Hi fellow survivors of 2020,
As the end of the year is rapidly approaching, I hope everyone is safe, surrounded by loved ones, and riding out the global pandemic. With news of successful vaccination trials and the initial rollout ongoing, there’s probably good reason to believe that we might be headed for the new normal soon enough.
Anyway, this blog was just sort of a way for me to jot my thoughts down for 2020, and digging through the archive gave me a massive nostalgia trip and motivated me enough to write.
I’m fairly sure that I’m going to start the pandemic and end it exactly where I was, in my chair. It is probably my most used piece of furniture, and it shows. The amount of wear and tear it has withstood these past three or four years has been quite astounding, although I’m fairly sure it’s heading towards retirement. Unlucky. That’s not to say I haven’t been active, I was coerced into joining the gym last year by none other than Dest1, so there’s that I guess. But as with anything you’re coerced into doing, you just can’t put your heart into it, so I’ve just been going with him to humor the thought of staying healthy, despite being an intrinsically lazy person. I think my new years resolution is to eat 10% healthier, whatever that means (probably just means no more Twinkies at midnight). Gotta make realistic goals, am I right?
In case you were wondering about the context surrounding why Dest1 is the one whipping me into shape, it’s a fairly ordinary, nothing unusual, certainly not concerning series of decisions I’ve made in the past few years. Previously I was actually in Toronto, living at a friend’s house. I knew him since my time in Montreal, and his parents worked in China while he took care of their Canadian property, and it was a really fun lifestyle. There was Chinese food everywhere, I was pretty close with the people I was living with, and we all had shared interests. But as with all good things, they must come to an end. My parents gave me an ultimatum – that’s probably a strong word, more like a heavy suggestion to come to the United States to pursue better opportunities. Since they were on the path to becoming US Citizens, they wanted me to do that as well, and I wasn’t able to accomplish that staying in Canada unfortunately, due to residency requirements.
As such, I had a few options. I could move back in with my parents, and while that wasn’t the worst idea, I was vehemently against it since I have grown fond of my ability to operate independently, and they honestly supported that as well. I could move to North Carolina, to meet up with another friend there who was working at Verizon in Durham. Both of these were the sensible options, but since I’m a bona-fide idiot, I decided with the final approach, to consult the VuTales discord.
Now mind you, if you’re reading this and you aren’t aware of the VuTales discord, first of all, who are you and how did you get to this blog, second of all, pre-pandemic VuTales discord is completely different. I guess if anything good came out of the pandemic, it was all of y’all forced to come out of the woodwork. Anyway, pre-pandemic VuTales discord was legitimately just me, Ken (Dest1), and Kevin (FunnyFroggy), with the occasion rarepepe sighting of maybe a hamster, maybe Jon (Lithium), and if we were LUCKY, the owner of this website, Bryan (Vusys) would update us on the state of VuTales and VuTales Next (when the heck is this happening, by the way).
Frog’s pitch was simple – go to California. I hated that idea. I hate California. I hate the heat. I hate people (not you guys ofc), which California had a lot of. It was just straight up not a viable option. Ken proposed I move to Annandale, which is in Northern Virginia, near Washington D.C. which was where he lived with his family.
Now a lot of you are probably wondering, is this kid really going to upend his entire life to go live next to some other kid he met on the internet 14 years ago?
The answer is yeah. Like I said. bona. fide.
So I rented a car from Enterprise, packed my belongings, and crossed the border. Fast forward about two years later to 2020, I’m now a resident of Virginia! I won’t go over the details as this is a 2020 retrospective and not a three year one. Here are some highlights: met Ken irl, met Wayne irl, experienced one of them graduating (figure out which), got my car towed in the first week of moving here.
I’m not going to lie, seeing a lot of original members of MMOTales, and speaking with them has honestly been so freaking cool. It is wild to me that a bunch of teenagers that I met in middle school, I can still talk to 14 years later. I mean some of you are over thirty! And married! And work in the government! Okay that last one was a bit specific. But you get my point! Simply incredible. How many people do you know from middle school that you still talk to?
Maybe for some of you it’s actually not that incredible, but when you’re like me and you move to a brand new location every few years, those friendships are much harder to maintain. But not this. This has survived through a site shutdown, an entire communications platform transition from MSN to Skype and then to Discord, and it has lived on through the continued efforts of Kevin. It’s quite admirable, no one has tried as much as he did towards keeping the last legs of the spirit of MMOTales alive. Granted, it’s a low bar, seeing as no one else has tried literally anything, but I hope it can continue for as long as the internet exists, and as long as people have the time to pop back in once in a while.
Which brings me back to the archive. I totally forgot it existed – Bryan actually put a lot of effort into it, and it shows. Every author is categorized by name, it shows the amount of posts they have, and it somehow has all the comments intact, even the ones since 2006. Some photobucket links still work, which is mind boggling considering they’re well over a decade years old now. Those pictures can be legally married in some countries. I went through some posts, in particular mine from 2006 and they’re nothing to write home about, just another cringe inducing teenager with too much time on their hands. I guess some things never change.
So in the infographic above, I did promise a few more interesting stats. I made some pretty charts for you all.
Needless to say, the most popular names started with ‘s’ and ‘d’, weeb culture was in full force (I mean it still hasn’t stopped right, VTubers and whatnot), with a lot of ‘Sakura’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Sasuke’, and the likes, while ‘d’ were primarily people such as ‘Dest1’, or ‘DarkWar4Ever.’ But who would ever call themselves darkwar4ever, that’s just weird. The top 7 letters have a 46.5% representation of almost two thousand users.
Understandably, the least popular ones were the also the least used in the alphabet, z, y, q, v, and u. Q actually had only 6 users. Quang, that makes you mighty special.
Here are the five most prolific contributors. As expected, they were mostly fanfic writers, and in the case of Ganzicus, a comic creator. I was never much into fanfic, even as a teen, but I knew some of you were regular subscribers to SilverFX and AznRiceFan’s series.
Here are the top twenty contributors (and Quang, since you were tied):
Unfortunately, that’s about as much data as I could glean from just looking at the author pages. I don’t have access to any other metadata such as dates created so we can’t look at some fun stuff like who the oldest members are, or who had the most blog views. Those metrics would be interesting, but ultimately not necessary for such a cursory glance at the archives. We’re not data scientists after all.
I want to finish off this blog to encourage you all to write your 2020 thoughts! I think doing something like this once in a while is a really good way to reorganize your brain and to share your experiences in words. If anything, you have at least one fan of whatever you write, so long as it’s not fanfiction about LOL Dolls.
Have a nice 2020 everyone, enjoy the holidays, and I look forward to reading more blogs, should anyone else choose to do so. I also look forward to definitely not seeing everyone leave once the ‘demic is over.
Godspeed, 2020. May you gtfo ASAP.