We Need Your Talent! Collaboration #2

Are you a blogger?
Do you like any video game ever?
Then it’s time to pay attention again!

With the success of Hyrule: See the Sights! Hear the Sounds!, I am now ready to reveal what the next collaboration is going to be!

The Next Collaboration!
The Games That Define Us

The Premise:

We all have that one game that is truly a part of our identity. It’s not just any video game, it’s our video game. It’s the one that’s always on our mind when we think about nostalgia or even games in general — the one with the most memories and stories attached to it.

Each amazing contributor — that means you — will write about the one game that influenced you the most from the moment it entered your life, telling stories of your adventures along the way and discussing how it still impacts you to this day.

It should be highly personal and should have very little actual “review,” as there are already plenty of amazing reviews about almost every game out there. Instead, focus on the memories or stories behind the game’s presence in your life. Help the audience appreciate what the game means to you in whatever way you see fit.

Any creative interpretation beyond that is up to you, the contributor! Just ask the previous contributors, I hate limiting an author’s personal style.

The Format:

Last time, with the Hyrule collab blog, we had 16 separate posts each with unique art on one page, so loading times on slow connections were already becoming an issue no matter what CSS optimization I did. I’m an accessibility geek — I even wrote my thesis on that topic — so I don’t really want to go with that approach again no matter how beautiful it turned out in the best-case scenario.

So this time around I want to do a 30-day format! That’s right, I want to devote the entire month of November (my birthday month, by the way), to this! 30 days, 30 games, 30 bloggers!

This also gives more bloggers the chance to participate, as I had to turn away several from the Hyrule collab after production had begun.

I’ll publish one post each day in November with similar design sensibilities as the Hyrule collab. The order of publication will be based on each game’s North American release date, and I don’t expect too many discrepancies between that and my wonderful PAL-region audience. I will acknowledge the release dates for both regions when I publish each post.

I’m choosing release date order because I’d like to display the amazing timeline of games that have impacts on lives — that no matter which generation of gaming you grew up with, games all had positive impacts on the human experience. Each individual post will form a linear, interconnected tapestry of amazing pieces.

The Deadlines:

Since Nikki and I will be organizing, designing, and editing each post individually, I’ll need a whole month of post-production. Developing quality features like this takes a very intentional and coordinated effort.

That means the contributions will be due on October 1, 2018, and they’ll start being released in release date order starting on November 1, 2018. No need to panic – October is two and a half months from now!

Because of how amazing the previous contribution turned out, I felt compelled to give the Hyrule bloggers first dibs. I’m pleased to say that most of them have chosen to return, and with some excellent selections in games.

The Contributors:

Now we just need your talent! Either let me know if you are interested in the comments, or if you prefer, send me an message over on the contact page.

I’ll need your:

  • Name (or screen name, if you prefer)
  • Blog Title
  • URL
  • Choice of game (please double-check the list below to make sure it’s not taken)
  • The best way to keep in contact with you! I tend to prefer Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram messages.

Once I get the list filled up, I’ll message everyone with a super-neat, super-secret Google Docs Collaboration. It’s so cool watching people transform a simple cloud document into something awesome!

  1. Matt @ Normal Happenings | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (GEN)
  2. Nikki @ Normal Happenings | Animal Crossing (GCN)
  3. Megan @ A Geeky Gal | Spyro the Dragon (PS1)
  4. Ian @ Adventure Rules | Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (GCN)
  5. GG @ Hungrygoriya | Faxanadu (NES)
  6. Kim @ Later Levels | The Secret of Monkey Island (PC)
  7. Jan @ The Life of Jan | World of Warcraft (PC)**
  8. KT @ Wintendo 64 | Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii)
  9. The Well-Red Mage @ The Well-Red Mage | Breath of Fire II (SNES)
  10. Victor @ The Modern Gafa | Digimon World (PS1)
  11. Shauna @ HideNGoShauna | NIGHTS Into Dreams (SAT)
  12. Heather @ Just Geeking By | World of Warcraft (PC)**
  13. Alyssa @ Nerd Side of Life | The Sims 4 (PC)
  14. Hundstrasse @ Hundstrasse | Resident Evil 2 (PS1)
  15. Justin @ TWOTALL4UFOOL | Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
  16. Chris @ OverthinkerY | Kingdom Hearts (PS2)
  17. Pix1001 @ Shoot the Rookie | Guitar Hero 2 (PS2)
  18. Will @ geeksleeprinserepeat | DayZ (PC)
  19. Murr @ geeksleeprinserepeat | Pokemon Red/Blue (GB)
  20. The Gaming Diaries @ The Gaming Diaries | Crash Bandicoot (PS1)
  21. Amanda @ Imaginating Life | Myst (PC)
  22. The Keeper @ The Codex: Online | Chrono Trigger (SNES)
  23. Alex @ The Purple Prose Mage | Warcraft III (PC)**
  24. Ruubin @ FTWRuubin | Borderlands (PS3)
  25. Khinjarsi @ Upon Completion | Fallout 3 (XBOX360)
  26. The3rdPlayer @ 3PStart | Zombies Ate My Neighbors (GEN)
  27. Kathy @ Krysanthe | Wizard 101 (PC)
  28. Mr. Backlog @ Mr. Backlog | The Bard’s Tale (Apple II)
  29. Michael @ Git Gud at Life | BioShock (XBOX360)
  30. Ellen @ LividLightning | Banjo Kazooie (N64)
  31. [DLC]* Ryan @ Games With Coffee | Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
  32. [DLC]*
  33. [DLC]*
  34. [DLC]*
  35. [DLC]*

