NIVEADI RJI IMS OD MIET EMS SETLMIDD OD UCITGKUQOMF!!!
(Because the end is near and darkness is overflowing!)
As I am publishing this post, I am currently recovering from an intensive surgery, confined in a nursing home and biding my days with little more than my phone and a tablet. The skies are dark, the ground coated in snow, and a melancholy fills my being. Partially because of the whole loss of bodily parts and transformation of others stuff, but mostly because it is time for the annual year-end retrospective.
So forgive me for all the bitching, because it has not been a good year, and Auntie Nattie needs to vent. It’s time for Natalie Rambles About 2022!
Part 1: Fuck Da World
“The world is wack. We can’t fix everything, but we should strive to make things better.”The Notorious N.A.N.
The future freaking sucks. Plain and simple. I thought it was just a bad stretch of a few years, but it isn’t. It just isn’t. The world is in a bad spot right now, and while there are some flickers of hope that glimmer from time to time, actually seeing this shit keep happening is beyond demoralizing. Every passing year, I feel I become more aware of the flaws, of the mistakes in how society is laid out, and how it all supports a structure of control and consolidated power.
I swear, the consolidation, pursuit, and maintenance of power is the root cause for everything wrong in this world, and it sickens me. It sickens me because the powerful are the only ones who are capable of initiating any sort of systemic change. And they are the ones who want it the least. The world is designed in such a manner that power narrows as people suffer, and resources are wasted without relent.
They make proverbs and sayings about how it is impossible to imagine a better system. With the most disgusting being “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” Get the fuck out of here with your coward shit! Human beings are amazing! They are capable of doing just about anything if given enough time and energy, and the only reason why capitalism has flourished is because capitalists wanted it to flourish. Because the rich wanted to get richer, and the masses were fed garbage and lies, being told that this is how it has always been and the only way society can function. Ignorance has been a staple tool for these cretins. They limit the realm of acceptable thought and while it may not be for their own direct benefit, it is for the benefit of their successors, of their peers, and of people like them.
This is the way of the world, and there are those who claim it to be righteous. Those who believe in this narrative, their crafted hierarchy, and support it. For, so long as they are not at the bottom, so long as they can look beneath someone, they have some power. And if they have the opportunity to throw others beneath them to get ahead, they shall do so. For, in their minds, that is neither right or wrong. It is merely the way society must work. The way humans must operate…
It is all according to plan. A plan not devised by a council of elites, or even an organized group. But a vision of those with power to craft a world which can be controlled. The masses shall be too busy battling amongst themselves to gaze skyward at those towering above. There is no force so mighty that the working class cannot abolish, but without any solidarity, they cannot operate as one, and cannot do anything to truly harm those above them.
This is where the concept of democracy is supposed to shift the world, but democracy doesn’t work. Democracy was never supposed to work. Democracy is a mere illusion of power. A way to trick the masses into thinking they are in charge, when they are not. I could bemoan the wretchedly devised voting system of the United States, but it is more than that. Any democracy where voters can be bought, where opinions can be swayed with splendor, is hardly a democracy. And that is, in effect, every democracy.
A solution is a nebulous and complex thing, for it requires a system that cannot be abused. But as I said, humans are amazing. They have a knack for problem solving grander than any other being that walks this Earth. They are capable of achieving so much… yet are conditioned to perform heinous acts.
The most prudent political question one can ask is if human beings are naturally good or not. If human beings house a natural sense of love and empathy for others, and will collaborate and aid them, if only for the sense of joy that comes with performing a kind action. Or if human beings are mere animals, consumed by sin and a desire to seek power. In much of the world, the belief is the latter. In America, the latter is a foundational principle. And this belief, this assumption that greed is natural, that abuse of those who defy ‘order’ is justice, leads directly to a militant and regimented hierarchy.
In order for humanity to craft a good society, it needs to be founded under the assumption that humanity itself is good. That empathy, kindness, and equality are intrinsically good. That rights of autonomy and freedom of expression should be granted to all people. And all people in a truly literal sense. Not all free White men, not all Whites, not all men, not every man and woman. Some might say those rights exist, but they do not. Especially in the United States. You might point to the constitution and say it says all people, but if you look into the historical context… that ain’t the case chief. By people, they meant property owning White men. You know, like the people who wrote that document.
…The world is flawed. I am reminded of that every time I look outside my front door, and every day as I peruse the trickle of news that comes through my assorted feeds. The only comfort that I find in this fact is that…. the world has always been flawed.
Many people like to believe that there was a time when things were better. Nostalgia is a commodified bitch and it clouds people’s judgment as they remember the good and forget the bad over time. But the fact is… the future may suck, but the past was shit. And you know what? That’s an improvement. Sure, if you view things in the short-term and view history by year, it looks like things are getting worse. But if you view history in decades, scores, or half-centuries… things have been getting way better.
