So for my comic’s third year anniversary the public poll is heavily skewed towards making a video of the history of the comic. I decided to get a bit of a headstart, even though the poll officially ends at the beginning of July, there’s no way any other option could catch up.
Part of what I plan to talk about is Mirror Blue, my Ragnarok-inspired RPG maker game I started when I was 13. Since it kinda paved the way towards my comic’s infancy I felt it was important to bring up.
I find the story of just that game pretty interesting. I posted that completion of the game three years ago, but every so often I would revisit that game and tweak it again and again, even after it was ‘completed.’
When I had first started it, the main character, Slade was my 14-year-old mind’s vision of what I envisioned an intelligent person to be. In this case, he was this almost belligerent fellow who would use huge smart-sounding words that even I didn’t know what they meant or how to use them, I just put a word into the thesaurus and used it regardless of what its actual contextual usage was. I say belligerent because he would pretty aggressively react to anything racist (racism between elves and humans is a big theme in the game) and actually be kind of a dick to people he helps.
As I grew older and revisited the game, the more and more I realized Slade was a pretty unlikeable character. He’s the protagonist- why is he acting like such an asshole? He’s not supposed to be an antihero or anything. He was a guy that got caught up in his own ego and now has to shoulder a huge responsibility. Furthermore, he acted like a jerk towards his friends, and while I saw that I wanted the characters to grow close with each other through constant hardship, that never actually happened in the original version of the game because they were too busy arguing with each other over petty shit. Slade would get annoyed at something his friends would say and then it would just be pointless banter.
When I ‘cleaned up’ the game for release, I removed and rewrote a lot of the ultra-cringy stuff and shipped it off as complete. However, it wasn’t truly finished in regards to all I did was change cringy stuff into less cringy stuff. There was still the issue of characters not really being characters. That’s the case with Slade. The more I revisited the game, the more I changed Slade into an actual human being rather than some weird pseudo-intellectual weirdo.
Slade has daddy issues and wasn’t really ever close with his father; father wanted him to be a pastor and Slade was like, nope, and literally moved across the entire fucking world. He stole forbidden books on touchy alchemy subjects and studied it on offtime of his job as the doctor of a small town. He created a homunculus – what he refers to as his daughter – with a sociopathic streak that wishes to save the world from a cosmic horror by destroying it. He is then suddenly finding himself carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and it gets harder and harder to bear as events pass.
That sounds like a pretty shitty situation, right? Anyone would be pretty pissed off to be in that kind of deal, but I didn’t want old Slade to stay all pissy and arrogant about it. I wanted him to be reluctant at first and then just kinda quietly accept that he must take responsibility for shit he fucked up. And, I think to follow this kind of story, you need someone you can relate to.
Instead of being angry at ‘stupid people’ that he helps with a huff, he’s much more empathetic and kind, and gladly lends a hand to anyone who needs it. He’s no longer a pseudo-intellectual that uses huge words; he talks like a normal person. He’s infinitely more human with compassion for others and love for his friends. He admits when he’s wrong and apologizes when he upsets people. He stands his ground on his beliefs and tries to understand what others are going through. He doesn’t blindly strike back when provoked, and instead has the capability of analyzing the situation and whether it’s worth it to fight or not; old Slade would just bite back with little thought. It’s these things, these changes, that made me feel strongly about the character and his plight. He’s only human, just like the rest of us- how can he possibly shoulder such a burden? Shouldering the fate of the world is tough.
In the end, I’m really glad I at least gave Slade some justice and fixed his character instead of leaving him to rot in the shitty 10-year-old graveyard that he was in. He’s much more likeable now and relatable as a protagonist. Even if that game is just rotting in my site’s graveyard, too. I’m just happy that he got some peace.