*With such amazing and overwhelming interest in this project, I’ve decided to open up five DLC slots. The purpose of these are two-fold:

  • to allow more bloggers to participate
  • to serve as “alternates” in case any of the 30 in the main series are not able to turn in a piece.

If someone isn’t able to turn in a post, I’ll simply reformat a DLC piece to fit into the 30-day project. See, it’s a labor of love and not a pressure-filled assignment. Sometimes life just happens.

Whatever DLC posts I have left, I’ll release periodically through early December. In true DLC fashion, I promise to release all posts, including DLC, with the same level of quality as the main series.

**With three posts, the Warcraft franchise is at capacity. Because of the amazing stories from people interested in the franchise, I’m going to do a Warcraft Weekend checkpoint about halfway through this collab. A Friday-Sunday will have back-to-back-to-back Warcraft pieces.

I’m so excited to see the array of different games on display. It’s going to be amazing! I will see you down in the comments.


The Courage of Stars: Finding Personal Truth in an Unsupportive World


This post contains two mild trigger warnings:
First, I briefly talk about my own panic attacks, particularly in regards to self-doubt. Proceed with caution if you’re prone to anxiety. Second, I delve into my own spiritual beliefs as part of my own identity, but I have no desire to push those on other people.

This post is best read along with the song “Saturn” by Sleeping at Last. However, if you haven’t heard it, I recommend experiencing it for the first time with the music video. You can always hit restart while you’re reading through this post. Trust me, you’ll want to.


You taught me the courage of stars /
before you left 


Whettam the Contemplative, Hoarder of Sandwiches and Desk Mailboxes

That was my response to the question Ikkin the Grumpy, Hoarder of Granola Bars and Tumblers — also known as my wife Nikki — asked me over messages two weeks ago. What is you dragon name? Then I was presented with a mad-lib format:

[Your name spelled backwards] the [current mood], hoarder of [last thing you ate] and [object on your left].

My mood, contemplative, was appropriate.
I’m always contemplative.
I believe it takes courage to be contemplative.

Lately I’ve been thinking about courage, and the varying forms it can take in a world that is growing increasingly more connected. We’ve carried with us from humanity’s past an impression of courage that it must involve a great journey of traveling across the world — and indeed our literature backs that up. However, a century of advancing technology has made traditional frontiersmanship a thing of the past, meaning exploration has become more of a series of personal goals, rather than a quest for profitable discovery.

However, there is still one place where courage is helpful and even required: it’s the quest to appreciate everyday life. To stare life right in the face and say, “I’m content with my life and who I am, no matter what.” Finding personal truth in an unsupportive world is one of the hardest journeys a person can possibly go on.


How light carries on endlessly /
even after death


They say all writers have something wrong with them, and I am no exception. They also say that children have no concept of death and, in this particular case, I am very much the exception.

You see, from the time I was eight years old, I was prone to intense panic attacks — though it’s taken me almost two decades to identify them as such. Every time I envisioned panic attacks, I saw them as a near heart-attack state of uncontrollable anxiety — legitimate medical crises where your heart-rate escalates and your extremities go numb. But further exploration of the topic shows that it doesn’t always have to be this way.

For me, they instead took the form of intense existential dread manifested as spiritual unrest. It always started with the smallest trigger, some realization of the vastness of creation and that somehow I was alive. Things tended to spiral down from there with increasing velocity, like that of a stalled aircraft.