And… that is my hope. That the world will get better with time. That the present will suck, that life will be fraught with hardships and challenges, but that things will be made better than they were before. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when change will happen, but… it must. Fascism will not take hold of the most powerful governments around the world, for it is an ideology designed to fail. The rights of minorities will be reinstated as resistance rises and sympathies intensify. Those fueled by malice and evil shall eventually be revealed as the cretins they are. And the world will improve. It will require a lot of work— a lot of fighting. But you know what? That has always been the case.
Part 1-1: Worthless War
On the subject of fighting, this year came to a disturbing start when, in February, Russia attacked Ukraine, and began what many have pre-emptively dubbed World War III. Its goal was simple. To reclaim land lost thirty years ago after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Cater to the rising nationalistic attitudes within the country. And expand Russia in hopes of reclaimed a mythologized greatness that never was. Or in other words, the Russians were being a bunch of pissbabies and proceeded to fuck everything up.
Ukraine suffered billions in damages from the war, wrecking homes, cities, and infrastructure in this stupid conflict. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian people have died, and more will die as the fighting continues without end. Millions of people were made into refugees, forced to flee their homes and take up residence wherever they could. And hundreds of billions were lost in the pursuit of conflict. In humanitarian aid, in equipment, in fuel, in the weapons that people have used to end the lives of others.
All because one side was fed a mutilated narrative about justice. About saving a group of people corrupted by a nebulous evil… by ending their lives. Another, a group of people, who have lived upon this land for generations and forged a culture uniquely their own, simply fighting for freedom and autonomy.
The loss and waste on display here is the epitome that I hoped had died with the passing of the twentieth century. I hoped that conflicts such as these were merely a thing of the past. Yet, they persist, and I have nothing but hatred for those responsible for this conflict. For they took their power… and used it to fuck everything up.
Europe is dealing with an energy crisis, spurred by a dependence on Russian oil. Businesses have had to shut down, people are struggling to pay for their utilities, and none of this would happen if these dicknozzles cared about others. But they don’t. They just fucking don’t!
The entire world is getting financially screwed by this war, with stocks crashing as people become increasingly risk averse. While most people do not care about the market, the market affects everyone and everything. It affects the behaviors of massive corporations, it affects the price of goods, the job market, and assuming you are fortunate enough to have a retirement account, it always affects you.
The stock market crashes, combined with the staggered ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to even worse inflation and caused everything to become more expensive. All while wages continue to stagnate, with people actively losing buying power year after year. Thus making ‘financial comfort’ let alone freedom even more of a more elusive fantasy to those who have yet to ‘make it.’ Let alone home ownership because, due to the rising cost of commodities used to craft homes, rising interest rates, and an increase post COVID demand, those are more expensive than ever!
Things would be fucked up without Russia being a bitch, but they just had to make things worse. They just had to make the world worse…
Editor’s Note: Natalie Neumann does not condone or endorse any anti-Russian sentiment. Russia is home to a wide array of lovely and brilliant people who deserve better than their country. No country is full of bad people, but many countries are led and controlled by bad people. Those bad people, and the systems that brought them into power, are the targets of Natalie’s ire.
Part 1-2: The Loss of Human Rights
Human Rights are something the United States has historically struggled with. For all this guff about it being a land of the free, the nation’s history can be summarized by highlighting a series of human rights atrocities. The genocide of Native Americans in the name of progress and settling across the North American continent. The enslavement of Black people since the foundation of the country and well into the twentieth century. Or, depending on how you look at it, modern day. Because, as the constitution says: slavery’s not a crime if they’re criminals.
I could go on, but I’ll just cut to the chase. This past year, Roe v. Wade was overturned, removing the Federal right for people to have abortions, and granting states the right to impose restrictions on what people are allowed to do with their bodies.
If you were to ask me circa 2021 what Roe v. Wade was, I would have no idea. As someone born in the mid 90s, the idea of there being a Federal right to abortion was something I had considered to be intrinsic. An autonomous right to participate in an act that had been performed for centuries, and one that members of my family have used throughout their lives.
The right to have an abortion is the freedom to make a decision without persecution from the state. It is the freedom of autonomy. If one does not wish that they should have an abortion for whatever reason, they were allowed to under Roe v. Wade. This is an incredibly basic right, and the only reason why one would want to deny people the ability to choose is because they want to make the choices for them.
While not all women can give birth and not all people with the ability to give birth are women, this is ultimately about men wanting to control women. This is about undoing rights granted 50 years ago, and altering the realm of acceptable thought via societal regression. The legality of abortion is something that was settled upon half a century ago in America, but power-hungry cretins and Christian extremeists always hated it. So now, by manipulation of the deeply flawed means of populating the supreme court, this right has become ‘debatable’ once more.
I should not need to recount how this forces rape victims to carry and care for their abuser’s children. I should not need to state how this can lead to kids, not just minors, but kids, becoming mothers while they are still in elementary school. I should not need to point out how this can be abused by men to control women. And I should not need to say that if a woman has a child she does not want, that child is not going to have a good upbringing. Yet, because the Republicans are dicknozzles and the Democrats are obsessed with the idea of ‘taking the high road,’ an incalculable number of people are now fucked.
