The Part About Piracy
It's incredibly ironic that almost as soon as SOPA and PIPA are shot down I start pirating. Now, I'm not some sort of asshole who never pays for anything online. I have too much respect for developers to do that. So far the only thing that I've actually pirated are Microsoft Office Suite and Photoshop, and only that because I'm poor. I have no qualms about actually paying for software, it's just that my cash influx leaves me little room for expensive shit like that. Also, I needed to use those programs really badly at the time, and pirating them was my only truly viable option.
I've tried pirating before in the past actually, when I was younger and didn't understand the internet and computers as well as I do now. When I think back on it I realize that the only reason I didn't become a chronic pirate is that I didn't understand how torrents worked and I was too lazy to figure it out. It was easier just to pay for whatever it is that I want. And so the internet was saved from the greatest pirate the world had ever known because he was a lazy teenage prick. At least, that's how I like to think about it. Obviously that's something of a massive exaggeration, but still. In my zeal for pirating I would destroyed my computer a hundred times over from viruses I would have unwittingly downloaded, and my mother would have flayed me for it...
Actually, the more and more I think about it, I'm really glad I was a lazy asshole. As I've gotten older I've become far more appreciative of the work that developers do to get their product out there, primarily in the video game field, although of course that's not restricted to that only. Actually, about a year ago I pirated Plants vs. Zombeis. It left a horrible taste in my mouth. I deleted it from my hard drive the next day, and promptly bought it myself. It made me feel better, but I've never forgotten who guilty it made me feel, and since then I try not to let myself pirate, unless, in this case, my school career is on the line. Also, it makes me feel better knowing that had I actually bought the software, it would have set me back about the amount of money I make in an entire year.
Well, when I sat down to write about pirating, in my mind I saw page after page about my experiences with pirating, but that has yet to materialize. I doubt it ever will. Still, it feels good to get my thoughts down in writing (okay, fine, typing). Anyway, that's my own personal battle with piracy. I'm not trying to influence anyone, but if I do, I won't count it as a loss.
The Real Reason I'm Writing This
I just finished Katawa Shoujo. It was possibly the most powerful thing I've ever read before in my life. Let me put that in a bit of perspective. I have been reading since I was old enough to comprehend language. I have no clue how many books I've read in total, but I'm never far from something to read, and I constantly have as least three books sitting on my desk waiting to be read. So, for a Japanese visual novel written by a group of (supposed) twenty-somethings to affect me so profoundly, it has to be pretty fucking fantastic.
I had never heard about it until a few days ago, and that was caused by my own boredom as I waited for my Photoshop torrent to finish downloading (see first section). I had been puttering around on GB for a few minutes before I stumbled upon the main page for the Katawa Shoujo. I'm not going to lie, when I saw the word eroge in the description I became somewhat excited, and promptly started downloading it. I'm not ashamed to say that the reason I started reading this masterpiece was because I was horny. I had not read any of the blog or forum posts about it, and had no prior knowledge of how good it was, and I maintain that it was thanks to this that it had such an effect on me.
I started reading, and was impressed by the artwork and the music, but only half payed attention to the actually dialogue, expecting the already mentioned eroge elements to kick in immediately. I was quickly disappointed, but as I became bored, I started to actually pay attention to the writing itself. As I slowly realized what I had been missing I jumped out of that game, and started again fresh, not wanting to deprive myself of any of the skillfully written dialogue. The more and more I read, the more I wanted to see. I spent a approximately four hours reading before my hubris got the better of me. I was so confident in my computer (or something), I had been neglecting to save regularly, and because I have my computer set to restart on that night, it shut off on me. For a few seconds I stared at the blank monitor that had held my attention so raptly not a moment before. It was then that I screamed. It was a sound of anguish and misery, one which I had never heard issued from my throat before. It took every ounce of my not inconsiderable willpower to keep myself from putting my head through the screen.
As I waited for my PC to reboot I realized how invested I had become in the story. I was shocked that something I had picked up for a very different reason had come to mean so much to me that the loss of it had caused me to scream out in anguish. When my computer started back up and I was looking at the main menu for the game that realized my true folly. It wasn't until then that I had realized I had completely neglected to save my game. It was with immense frustration and sadness that I clicked on New Game, and hit the Auto Skip option on the pause menu. Now, it really only took me about ten minutes to get back to the part at which I was at, but simply the fact that I was interrupted while reading this beautiful story bothered me greatly. It was with difficulty that I forced myself back into the story, but it wasn't long before I had completely blocked out the world around me once again. With renewed fervor I dove into the story.
Now, before reading on, keep this in mind: I do not cry. I have not truly broken down and cried in years. I am an extremely stoic person (or so I like to think). I have always thought that crying about something was pointless, and not worth the loss of liquid. I'm something of a heartless asshole in some respects. Anyway, I don't cry. Keep that in mind.
On my first play through of the game I had been going with Lilly's story-line, since her character appealed to me much more than any of the others, except for maybe Hanako. Also, I have a thing for blondes. So, I was pretty far along in her story, and it had been very touching, and I had long since started to really care about the characters. However, the most poignant moment in the game, emotionally at least, was when she is about to go home. It was then that I, confronted with the loss of a character I had come to care about, and almost love, began to sob. I was so invested in the story that I began to cry as the scene played out. As it concluded I felt like I had lost a piece of my heart. I realized I had stepped into the shoes of the main character so completely that I too felt his plight, and I daresay it affected me even more than it had affected him.
Although despite this shocking development I continued along in the game, refusing to accept that ending, hoping against hope that it was all a big trick, and the bliss that had been would be restored. As the main character chased her, I could feel my own heart beating in anticipation of what was to come, and when it did, I almost screamed aloud again. However, when the real resolution was finally achieved I once again began to cry, although this time not out of sadness, but a powerful sense of happiness, knowing that the choices I had made had led to what I had been hoping for. I'd gotten a truly happy ending.