I’m alive.
I’m alive?
Why am I alive?
Why do I exist?
What does it mean to exist?
Why did God create me?
Why did God create anything?
I don’t want to cease to exist.
I don’t want to die.
Please God don’t let me die.
Please. God.

When I experienced these spirals, I almost felt as if my existence was being snatched away from me.

Interestingly, I thought this was a normal part of the human experience. Religious scholars, after all, have an explanation for this: doubt. For the longest time I attached myself to this concept, as if there is something wrong with me spiritually. But this is not doubt, at least not directly; my faith is strong. I have seen miracles. This is the malevolent fury of an unaddressed problem. Now that I’ve realized this, I can slowly become the person I’m meant to be — the next leg of the journey for personal truth.


With shortness of breath /
you explain the infinite


It takes courage to be the type of person who truly thinks about things — who truly dares to venture beyond the superficial distractions. The red herrings are plenty, filled in with political opinions and debates about highly specific moral situations. It’s just human nature that most people love to argue about frivolous things. Social media presents this interference front-and-center, the extent of which turns truth into a fragile balance of tensions where nobody is right. And if you do manage to overcome the recursive mindset of marketing addiction, things become even more challenging.

It’s funny how people will unconsciously try to rob others of their pursuit of happiness. I guess discouragement is an effective way to elicit sympathy.

“You’re overthinking things,” the masses will cry, blissfully unaware that a greater understanding of the universe is the entire point of life. Even if we do overthink things, which is just the opinion of an onlooker, mistakes are bound to be made. In their pursuit of virtues beyond tangible fact, one cannot be expected to have all of the answers without first going on a journey. The travel-time is long, and there are many stops along the way — places like annoyance, overassertiveness, cynicism, and healing.


How rare and beautiful it is /
to even exist

– Sleeping at Last, Saturn


Some may say the age of 26 is young, and indeed it probably is, but it’s not too young to learn from experience. Understand that I’ve gone through a significant amount mentally over the quarter-decade I’ve been alive. I’ve been on my personal hero’s journey, willingly or not, and it’s caused me to emerge from the other side a better person — a person who appreciates everyday life. And a person who anticipates the future with eagerness, rather than nervous dread.

For the first time in my life, when it comes to the end, I feel like a kid jumping off the diving board for the first time. I’m nervous about what happens next, but my Father is there, so I know things are going to be okay.

We, as humans, have a particularly bad habit of thinking that mental states, particularity those involving depression or anxiety, are going to be permanent from formation to death. For instance, when we feel like there’s “nothing new under the sun,” we grow increasingly concerned that the rest of our days will be played out in boredom. The reality of the situation — the deeper truth, if you will — is that we have found a resting place where we are temporarily comfortable with our own advancement. That comfort is totally fine, but if we’re not pushing ourselves to be continually better across our timeline, letting our experiences continually push us towards finding our virtues, then we’re not becoming the best manifestation of ourselves.

That’s a shame, I feel, because life really is a wondrous sight to behold. Remember that in both the amazing and difficult times.


You absolutely should not leave without informing us in the comments of your dragon name. I’m very curious to see what you guys are hoarding in your lair.

Beyond that, though, I’d love to hear about some of the things you’ve discovered about yourself. Even if that’s just recounting your life story, at least you’re thinking about who you’ve been and where you’re going. Let’s have a conversation in the comments!


Nice Job Badges for July 13 + Hyrule Collab Follow-up

Friday! If you’d like to know my day of the week rankings if they were metaphors for real-life people, here they are:

  1. Saturday
  2. Friday
  3. Sunday
  4. Wednesday
  5. Thursday
  6. Monday
  7. Tuesday

Monday and I get along okay, though I’d never go out to coffee with Monday. But Tuesday is inevitably, necessarily, evil. I’m convinced Tuesday would murder me in my sleep if given the opportunity. But you’re not here to talk about anthropomorphized days of the week! You’re here to talk about the awesome thing that happened a couple days ago. You know, the Zelda thing!

I’m just blown away! Hyrule: See the Sights! Hear the Sounds! has absolutely been a success, garnering lots of great praise in the form of comments and tweets. People seem to really enjoy the art, personal stories, and particularly the music.

I briefly considered “DLC” for the Hyrule post, where people who didn’t know about it could submit stories of their own and I’d make them individual posts in the same style. However, I think I’ll hold off on that in case I ever want to put together a Hyrule: See the Sights, Hear the Sounds Again! Quality over quantity is always the correct course of action.

