Hey everyone! It’s me Ross!
Originally I wrote a (very small) part of this in response to Mai’s “I’m polarized” journal entry a while back (https://maiqueti.deviantart.com/journal/I-am-Polarized-641253128), but I wanted to expand up on it and make somekind of a way more personal blog entry out of it. And somehow it turned into a looong essay.
It’s a lot of personal stuff, I want to share and it’s a big thank you to the game, and the community. This is probably the most personal, emotional and deep I’ve ever written here on the site.
So, warning: Long wall of text incoming! Thank you for reading nontheless! 🙂
Before coming to the actual point, I want to explain a bit and talk about myself. So, let’s start at the beginning:
I have never been the most talkative person TBH and I have always been a bit shy, but it wasn’t a huge problem for me up until the sixth grade. School was nice the first years and I had a lot of great friends I hung around a lot. But problems arose after elementary school or to be more specific in sixth grade of secondary school. Some of my old friends still went to the same class as me in secondary school but unfortunately not all of them. (And unfortunately I lost contact with those not in my class anymore). Instead some new pupils joined the class of secondary school. Unfortunately some of those new pupils were bullies and I became their “primary target”. I was bullied a lot in grade 6 and 7. At days I was afraid of going to school. When I was at school I became even more quiet than I was already. I became more and more shy and anxious the more I was bullied. It was an extremely bad and horrible time for me.
My marks got bad and at the end I had to repeat grade 7. Unfortunately my new class was even worse than the old one. The bullying continued and got even worse over time. The result: after another two years I had to change school. It were 4 terrible years of hell for me. With not many friends and constant bullying. It was very hard for me, but somehow I made it through those 4 years. Fortunately the class at my new school was way friendlier and no one bullied me anymore. The coming years were way better for me and not as bad as those 4 years of secondary school and I even made a few new friends.
But nevertheless the constant bullying still had a bad effect on me which still continues until this day. It made me extremely anxious and I ‘m very shy in real life. I always need a lot of time to open up myself to others. If possibe I try to avoid large crowds (with a few rare exceptions, for example if I have the chance to visit an interesting festival or con) and I get extremely nervous if I have to speak in front of strangers or groups of people [though I think it got a little bit better in the last few years]. While I still have a few good friends, I unfortunately lost contact to most of my friends over the years. And because of my anxiety it’s hard for me to make new friends in real life. So I can relate a lot to Max of “Life is Strange” in this regard, I think.
Like I said already, I have never been a talkative person. Although I’m in the chat almost daily (or at least several times a week), I mostly post short responses and usually don’t get too involved in the deeper, more serious conversations. That’s mostly because I always need some time to think about what to say and how to express myself ( I want to say something meaningful and not just write down the first thing that comes into my mind), and once I found my words the conversation has moved on already. It’s not that I don’t care or don’t have an opinion. I always care and do have my opinions on most topics but I just need time to express myself. And the chat is just a bit fast for me to do so. I will always listen and try to support everyone on here as best as I can, even if it’s not much I can do!
Like most users here I know that life can sometimes be hard and suck. And like most users I don’t want anyone here to feel sad or depressed!
So, now let’s move on to the next part: When and how I discovered “Life is Strange” in the first place.
It was in late July or early August 2015. I was a bit bored that day and was going through the Youtube channels I’m subscribed to. I suddenly saw that a German Youtuber I’m following had uploaded a new “Let’s play” video of a game called “Life is Strange”. I had never heard of that game before but I thought it looked quite interesting. So I started to watch the “Let’s play” video of episode 1.
I literally was hooked on the game from the very first scene, when Max woke up near the lighthouse during the storm. The scene was so intense and the art style looked quite beautiful (despite the dark, dramatic setting). I continued watching the video until the bathroom scene came up. I watched in shock when Nathan killed Chloe. It hit me hard. Then I saw the first rewind and how the Youtuber played the scene again saving Chloe.
This was it. I was hooked on the game from the very first scene already, but the whole bathroom scene was the decisive factor for me. I stopped watching the video immediately and knew I had to buy and play the game myself. It was so intense and deep, I had to experience it all by myself and not watch a random video on YT. So, a few days later (August 18th 2015 to be exact) I bought the game on steam and started playing.
About the Game:
Had the beginning been intense already, I was simply not prepared for that emotional rollercoaster I went through in the following days/weeks (or even months if you count the waiting time until the release of episode 5 on October 20th). I was totally mesmerized by the game whenever I played it. It was so deep and emotional on so many levels and it totally moved me.
The game made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me hate, it made me understand and empathize and it made me cry. A lot.
It made me smile when Chloe dared Max to kiss her. When they were having fun together in the pool or at the junkyard. Whenever they were having happy moments.
It made me laugh when Frank was eating his beans.
It made me hate, when characters like Nathan and Victoria bullied/harmed others and it made me hate when the true villain Jefferson and his sick actions were revealed.
It made me understand and empathize when we learned more about Nathan’s and Victoria’s background and history, the reasons for their behavior and actions.
And of course the game made me cry. When Kate was up on that roof. When we saw alternate Chloe in the wheelchair. When we had to choose to end her suffering or not. When we found Rachel’s body. When we had to choose Bae or Bay.
The story was so deep and intense and the characters felt all so real and believable. Most of them were very complex and multifarious. Not just shallow stereo types. You could empathize with them. They felt like people you had met in real life. Even if some characters seemed unlikable at first, they could grow on you once you learned more about the reasons for their behavior. Beside the writers of the game a lot of credit for this goes to the amazing talent of the voice actors like Hannah Telle, Ashly Burch, Dayeanne Hutton, Nik Shriner and all the others who brought those characters to life and gave them emotions and feelings.