Oh, but this assault on human rights does not only affect those capable of giving birth. Because it is never one thing, and while the ultimate goal might be to remove the rights for gays, Blacks, and women, the first target to knock down are the transes.
Trans people have been surging in visibility over the past decade. An entire generation of people with qualms about their gender assigned at birth have gotten resources to make themselves more happy with themselves, both physically and emotionally. And some people just can’t seem to allow other people to be happy. Why is that the case? Um… lots of reasons. But to provide a punchy answer:
Generations of transphobia largely propagated through misunderstanding, spurred by the post-WW2 fear and vilification of anything that went against anything queer. This percolated within much of the western zeitgeist, trans people developed a reputation as gross lying freaks who wear the guise of a woman, but then surprise you with a cock! The most disgusting thing.
Reactionaries, and bigots, are protective of their ‘nostalgic’ impressions, especially the negative ones, and do not like how these people are being presented in a less demeaning light. As such, there has been a steady drip of smear campaign after smear campaign to use against trans people and the latest incarnation is all about ‘the children.‘
This has led to a deluge of utterly baseless claims about how trans people are grooming the youth, coming after ‘your’ children and want to force them to ‘mutilate’ via ‘irreversible’ procedures. A lot of it is spreading insane garbage like how ‘they are given bottom surgery to grade schoolers.’ When you would be hard pressed to find any surgeon willing to do more than breast augmentation or reduction surgery on a minor. And even then, it is very rarely for someone under the age of 16. Or lies about what puberty blockers actually are, or their application for non-trans people.
I am sure a lot of transgender people can relate to this but… I am so, so tired of this crap. So tired of having my status or quality as a person be questioned because I chose to make myself happier. So tired of these people trying to compromise my group’s existence and create an environment so hostile to my kind that few would ever dare to transition. Much like Roe v. Wade, the goal here is to regress back to the days ‘before trans people were a thing.’ Except this time, they want to abolish any avenue people can take to transition.
They are starting with the moral panic of ‘the children being misled by predators’ but their ultimate goal is to do so much more. To make it impossible to change one’s legal sex or gender. To erase non-binary identities from public knowledge. To embolden the legal protections one may use to assault and murder trans people (the trans panic defense). And to allow employers, landlords, and all persons to discriminate against trans people until they cease to ‘exist.’
Then, once that is done, they will come for the gays, then the Blacks, then the women.
The trans youth healthcare bans are all steps in this plan to regress society into a state where minorities had fewer rights. This is the goal, this is the plan, and there is barely even an effort to hide this. It is all about shoving queers back into the closet, locking the door, and hoping they die a slow painful death, never to return.
Part 1-3: The Power to Destroy
There are two particular news stories that really stuck with me this past year. The first was the utter disaster that was the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery. A merger that, on principle, disgusts me. The consolidation of power and influence across an industry, transforming two giant super corporations into a giant-er super-er corporation.
The power of the newly formed Warner Discovery is the sort of thing that antitrust laws were designed to prevent. I could go on about how terrible it is that so few corporations control so much of the world. However, what I find the most egregious about Warner Discovery is what they did upon merging. As part of the merger, the conglomerate had to shed certain expenses to bolster profits. This led to layoffs, as it always does, but this led to something else. It not only led to the cancellation of projects, but their destruction.
The two main casualties of this were Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt. A film that was in the midst of post-production, and another that was 95% complete. Both of which cost tens of millions of dollars to produce, took hundreds of people to make, and represented several lifetimes of labor hours. Why did they do this? Because they wanted to cut costs, take a tax write-off, and thought they would not make enough money. Oh, and they also removed 36 titles from the service, just so they did not need to pay royalties on them anymore, making them legally inaccessible.
This news, combined with other hare-brained plans, caused the company to lose approximately 20 billion dollars in market cap. I would say that this was a fitting punishment but… it was not. Upo. Learning about this,I reached a pivotal realization. That corporations can never be trusted with preservation. That they should not be trusted with preservation. And that independent preservation is not only superior, it is, morally and historically, a necessity.
Corporations are wretched beasts bereft of morals or appreciation for the arts. They are vile cretins who seek only their own pleasure, and should never be treated as anything more. If a corporation is large enough, if a corporation engages in activities like Warner Discovery, then I not only find it wrong to support them, but I find it right and moral to pirate all their shit.
Piracy is not theft. Piracy of a work that is not available is a form of preservation. If a company does not care about its products, then it does not deserve any revenue, or to be compensated. If this kills them, good. Let them die and let their assets be spread!
This whole Warner Discovery thing made me realize how no corporation should hold this much power. Then just a few months after this shitshow, Elon Musk took control of Twitter… and I became convinced that people should not hold as much power as some currently do.