You should know that I have a nearly completed plan for another interesting collaboration, in the works. I intend to announce full plans for it sometime next week, though I want to give Hyrule contributors first dibs. It took precisely three months (April 11 – July 11) from planning to completion of this one, so I would expect an October release date for the next one. More information to follow.

Anyway, it’s Nice Job Badge time! These are five blog links from this week that deserve a high-five and a “nice job!”


  • If someone makes an amazing post one week, then makes another the next, I will feature them two weeks in a row.
  • I will not typically feature the same blogger twice on one list, unless I’m really blown away.
  • The posts will all loosely be from the current seven day period.
  • They are in no particular order because they’re all great.
  • Hey, you should totally put the badge on your recognized piece with a pingback to this post!

Continue reading “Nice Job Badges for July 13 + Hyrule Collab Follow-up”

Hyrule: See the Sights! Hear the Sounds!


A Collaboration
From the Great Land of Hyrule
And Beyond 

Better with audio!

The Legend of Zelda would be nothing without its amazing sound design, and this mix of Breath of the Wild environmental ambiance has been carefully chosen to accompany this post. Please be sure to hit the play button!


We respect the creators’ intentions that some of these places aren’t canonically part of the Land of Hyrule, but we believe they all still encapsulate the spirit of exploration of the great land.

Each post contains links to the blogs of the incredible authors of their respective pieces. Please support their work by following/bookmarking them. 

We recommend you start from the beginning, but you can click each link to jump to that location if you prefer.



Outset Island | Matt from Normal Happenings
Koholint Island | Emma from Geeky Tourist
The Fishing Pond | Kim from Later Levels
Great Bay | Jan from The Life of Jan
Zora’s Domain | Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate
Behind the Waterfall | GG from Hungrygoriya
Forest Temple | Ellen from LividLightning
Hyrule Field | KT from Wintendo64
Lon Lon Ranch | Jan from The Life of Jan
Lumpy Pumpkin | Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie
Eastern Palace | Megan from A Geeky Gal
Clock Town | Ian from Adventure Rules
The Dark World | Jan from The Life of Jan
Ikana Canyon | Pix1001 from Shoot the Rookie
Gerudo Valley | Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate
Shrine of Resurrection | Nikki from Normal Happenings

Outset Island


Wind Waker
Matt | Normal Happenings

Back to top ^

Dear Grandma,

I woke up this morning missing you. I’ve been away for a while, and I realize I’ve been far too wrapped up in my adventures to make my way back to the Island, back to Outset. Of that, I want to say I’m sorry. Courage may come in many different forms, but it almost always takes you away from the family and friends you love.

Continue reading “Hyrule: See the Sights! Hear the Sounds!”

Nice Job Badges! | July 6

Happy Friday, or as my wife so affectionately calls it, Friyay! Let’s get back on track with this week’s Nice Job Badges, of which we have a typically excellent variety.

But first, let me take a selfie… err, moment to talk about this super cool Hyrule Collaboration Blog that’s coming up on Wednesday! Namely, that I’m so happy with all the wonderful contributions I’ve gotten from these amazing bloggers. I’m getting the last batch of contributions over the weekend, and then it’ll be a long few days of intense design and editing.

So, again, Hyrule: See the sights! Hear the Sounds! will be released on Wednesday, July 11 at 10:00 A.M. EST! That’s approximately 3:00 P.M. for my U.K. audience! From more info, you can check out this post. You should also be sure to follow the amazing contributors listed at the end of this post.

Anyway, let’s get on with it — Nice Job Badge time! These are five blog links from this week that deserve a high-five and a “nice job!”


  • If someone makes an amazing post one week, then makes another the next, I will feature them two weeks in a row.
  • I will not typically feature the same blogger twice on one list, unless I’m really blown away.
  • The posts will all loosely be from the current seven day period.
  • They are in no particular order because they’re all great.
  • Hey, you should totally put the badge on your recognized piece with a pingback to this post!

Continue reading “Nice Job Badges! | July 6”

Dysontopia | 4/4 4:44 | 4.1

<< Metal Conducts Electricity 3.4 | Patch Log | 4/4 4:44 4.2 >>

Related: About Dysontopia (Start Here) | Writing the Unreliable Perception of Time

DT Logo BW

Chapter 4

“4/4 4:44”

Opening my eyes, my vision is doubled and I feel nauseous, like I’m spinning. I immediately think something is wrong, so in a panic I try to jerk myself awake. The feeling reminds of the time I randomly woke up with vertigo five years ago. I spent two hours spinning, then it just stopped as I sat in the waiting room of the doctor. I never want to go through that again. Luckily this time the sensation passes after a moment.

