this situation. Also, weirdly coincidental, but he looks a lot like my big brother who’s one of my best friends 😀
- Just Keep BRAINS! – One of my very first followers on WordPress who read my fanfictions, which was a huge inspiration for me to keep blogging. We are also fellow goths, and her blog reflects this aesthetic with makeup, fashion, and even exercise regime Bat Fit, which is seriously the best name for anything ever. One of the great things about the internet is the ability to reach and befriend people all over the world, and I can say I have a German friend 🙂
- I Can’t Possibly Be Wrong All the Time – In fact most of the time he’s right. When’s not, well…he has the bigger army. This is another one of my foundation blogs. I saw ASOIAF/Game of Thrones, and I followed right away. Martin’s saga is so epic there’s a ton to talk about, analyze, and debate. Pat not only writes GOT articles, but was also the person who introduced me to #microstories on Twitter. He might be modest about the ones he submits, but I find them amazing. We also seem pretty outraged about the same things on that site, and it’s always good to be reminded you’re not losing it…the world really is bonkers.
- The Writing Hufflepuff – With a blog that almost pops out at you, which makes it so much easier for me to concentrate on…honestly. I have major concentration issues, but the way TWH designs her space, it’s easier for me to stay engaged). This eternal Harry Potter fan will fight you if you say anything bad about her house. Even though she’s still in school and across the pond from me, we can definitely relate on not only books, but anxiety issues, as well. Now I have a hilarious mental image related to anxious bookworms and I’m giggling to myself. Even though anxiety and other mental health stuff sucks, it is so validating when you realize you’re not alone. I’ve added some awesome titles to my TBR list because of TWH (like Lumberjanes, which I’m currently reading) and avoided ones that would’ve had me rolling my eyes and/or setting shit on fire. If you need a purveyor of young adult and graphic novels, especially if you’d like ones with my LGBTQ+ representation, look no further!
- Evil Wizard, Esq. – His tirades literally make my life better. My other INFJ friend whom I often think of lovingly as “the evil lawyer.” I chortle because you know how there’s that stereotype of lawyers being greedy, awful, ambulance chasers? I completely stopped thinking that when I saw attorneys sitting on the floor of airports working pro bono during the Muslim ban, though once I became an adult and realized you can’t just throw a whole occupation into the evil bin I kind of suspected that whole thing was bunk. It was during this I decided to look into studying law myself. That’s a bit on the back burner (stupid health, bleh), but it’s still within the realm of possibility. EWE and I share the same distaste for humanity, but for some reason we keep sparing them. We both realize this is a grievous error and everything needs to burn, but then again, it was humans who invented video games…and frozen pizza…and ice cream. I guess we can (regretfully) hold off the meteors for one day more *grumble*
Thank you all for being in my blogging life, which is honestly better than the real world. So thank you for being a big part of a better world ♥