I feel as if I should not even need to comment on how much of an idiot Elon Musk is. How terrible he is at running a company with his massive layoffs, overworked staff, refusal to comply with international regulations. Let alone the mass firing of people who are responsible for long-term maintenance of the platform and removal of several features. He hit the ground running and started acting like a 10-year-old, doing things he thinks is a good idea without having any awareness that, if someone is doing something, they probably have a good reason for it.
His habit of promoting right-wing extremists while banning anti-fascists, chances are things will only be all too telling about what his actual goals are. The real reason he wanted to buy Twitter. Because he does not want to promote free speech. He wants to control speech. To control communication. And to curate who is allowed onto one of the most important hubs of communication in the world.
Like it or not, Twitter is, or at least was, one of the most important communication platforms in the world for at least a few years. It was where news broke, contacts were made, and information of every sort was distributed. While people mock it for being a hellsite by design, because it was, at its core, it was a simple and efficient communication platform with the power to benefit the world at large.
Twitter is a powerful tool, and one that was never used quite to its truest and best use, and now, that will never be the case. Because it is run and owned by a moron who failed his way to success and tricked millions into thinking he was a genius. I would say that I hope the platform collapses, advertisers flee, and the debt leads Musk to sell it yet again for a morsel of its fraction of what he paid. Would that be much better? Most likely… but never doubt the incompetence of individuals with excessive money. Some like to think that only smart people are rich but, in many instances, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Power must be handled with caution and care, through deliberation and delicacy. Otherwise, you just wind up breaking shit!
Part 1-4: As A Crypto Tax Accountant – CRYPTO SUCKS!!!
Dedicated readers would know my slightly complicated stance on cryptocurrency. I started working as a crypto tax accountant in 2018, and it steadily evolved into being my primary job. While this makes me knowledgeable on the subject, I do not see cryptocurrency, in its current form, as something good or valuable.
The storyteller’s approach to describing the birth of cryptocurrency is that it was a Liberterian reaction to the 2008 financial crisis, where poor banking practices and shoddy securities lead to a global recession. People developed doubts in how the regulated and centralized banking systems of the world function. But instead of wanting to further regulate them, refuse to give them bailouts, or limit the amount of assets that can be invested into risky loans, these folks wanted their own banking system. One with ‘no’ regulation, ‘no’ centralization, rampant ‘anonymity,’ and where scams and grifts are a way of life, and if you get screwed over… sucks to be you, bub.
Some crypto enthusiasts or more historically minded folks might disagree with this notion. Saying things like how crypto was supposed to represent an end to financial crashes and prevent fraud due to blockchain technology. However, when you create a system where people can make money, then people will try to make as much money off of it as possible.
This is why crypto has such a community and so many evangelists who want to talk about it. Why pump and dumps are common for altcoin projects. Why holders of a coin constantly insist on others to ‘HODL’ so the value of the token can go up. And why so many derivative and gimmicky projects are launched every day. Because people view crypto not as the future, and not as a superior alternative. They might have convinced themselves of this narrative, but that is not the reason why people are so invested into it. They are invested in crypto because it is another way to make money.
The idea behind crypto was to create an unregulated banking industry because, between all of the losses, there were people who made millions and billions of dollars by shorting the market. Whenever there is a crash, there are winners and losers. And by creating a new market, one with virtually no regulation and extreme volatility, you introduce a lot of ways to lose money… and slightly more ways to make money.
I have seen people living paycheck to paycheck accumulate a net worth of $50 million from cryptocurrency investments. I have filed returns where people reported tens of millions of proceeds from cryptocurrency trading, and 5 million in capital gains. I have seen people lose two million dollars in a single day because of a keylogger that somehow got onto their computer. I have seen people report capital losses of half a million dollars when the market was soaring. I have seen people make a million bucks when the market was in the gutter. Crypto… represents so much of what is wrong with the world.
What good does crypto provide for the world? What need does it fulfill, and how is it making the world a better place? Well… aside from the distribution of money, I would argue that it does not provide much good. It is a financial instrument… and not a very good one. I have brought this up several times, but certain cryptocurrencies have insane energy requirements, and are responsible for carbon emissions comparable to entire countries. Bitcoin alone had greater electrical consumption than the United Kingdom in 2021.
Bitcoin is the least efficient cryptocurrency, as it was the first one developed, and is an example of a proof-of-work cryptocurrency. A model that requires the use of large amounts of computational power to process transactions in order to keep the blockchain secure. The alternative, proof-of-stake, has been around for a while, and its power consumption is insignificant next to proof-of-work. How much? Well, that is tricky to assign a number to, but we have a really good example in the form of Ethereum.
After delaying the process for years, Ethereum transitioned from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake earlier this year, and in doing so, its electrical consumption decreased by 99.988%. If this is broadly true, and all crypto can transition away from POW to POS, then the energy requirements of crypto would become insignificant. It might not be as efficient as Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal, but there would be some value in an alternative. Not because the services are bad, but because of two reasons. These three represent an oligopoly, and oligopolies are bad. And two, because Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal all hate porn.