The glow of the lights outside filters a dark shade of blue through my curtains, reminding me of the lights mounted above the kitchen window of my grandparents’ old house. Funny, the lights outside are usually a lot more yellow. And that shadow is not supposed to be there. I barely make out the silhouette of a person in the corner. Long hair. Glasses. I scramble around madly for a weapon of some type.

I knew it before I turn on the lamp on the bedside table, which illuminates that distinctive face and hair (and those nails). She’s back. Continue reading “Dysontopia | 4/4 4:44 | 4.1”

Nice Job Badges! | June 29

It’s Friday, June–

Wait, it’s not Friday, June 29? What do you mean it’s Monday?

Fine, point taken, but you try reading every blog post in your WordPress reader during a week that involved both moving and a 1,200 mile (1,930 km) road trip! Essentially, it has been the busiest week ever. Therefore, I’ll be posting the new section of Dysontopia tomorrow instead of today.

Anyway, despite it being a Monday, it’s time for Nice Job Badges! These are five blog links this week that deserve a high-five and a “nice job!”


  • If someone makes an amazing post one week, then makes another the next, I will feature them two weeks in a row.
  • I will not typically feature the same blogger twice on one list, unless I’m really blown away.
  • The posts will all loosely be from the current seven day period.
  • They are in no particular order because they’re all great.
  • Hey, you should totally put the badge on your recognized piece with a pingback to this post!

Continue reading “Nice Job Badges! | June 29”

Dysontopia | Metal Conducts Electricity | 3.4

<< Metal Conducts Electricity 3.3 | Patch Log | 4/4 4:44 4.1 >>

Related: About Dysontopia (Start Here) | Writing the Unreliable Perception of Time

DT Logo BW

A lot can happen between the months of January and May. That final semester at Azure Coast did not live up to the seven that had come before it. I got falsely accused of plagiarism on a paper in a required class I didn’t even want to take, knocking my GPA down from a perfect 4.0. That meant I graduated magna cum laude, not the summa cum laude title I had my heart set on. No gold and silver honor cord. No graduation speech. I just walked up to the stage and grabbed a fake piece of paper with the alma mater lyrics and an alumni association ad in it, just like everybody else.

While that was going on, one of my best friends since childhood, Mae Albritton, and I got into a falling out over this guy I was dating, and as so often happens with sororities, they turn on you when the drama starts. Considering Mae had just as much involvement in Pi Beta Eta as me, basically a she-said, she-said civil war broke out. It didn’t take me long to just give up and let her spread her gossip about me. It didn’t matter, I was leaving anyway and she was just a junior. No hard feelings. I’ll just got out and let her do her thing. Continue reading “Dysontopia | Metal Conducts Electricity | 3.4”

Nice Job Badges! | June 22

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for Nice Job Badges! After a two-week hiatus, this feature is back and here to stay! It just needed a few tweaks, because I figure if people are going to start putting these on their posts, they need to look suitably sleek. That’s why I’ve employed bartered with superhero graphic designer Megan @ A Geeky Gal to make a set of Nice Job Badges that look like, well, actual badges! And they are gorgeous. Seriously though, she’s talented — go over there and get her to make you stuff!

As usual, each Friday I’ll pick out five new blog posts posted within the span of that week!


  • Five new, distinct designs!
  • Out with the colors. Black matches everything.
  • I’m no longer issuing a top gold badge. It’s stressful enough picking just five posts.
  • I follow a few Blogger blogs. I may start awarding badges to other platforms besides WordPress.


  • If someone makes an amazing post one week, then makes another the next, I will feature them two weeks in a row.
  • I will not typically feature the same blogger twice on one list, unless I’m really blown away.
  • The posts will all loosely be from the current seven day period.
  • They are in no particular order because they’re all great.
  • Hey, you could totally put the badge on your recognized piece with a pingback to this post!

Continue reading “Nice Job Badges! | June 22”

Guest Contribution for The Well-Red Mage | Top 7 Best Nintendo DS Games!

Remember that guest contribution I was talking about on Friday? Well, it’s up a day early! Check out my guest contribution: Console Challenge: Top 7 Best Nintendo DS Games over on The Well-Red Mage! I truly enjoyed writing it and will probably write more pieces for The Well-Red Mage in the future, so don’t forget to follow while you’re over there!

The DS represents a critical moment for Nintendo’s success over the next two years. If it succeeds, we rise to the heavens, if it fails, we sink… -Hiroshi Yamauchi

via Console Challenge Day 19: Top 7 best Nintendo DS games! — The Well-Red Mage