Once you had finished the game it was hard to say goodbye and leave the world of Arcadia Bay, as you became really attached to the characters. They felt almost like real life friends and not just video game characters.
The whole game itself was so much more than just a simple game. It was an amazing experience. And I will never regret that I bought the game (even twice as I bought the Limited Edition is January too)!
The game gave us so many feels and it made us think about so many things. Life in general, ourselves, decisions we make and about other people. How we behave towards them and how they behave towards us. Most of us can relate to the scenes in the game in one way or another. We all either experienced some of those things first hand or we know people who experienced such things.
The game doesn’t show us a “right” or “wrong” way, but it makes us think about/questioning our decisions. And I think it shows us that we can and should do what we think is right and that we have the power to change something for the better. That we can do something good if we at least try and that we always should care about others. And at least for me the game showed that (no matter how bad your life sometimes is) there is always still some hope. Some light in the dark. Some people who care about you. That you are not alone.
I’m so grateful I could experience Life is Strange.
The Community or: Thank you to all of you!
So, like many of you I couldn’t stop thinking about the game and the characters after I finished the game for the first time. I wanted more. I wished for a DLC or something so I could spend more time with Max and Chloe in Arcadia Bay. And I wanted to talk with other fans about the game. So I searched for LIS related art on Deviantart, watched some fan videos on YT or posted from time to time on the official forums. I literally saved every piece of LIS art I could find on my PC. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.
But somehow it was not enough. I wanted more. Especially more interaction with other fans (as the official forums were not that active and DA is an art website after all and not a LIS forum/chat). So in this regard the months following finishing LIS were a bit “dry” (at least for me).
This was all about to change soon.
It was in late February this year, when I was searching for new LIS videos on YT. I suddenly came across a video promoting a little fansite called “lifeisstrangefans.com”. A website made by fans for fans. A site where we could share art, videos, cosplay, fan fiction, and other LIS stuff. A site where we could talk about the game and everything else, even heavy real life related things. It was the first real fansite for Life is Strange!
The sound of it was amazing! It was exactly, what I was looking for at that time.
So a few days later I registered at the site. It was still more or less in the making then and not too many users were around at that time. But you could already see that the site was something special and that Chris had put a lot of work and passion into the site already. A few days after I joined the site was officially promoted by Square Enix, which led to a huge first wave of new users registering at the site. And since then the site grew and grew. Not only by user numbers but by content as well. And it’s still growing to this day. And I’m hyped and excited by all the plans Chris has in store for the site, like “Kate’s Support Club” and the “Classes”.
Of course the site has seen users come and go over the time it exists, but there is still this core group of users who show up regularly. Many of them who have been here for months now. And there are still new users registering at the site and becoming a part of this amazing, awesome family!
I’m extremly thankful for “Life is Strange”. For what it is and what it did. But the thing I’m most thankful about is, that the game brought together our amazing community on “Lifeisstrangefans.com”.
Coming back to my first paragraph:
Like I said, I do have a few good friends but I don’t see them that often and I lost contact to some good friends as well and it’s hard for me to make new friends in real life because of my anxiety. So, sometimes I’m feeling a bit lonely. Or felt lonely, to be more precise! Because our website and community, changed a lot for the better in this regard!
I really enjoy talking to all of you almost daily. Joking around. Sharing art, stories and music. Talking about LIS or everything else. I’m so happy that there’s a place I can come to when I’m bored or feeling lonely.
The website has been a wonderful and great place for me in the past 9 months. I always feel welcomed when I’m here. I have met many wonderful amazing people, I probably never would have met without “Life is Strange” or our website here! There are many people here I didn’t even know just a year ago and today I call them friends.
[Just some quick examples here: After I finished LIS and was searching for LIS art, I once came across Mai’s art. I liked her art the moment I saw it, but never got into contact with her except for posting DA comments. And today I’m talking to her in chat several times a week. Or Harpy: One year ago I didn’t know him at all and now I’m talking to him almost daily and he always makes me smile and laugh with his jokes and puns and his cute artwork! Or Monique: She’s such a nice person and I’m always looking forward to her entertaining streams each week now and last year we didn’t even know each other. I could continue this list and talk about dozens of other amazing users here I met this year for the first time and would call friends now, but it would get waaay to long. Let me just say: I love this community. I love all of you! You are all so amazing!]
Because of our great website and community it feels I meet a dozen friends every day. I’m always so happy when I can chat with you guys. It’s always a pleasure and fun. And that’s the reason I’m most thankful about LIS. Because I met all of you amazing people.
Thank you Life is Strange for being an awesome, thought-provoking game, that gave us so many feels, that had such relatable, realistic characters and touching scenes you can connect with.
Thank you Life is Strange for bringing together an amazing community, that I’m proud to be a part of.
Thank you Chris for creating “Lifeisstrangefans.com”. A place where the community can meet. A place we can call home and family. Thank you for all the passion, work, maintaining the site and all the amazing contests over the past months. And thank you for caring about the community and all the people here!
Thank you Mai for all your amazing art, beautiful stories, your support on “Lifeisstrangefans.com”. Thank you for being there if we need someone to talk or if we need any help.
Thank you everyone from the community for being so nice, amazing, funny, helpful and caring. Thank you for all the videos created, all the art drawn, all the music composed, all the beautiful cosplays, the amazing fan fictions and thank you to all the streamers entertaining us with regular streams on twitch or YT. Thank you to everyone trying to cheer us up if we feel sad or lonely.
Thank you to all of you! To everyone! I love you all! You are all amazing! You are all like a second family!
I hope we will be around as this amazing community for a long, long time!
And thank you for reading! 😉