Why do they hate porn? Mostly because of crotchety old White men whose dicks don’t work any more and want to impose their belief systems onto others by limiting their freedom. Now, these companies have the right to do this… but maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe when a company becomes so ubiquitous and large like Visa or PayPal it should be forced to not restrict the types of content users can buy unless it is illegal in the purchaser’s country. Because as these policies grow more common, they will only hurt people, and not help anyone. They will hurt sex workers, independent artists, every flavor of NSFW content creators, porn sites and porn producers, and also a lot of queer people.
…So, what does this have to do with crypto? Well, crypto is largely unregulated, and does not discriminate against whatever content you buy with it. Whether it be video games, hentai, computer hardware, cocaine, human slaves, or an API subscription. Now, most businesses would not want to futz with crypto, because its value is so volatile and it is not supported in just about any major accounting software. However, this is where stablecoin comes in.
Stablecoins are cryptocurrency backed by a government issued currency, and they are pretty popular. With three of the top six cryptocurrency, USDC, USDT, and BUSD, all being stablecoins backed by the US dollar. Now, stablecoins can sometimes be a lie, like TerraUSD, which collapsed earlier this year, but generally speaking, I think stablecoins could be a means of working around major payment companies.
…And that’s it. That’s the best use for crypto as I see it. I am talking about cryptocurrency as a currency, not as a tool for smart contracts or anything like that. Because smart contracts can exist without crypto. And as a currency, I think its best use is to be an alternative way to digitally buy goods by exchanging something comparable to government issued currency. Also, it is a good way to hide money from the IRS if you want to be a CRIMINAL! And if you do… that’s pretty cool. I won’t work with you, but I can respect that anti-government sentiment.
…Speaking of criminals, FTX was a thing that happened, and I don’t have much to say about this other than… those auditors fucked up. They are an insult to the profession, and deserve their share of the blame for the meltdown. Auditors of companies like this need to be hyper critical, and not back down when suspicions are high. If your issuance of an adverse or disclaimer letter leads a company to shutting down, then good. It means you are doing the world a favor!
Part 1-5: A Bloodstained Solution
Editor’s Note: Natalie Neumann does not condone or endorse violence against any persons or groups. She recognizes that a society fueled by rampant violence is one that will, inevitably, destroy itself. These violent fantasies are merely a means of venting her frustration and not a call to actions for any of her readers.
When I think about the problems with this world, I keep coming back to the fact that so few people control so much power. So many problems could be solved by forcing those with power to act not for themselves, but for everyone beneath them. Unlike some, I can imagine a world where those with power must use the power to aid people, to benefit the common good, and lift up those at the bottom of their pyramids.
Or else, they shall be slain like the foul lords they are, their carcasses mutilated while their castles are pillaged, their death presented in lavish and disturbing detail as a warning for all in a similar position. Heed the whims of the masses, act with the power afforded to you… or get murked.
I submerge myself in such fantasies and whisper to myself… “What a wonderful world such would be.”
Alas, such a solution is seen as uncivilized, immoral, and, overall, wrong. …When it is the most effective. Human beings, for how incredible they are, are frail and feeble things. A simple bullet to the brain or a knife to the jugular is all it takes to end the life of one of these lifeforms. Yet in a nation like the United States, where gun ownership is a right and a thing of pride for many, so rarely do people take action against those in power. And when it does, it is seen as impossible, unreasonable. When the only unreasonable element is that it does not happen with the frequency of school shootings.
January 6, 2021 was a day where it seemed like this idea was going to be questioned. When the US capitol was stormed by radicals who wished to claim power and fight against a system that, as they saw it, produced incorrect and unacceptable results. Yet, they acted without plan. Without purpose. And once they had invaded this office, they did not claim it for themselves, offer a declaration, and urge others to rise up and rein death upon all who oppose them. They did not even maim their political enemies
If they were to have taken action, if they were to use their numbers to slaughter all who opposed them… I would have far more respect for them. For at least they know that there is no true revolution without bloodshed. For they would remind the world that death… gets shit done! And I do not care how many rules, laws, and standards must be broken so long as the results are favorable. It does not matter how many crimes and atrocities are committed. For those who win are the heroes, and those who lose are whatever we want them to be.
In other words, part of me is still pissed that people merely protested outside of the homes of the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. If I heard that a group of people went to the homes of Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch, and murdered them all, I would laughed. I would have been filled with joy. Because a problem would have been solved then and there. Yes, this would birth a new problem… but so long as an old problem goes away, that’s a win!
Part 2: Gamindustri Rundown – 2022 Edition
…Fucking video games?! I am going to follow-up that edgy masturbatory political fantasy with discussions about the inane happenings of an entertainment industry? Yes. Yes I am. These two things occupy similar levels of importance in my unoptimized mind space, and this is the format I established for these things so… let’s talk about some stupid video games! Specifically, the ‘highlights’ of the video game industry in 2022.
