Graduation: a new chapter in life

Hey everyone, it’s been a while!

I’m really happy about this anouncement that I’m going to make on this blog. Finally, ya gurl has graduated from university! *insert loud cheers here* This is actually already a late announcement since I’ve been a bum for like two weeks now, but I do think this news at least deserves its own blog post here in my dev blog. And I just have to warn you, this might be a much longer blog post than I intended.

The last four years have been the most fun, most exhilarating, most exciting, most troublesome, most painful, but definitely most memorable four years of my life thus far. I learned countless lessons and I made countless memories with so many people– family, friends, and acquaintances, many of whom are going to stay with me forever.

It’s been such an amazing rollercoaster ride and I’m really happy to have stayed in the visual novel community that whole time. VNs have been a big part of my life since I was a kid, and I know it’s going to be a part of my life no matter how old I get.

As an elementary school student, I spent hundreds of hours beating every Ace Attorney game, immersing myself in its wonderful world and quirky characters. In high school, I discovered more visual novels, especially in the Original English Language Visual Novel (OELVN) scene, and I got terribly addicted to them! Now, that’s the kind of addiction that I didn’t mind having.

I put up a blog, then my personal blog– you know, the kind of blog everyone as a 13-year-old had that contained whatever they were thinking about that day– and made it my personal visual novel diary that chronicles all the visual novels I’ve played, particularly the otome ones, which were and still are my favorite genre.

At 14, I finally decided that I wanted to create a visual novel of my own, so I came up with Seasons of Love, my first ever visual novel idea that I’m still dreaming about completing someday. The problem was, I had underestimated what it took to create a long and complex visual novel such as that one, so it was no surprise that I wasn’t able to finish it. It still remains on the back burner, with page after page of complete outlines and all, to this day.

Thankfully, as we all know, 14-year-olds are incredibly resilient and stubborn, so despite my initial ‘failure’, I used 8 days of my free time the following summer to make Summer Paradise. At 30,000 words, it was much shorter than what I had planned for Seasons of Love, but the important thing was that I had finally managed to finish one game. I was part of my school’s publication as an editor for 1 year and a news and features writer for 6 years, and I’ve joined and won in dozens of both intraschool and interschool writing competitions, but never have I ever felt as happy about my own writing as that moment when random people on the internet first started playing my game– my own game, the very thing that I worked so hard for.

It’s strange, isn’t it? How something so simple can give someone such joy and a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

The rest of the years would eventually pass in a blur. Now, it’s been 6 years and I’ve finally gotten my bachelor’s degree in a management course, all while partaking in several visual novel projects. Majority of them have been released, some were unfortunately cancelled, while others have been put on an indefinite hiatus. After all, problems can and will occur in life, and they can’t be avoided. Even outside the visual novel sphere, I’ve had some major issues too. I had gone through a horribly long and drawn-out breakup with someone who I thought was already ‘forever’. I had to watch my family almost fall apart after two deaths. I battled depression during college and had to go to therapy a lot of times, and I almost dropped out of college at one point. I even tried to take the ‘easy way out’ of this life twice. I guess you can say that I’ve definitely racked up a lot of experience points over the years.

But well, here I am, still alive and kicking. I’ve learned that the saying is true: what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. I’m much stronger now than when I was 14, that’s for sure. And to tell you the truth, I’m still learning about so many new things, both in life and game development!

See, one of the things that I love most about VN development is that there’s always something more to learn. As of this writing, that number of visual novels I’ve taken part in is already up to 16 announced projects, 9 of which have been released, and I can’t be prouder of each one. They are all my babies and I love them all with equal measure. But I am constantly still striving to improve my writing (and my coding too!), which has led me to experiment with different genres. It’s hard to admit it, but learning really does only exist outside of your comfort zone. I’d like to believe that I’m continuously improving, only because I’m challenging myself more and more and delving into things that my younger self would have been too scared or doubtful to do before.

Writing is my passion. Always has been, and always will be. And while I still dream of completing Seasons of Love someday as well as releasing a VN/RPG hybrid (kind of like Harvest Moon or Rune Factory), for now my only goal is to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself.

After all, I still have the rest of my life to learn.

“Education must not simply teach work—it must teach life.” – W. E. B. Du Bois


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