Edit: @Terriermon50 I just posted this, literally, a minute ago. There is no way you’ve already read the whole thing. How do you even know you ‘like’ it?
So, sitting at my computer, staring at a open notepad ++ page with a 105 lines of script, staring at that little type bar blinking on and off, on and off, on and off.
Then I think, ‘you know what, I’ve been working on this for over 2 years now. Why not announce an anniversary!’
So now, I am arbitrarily declaring an anniversary celebration!
‘But the actual 2-year anniversary was a few months ago’ I hear people say. And well, to those people, I say I can kill Vi. Think about that.
So, looking back at how far we’ve come, I find myself reminiscing as to how this all got started. The motivation I had to write a story that would end up taking years of my life to get a single chapter done, and would probably take the better part of a decade to actually finish.
I remember…superhero RP.
You see, before I was a man in a brightly lit room sitting at a laptop, I was once a teenager in a dark room sitting at a laptop. And this teenager had a group of friends, mostly female, and we all had something in common; we all loved Young Justice. A cartoon series about superheroes. We had a chatroom for just us where we would do all sorts of things, from chat about the show to complain about school to roleplay superhero stories. We even started getting our own OCs involved.
The group started falling apart roughly 4 years ago as people started going to college and becoming too busy. Now there’s only one of them that I still keep in regular contact with whom I regard as my best friend, despite never having met her in person. Nonetheless, I still occasionally come up with characters that I think ‘man, that would have been great to roleplay back in the day.’
You see, one of the concepts we liked picking apart was the ‘no kill rule’ of superheroes. We parodied, discussed, deconstructed, and reconstructed the hell out of that one. About 2 and a 1/2 years ago, I thought ‘what about child soldiers? How do they work in the superhero world?’ So my anti-hero was born, a mercenary or something who was a former child soldier and would serve as a type of outlaw character.
It was roughly around the same time that I had started really getting into CYOA games, after discovering them by playing Mecha Ace on steam. Still, that wasn’t the moment when I decided to make a CYOA game, as at that point, the whole concept terrified me. All those variables and branching paths…oh, the horror.
Then, I read a visual novel called The Fruit of the Grisaia. It was pretty incredible. I loved the characters, the art-style, the blend of cooky hi-jinks and inspirational monologues and harsh realities.
But there was one particular character that elevated the VN so high up in my mind. I could take or leave any of the girls, I thought they were all great but replaceable.
But the one character that couldn’t be replaced, the one that really captured my interest was the protagonist, Yuuji Kazami.
A former child soldier with a mysterious past that never got properly explained in the story, which further increased my interest in knowing more about him (I would occasionally make-up backstories until they ended up merging together. Before his past was revealed in sequels, I was leaning towards ‘his mother gave birth to him while she was in the middle of a warzone running around with a claymore hacking off heads, while on fire.’)
I loved everything about this guy. The deadpan snarkiness, the way he carried himself with such self-assuredness like he knew he could take anyone in the room but was too lazy to boast about it, and the way he could go from serious to wacky like his mental disposition was on a yo-yo.
I especially loved those quiet moments, when it really hit you just how much this guy had to go through in order to get the way he is now. One moment, I’m laughing and saying ‘oh wow, this guy is completely disconnected from reality!’
Then later, I’m quietly muttering ‘oh…wow…this guy is completely disconnected from reality…’
Then I thought back to that OC I made that would never be used. Age her down a bit…yeah, I could see a pretty similar story. I started thinking that ‘you know, the genre of child-soldier-goes-to-high-school is a pretty neglected one.’ From what I could tell, the only ones out there were Grisaia and Full Metal Panic.
I also thought, in general, this isn’t a concept often explored. Sure, you could fill entire bookshelves with story of ‘average person gets stuck in a survival scenario and has to harden in order to survive.’ But what happens when a person who has been conditioned by their environment to become a ruthless and hardened warrior is then plucked out of their warzone and placed in a land where, despite nightly news, is relatively peaceful and stable?
What then, indeed. The first place I looked was here, on this forum. And I thought…this…is a story for someone else to write!
Then about a week or so after I posted inviting someone to pick up the idea, I decided ‘well, nobody’s biting…ugh, fine. I’ll do it.’
But what to name this creation of mine? I pondered, then I looked at the glasses on my face and recalled a book I once read called ‘The Twisted Window.’ An…okay book, I guess, but it had a pretty profound statement relating twisted windows to a main character’s mental health. They said something like ‘when looking through a twisted window, you can still what’s on the other side, but it’s…distorted. Hard to make out.’
Then I thought ‘hey, I wear glasses!’ And thus the name, ‘Through Broken Lenses’ came to be!
End origin story.
Since then, a lot has happened. I finished high school, did a year of college, got an occasionally life-threatening job, and wrote my story in the off-time (and started a second story alongside it because I’m kind of stupid).
And in this moment of retrospection, I’d like to share this moment with the veterans out there. You know who you are. The guys who have been around long enough to remember the time this forum was kept alive for three months when I was completely cut-off from all outside communication! All that time, no input from me, but you guys kept it alive! Busting your jams and ‘ah ah ah ah stay’in alive! Stay’in alive!’
For me, those three months have been this forum’s finest hour. You guys rule. Shout out with a jam if you remember.
And for everyone, what have been your favorite moments in this rollercoaster of a forum? All the old folks, babies, and in between; I wanna hear what moment in this forum left an impact on you.
Happy Arbitrarily-Selected Anniversary Day!