Part 2-1: The Acquisition Psycho Fiesta!
There were a LOT of acquisitions this year, and, frankly, it disgusts me. I made it a point to report on every acquisition I saw and, counting every single acquisition, I have a list of 57 acquisitions and 6 strategic investments. Oh, but why have offer numbers when I can list every single one…
Take Two acquired Zynga
Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard
Sony acquired Bungie
Nacon acquired Midgar Studio
Focus Entertainment acquired Leikir Studio.
Nacon acquired Daedalic
Tencent acquired Inflexion Games
Tencent acquired 1C Entertainment
Embracer Group acquired metricminds
Nintendo acquired SRD
Netflix acquired Next Games
Toge Productions acquired Tahoe Games
Epic Games acquired Bandcamp
Atari acquired Mobygames
Tencent (basically) acquired Tequila Works
Sony acquired Haven Studios
Netflix acquired Boss Fight Entertainment
Embracer Group acquired Beamdog
Embracer Group acquired Lost Boys Interactive
Embracer Group acquired Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics
Behaviour Entertainment acquires Midwinter Entertainment
Saudi Arabia invested $1 billion into Embracer Group
Activision Blizzard acquired Proletariat
Nordisk Games acquired Supermassive Games
Nintendo acquired Dynamo Pictures
Sony acquired Repeat.gg
Sony acquired Right Stuf
Soedesco acquired Superlumen
Embracer acquired Bitwave Games
Embracer acquired Gioteck
Embracer acquired Limited Run Games
Embracer acquired Middle-earth Enterprises
Embracer acquired Singtrix
Embracer acquired Tatsujin
Embracer acquired Tripwire Interactive
Embracer acquired Tuxedo Labs
TinyBuild acquired IPs from Bossa Studios
Sony acquired Savage Game Studios
Sony acquired 14.1% of FromSoftware
Tencent acquired 16.3% of FromSoftware
NetEase acquired Quantic Dream
Tencent acquired 9.99% of Ubisoft
Saudi Arabia set aside $13 billion to acquire a leading game publisher
Fandom acquired GameSpot
Fandom acquired Metacritic
Fandom acquired TV Guide
Fandom acquired Fanatical
Fandom acquired Screen Junkies
Fandom acquired GameFAQs
Fandom acquired Giant Bomb
Fandom acquired Cord Cutters News
Fandom acquired Comic Vine
Meta acquired Armature
Meta acquired Camouflaj
Meta acquired Twisted Pixel
Kadokawa Corporation acquired Anime News Network
Netflix acquired Spry Fox
Frontier Developments acquired Complex Games
Krafton acquired Neon GIant
Thunderful Group acquired Jumpship
NetEase invested in Rebel Wolves
CREST acquired Aquaplus
Tencent invested in Shift Up
Now, this is by no means a cumulative list… and that should scare you.
The games industry is getting smaller and smaller, to the point where it is possible it will soon resemble the music, TV, and film industries, and become a full-on oligopoly. AAA publishers are joining into one. Smaller studios are getting gobbled up by the dozens. And the ability for newcomers to enter this industry without ample outside funding feels increasingly unobtainable.
I do not want the industry to become what it is rapidly shaping into. I do not want power to be consolidated. I do not want fewer and fewer people to have the ability to dictate what games are made. I want the world of gaming to be wide and vast, filled with oodles of different companies of varying sizes. Instead, these past few years, just the opposite has been happening, with studios folding into each other that it is hard to keep track of every one.
I am not hopeful for the games industry as I see this onslaught of acquisitions continue. While some might highlight how the modern form of acquisition is quite passive… I cannot believe that. I cannot convince myself that things will be alright because companies know what they are doing. Because they don’t. Mistakes, terrible judgment calls, and overall bad decisions are exceedingly common in the games industry. And I cannot trust the men who control it. …And it is always men.
Part 2-2: Unionize While You Still Can!
This was a landmark year for video game workers rights. Not because abuse, crunch, or the like became a thing of the past— far from it. However, this was the year where video game quality assurance workers were able to start their own unions.
If there is anything that will counter the adverse effects of this industry-wide consolidation, it will be a rise in unionization. It is game workers being granted the right and power to say no to their corporate masters, and be able to tell them to fuck off without fear of being banned from the industry. This is workers taking back power that they had been denied since the inception of the medium, and I love seeing it play out.
However, just QA is not enough. Writers, programmers, designers, audio people, art people, modelers, animators— every single goldarn profession in gaming should have a union. Every major studio should have a union. This should not be necessary. Unions as a concept are a response to a broken system where workers are viciously undervalued. But in a broken system, you need to use whatever tools you have to take the power from the powerful and distribute it broadly. Because that is not only an inherent good, that is what allowed humanity to prosper. Kindness, generosity, and the ability to act as a group— these are the traits that allowed humanity to survive long enough to build societies!
Part 2-3: So Long, Stadia!
