I wanted to make it easier for gaming writers to connect with the gaming blogger community, so I started this little series called “Rising Stars” where both veteran bloggers and readers can discover and welcome new or relatively unknown gaming writers into the community. I hope this will help to encourage and support individuals as well as maintain the health of the gaming blogger community overall!
You can find the first Rising Stars post here, and now let’s take a look at this week’s five featured bloggers…
It’s been over fifteen years since I discovered the land of Spira as a kid. My first Sony console was the PlayStation 2, so I had never had the opportunity to play Final Fantasy titles before X. Final Fantasy X was my first experience with them. Playing FFX again feels so comfortable and nostalgic that it easily brings to mind all those late weekend nights in the dim glow of the TV next to the fireplace with my dog curled up under my chair, occasionally nudging my leg for attention. Final Fantasy X is a game that, for me, fits like a pair of gloves I thought I’d lost long ago.
Honestly, I was taken with Bloodstained immediately! It has a fantastic art motif, Gothic atmosphere, and fabulous music. As someone uninitiated in the Castlevania franchise, I am expecting great things based on what I’ve heard. I’m not very far yet, but I love what I see so far.
Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight is a charming, gorgeously animated Metroidvania title about a brave priestess trying to rid her village of a withering curse emanating from the country’s royal palace. Lovingly crafted with rich, detailed pixel graphics, Momodora: RUTM is a short and sweet adventure worth your time.
I have always been a huge sucker for pets and mounts in video games. If I get to own, raise, ride, or play with animals of any kind, chances are I’ll love whatever game it is. When I used to play World of Warcraft I would spend ages running old raid content for the 2% chance of rare mount loot drops. As in “Sorry I can’t go out to dinner, gotta run Icecrown Citadel on my 10th alt before weekly raid reset.” (It was a sickness, really.)
When a mount system was finally added to Guild Wars 2 last year in the Path of Fire expansion, I was ecstatic! In developer interviews on the subject, ArenaNet calls their design philosophy the “Joy of Movement”, and it is indeed an absolutely joy to collect and ride these incredibly well designed mounts. Each type of mount has a specific mechanical purpose and handles very differently, rather than being a series of model re-skins as is seen inmost MMOs. Mounts in Guild Wars 2 are essentially a case study is how to do mounts right. Giddy-up!
Cosmic Star Heroine offers a wealth of content considering its base cost. This scifi romp is a skillfully crafted, complete package of JRPG-style goodness that remains faithful to its 16-bit roots, and it has a great sense of humor to boot! With the polish of Octopath Traveler and gameplay similar to that of Chrono Trigger, if you liked either of those titles and you love scifi, then Cosmic Star Heroine is a game you will doubtless want to add to your collection.
One of the central themes of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is whether or not Blades should be considered a race of people rather than weapons or tools, or if it is fair to treat them as weapons even if it’s their nature. Are they slaves no matter how well their Driver treats them? Just because a Blade and Driver have a good relationship, even a loving one, does that make it right to use them? On the other hand, is it acceptable to leave them dormant forever, in effect unalive?
Trade ins. Dear lord, trade ins. Don’t get me started on those sports games that come out at the same time every year, like FIFA, NBA, Madden, etc. Folks would want to trade in last year’s Madden game and FREAK OUT when they saw the trade in value, having not realized that games depreciate like anything else.
Like, bruh. I’ve got 20 drawers of games back here behind the counter and FIVE of them are FULL of MADDEN, and then I have another shelf of them in the back room on top of that. I could literally put out a dumpster fire with the amount of Madden copies in this store — just dump them in to smother the flames. No one would miss them, and we would still have dozens left! Dozens!
The Red Strings Club is a fantastic little point and click adventure game by Devolver Digital that can be completed in one sitting. Running about three to four hours long but with great replay value, The Red Strings Club provides a quality, succinct cyberpunk package fortified with superb dialogue and sprinkled with the tendency to make your question your own opinions.
Gwent! I used to play it a lot, the stand alone Witcher CCG. I have been admining a large gaming community Discord for two years that originally started as a Gwent group, then eventually branched into general gaming of all kinds. It’s called the Lodge of Sorceresses and we provide a woman-focused, LGBTQ friendly environment in which video game players of all types can improve their game and connect meaningfully with other gamers.
I wanted to extend a invite code to my new friends and readers in the video game blogging world. The Lodge of Sorceresses Discord community has a great base of friendly, active core members, with around 600 in the Discord total (only around 100 are active at once). We’re multicultural, international, and love intellectual discussions. The mod teams never censors controversial or sensitive topics as long as everyone is discussing civilly and respectfully with an open mind. Please note the server is 18+.
The Gwent cards and playing board I custom ordered for giveaways and spectator entertainment at a Gwent tournament I helped admin in Philadelphia last year. It was a blast! The maker is WolfSchool on Etsy, whom is a wonderful craftsman.
Why a Sphinx for the community logo? “It is who we are. All of us belonging to the Lodge, we are like the sphinx. Silent, strategic, perilous, hidden, mysterious, wise and occult. Strong and brave. Fearless, timeless and powerful. Yes, the sphinx should be the symbol of our Lodge.”
– Assire’s thoughts on the Lodge, The Tower of the Swallow