One of the more cathartic news stories this past year was the announced end of Google Stadia. Since it was first unveiled in 2019, people have been expecting/anticipating its death. And for many reasons. But let’s just go over the five biggest ones I can think of.
One, while streaming is a reasonable alternative, streaming exclusives are incredibly anti-preservation and anti-customer. So, the idea of Stadia being successful was always a threat to the games industry. Because it would represent another way in which games could be murdered! As such, there is a very small group of people who would ever be interested in streaming only games like this.
Two, streaming works best as a service. Not as goods that one must buy for a fixed price. If Stadia just offered a premium subscription plan, then chances are it would still be around today. Because then, it would basically just be a streaming-only Xbox Game Pass.
Three, Google has such a long hit list that it is hard to take any venture they are going into seriously. Because there’s a good chance they will just kill it off a few years later. As such, it is hard for most tech savvy users to become invested in a new Google service. I still miss Google Reader…
Four, Google does not have a place in gaming. They do not have their own game studios, they do not make consoles, and they do very little beyond offering an app store. As such… it was a dumb idea for them to try and penetrate a market that is so defined by brand loyalty. And it is a negative surprise that Microsoft and Sony both retaliated by ramping up their own streaming services.
Five, people do not actually want to use the cloud for much more than storage. For as much as tech companies have been pushing ‘the cloud’ over the past two years, I like to think that, by now, it’s clear that people only like using it for certain things. Watching videos, managing storage, and web-based software. However, when something is intensive and interactive, people tend to prefer having the hardware in their hands. This is why you don’t hear about video editors using remote workstations or using a remote high powered PC for gaming purposes.
Some things are just better when there is a minimal barrier between the user and the computer, and when it is something that the user owns and controls. Not something abstractly managed by an unseen corporation on a server.
And I don’t think there is a better example of this than the recently released Steam Deck.
Part 2-4: Steam Deck – The Next Gen Console People Actually Wanted
Valve has been trying to break into the hardware game for the past decade. Steam Machines, Steam Link, and Steam controllers were all attempts at bringing PC gaming to the couch, but after all these attempts, they realized something. The best way to get beyond the PC is to make something that can be played anywhere at any time. A handheld gaming PC!
Ever since the modest success of things like the Nvidia Shield in 2013, there has been a market for handheld PCs for gaming purposes. Most of these were niche little novelties or emulation doodads, but then the Steam Deck came out and changed everything. Its slick user interface, wide spectrum of user-generated software tools, cozy yet girthy form factor, and general power were all major perks… but what made the Steam Deck was the games.
Its vast compatibility with over 6,000 games on Steam. Its broad access to emulation tools. And the fact that it is basically the mythical Switch Pro thanks to the power of Yuzu and Ryujinx.
All of these games were available to people, in the form of a handheld, that they could play anywhere. And that… that is what people want. The ability to play all of their games, with no restrictions, on a powerful device that they can bring with them anywhere.
I have heard more hubbub and love for the Steam Deck than I have for either the PS5 or Xbox Series. The Steam Deck received comparable hype and excitement to the Nintendo Switch, and it got me thinking about game consoles and if they should even exist in their current form. As just these boxes you plug into a TV. When they could just be portable devices that one could dock into their TV.
If every console going forward was basically a Switch or Steam Deck, I think people would play them more. I think the problem cloud gaming was trying to solve… would be solved. And I think people would grow more attached to their devices.
Now, you might say that this would slow down the graphical progress of games, I have to ask what progress? Aside from advanced PC only lighting effects with ray tracing and Lumen, I truly do not see much further that games can go beyond upping the frame rates, resolution, and level of detail. And you know how consoles handled this in the past? They released new models.
…In other words, I want consoles to become Steam Deck like portables and for iterative upgrades of these portables to come out every 2 or 3 years. Because I think that is what the customers actually want.
Part 2-5: A Brief Recap of the Chaos;Head Noah PC Release
This is not an important story, but it is one of the most memorable from all of 2022 for me.
Chaos;Head Noah was announced for the west via a Switch double pack back in March. It was confirmed for Steam later in July, only for VN insiders to determine that the game was rejected for a release on Steam back in August. Spike Chunsoft later confirmed that the game was not coming to Steam in September. And literally 18 hours before the release, it was reannounced for Steam.
…Also, the official translation for the game was supposedly not very good. I could not find a clean forum post or something going over the translation problems in detail, but a few reviewers commented on the issues. Namely Kirikiri Basara and Impulse Gamer. But I am the curious sort, so I decided to watch 15 minutes of the second hour of a playthrough to examine the quality of the translation and… I can see where people are coming from… to an extent.
In that 15 minute sample, I found about three lines that I thought were a bit awkward:
“It had broken clean in two. I’d bought that thing in an online auction and had to pay a whole bunch for it!”
“When the anger and confusion passed, I turned my mind toward the girl’s face and the strange sight I’d seen.”
“It’s really mean of you to not open the door.”
None of these lines are terrible, but they are pretty sloppy. The sort of thing that I have let slide in my own haphazard editing passes, but would expect a professionally translated and professionally edited visual novel to avoid. Now, the rants included in the TIPS sections… those are something an editor should have shot down immediately. …But I don’t think they are game breaking like the source I’ve linked. Who, for the record, is part of a fan translation team that spent years working on an English patch for the original PC release… and also a WIP retranslation patch for the official English release. As such, I would take his opinions with a grain of salt.
Part 2-6: Sue and Get Sued – Yuji Naka’s Fall From Grace
…This is just a cute story that I want to revisit, because you cannot make this up. It is too mundane for a nutjob to come up with, yet too absurd for anybody to realistically expect.
Yuji Naka has developed a bad reputation in recent years, due mostly to his uncooperative behavior around western studios during the late 90s. Sonic X-treme and Geist Force are the two big ones. However, this did not stop him from working with Square Enix on Balan Wonderworld. A mess of a game that could have been something special if it had an actual story, better design, and another 6 months to cook in the oven.
Naka was not happy with the final product, and proceeded to file a lawsuit against Square Enix, stating he was removed from the project 6months prior to launch. This was an odd move but then, six months later, Naka was arrested for insider trading… twice! Once for Dragon Quest Tact and once for Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. Insider trading like this is not too uncommon in other industries, but it was quite shocking to see someone with as much of a legacy as Naka to throw it all away… And now he will probably never work in the industry ever again. Let this be a lesson, kids. If you want to be a great game developer… don’t throw hissy fits and do insider trading.
Part 3: So… About Those Video Games
I love video games— I have since I was 6 years old— However, if I was in a hypothetical do or die scenario, I would give them up in favor to keep writing and keep creating my own things.Natalie Rambles About 2021
Well, well, well. I suppose I stuck to my word, did I not? Video games,
for better or for worse, are a part of me. I am enthusiastically invested in the medium and industry. I adore video games, their history, the artistry that goes into making them, and if I could, I would play through dozens of games a year, writing detailed reviews of each and every one of them.
This past year, I produced a measly 8 game reviews. Pokémon Legends: Arceus, Max’s Big Bust 2 – Max’s Bigger Bust, Kirby Discovery, re:Dreamer, Palladium, AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative, Press-Switch V0.6a, Student Transfer V7. …Along with three Student Transfer scenario reviews for Year of the Fox, COWA, The Change One Word App, Under the Skin. But I do not count scenario reviews as true game reviews.
So… what the hell happened here? Well, the answers are twofold.
During the summer of 2022, and the 6 month gap between AI and P-S, I was hard at work writing over 170,000 words of fiction: TSF Series #006-3: OPPAI 3 – Let’s Go To Hell (32k words), TSF Series #014: Satanica Intervention – What’s Yours is Mine (16k words), The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan (88k words), TSF Series #004-3: VoRE_EOS (11k words), and Verde’s Doohickey – Session Extra (35k words). I have zero regrets about going about these projects, as I had a lovely time, and I produced some of my best work so far.
Then, immediately after I finished Session Extra, I decided to begin my own personal video game archival project for Dragalia Lost. I have spoken about this project in length in my various Rundowns, but let me recite everything I did for this thing. Because it took me over 300 hours, easily.
- I created and updated a list of over 3,500 items to archive, curating teams for specific quests to ensure adequate representation.
- I recorded over 200 hours of footage from the game, including quest gameplay, gameplay of every campaign stage, and various story segments.
- I downloaded several hundred GB of video footage from fellow archivists that I then renamed and converted using the FFmpeg batch converter, after using the command line initially.
- I transferred over 2TB of footage between my 64GB phone, with 30GB of free storage, to my computer. Which does not sound like a big deal, but this took forever.
- I uploaded and organized over 3,000 files and over 400GB of footage to Google Drive and Archive.org mirrors.
- And I had to deal with assorted technical difficulties, including lost footage, iCloud being a bad storage service, and alternative solutions that proved to be dead ends.
I swear, I put more work into this than I did into The Dominance of Abigale Quinlan. That’s how much freaking work this was. But it is all worth it, because I saved over 450 hours of footage of Dragalia Lost and put them up on Archive.org. This, this right here, is why my productivity was so lax from September to November 2022. …And this is also why I fucking hate video games.
I already went on an anti-game-destruction rant in Natalie Rambles About Dragalia Lost: THE FINAL, but it bears repeating. The video game industry does not respect itself. It does not value its products as works of art worth preserving. It has killed thousands of games, erased the work of countless people, and uses artificial scarcity to force people to pay attention to their titles.
Live services are the worst thing to happen to video games in the history of video games. A video game that depends on a central server is a ticking time bomb, and all but the most popular will die. I knew this when I went into Dragalia Lost but… looking back, I think part of me wanted to experience this. This sense of loss. Of seeing something one learns to love and adore be so viciously destroyed. It was something that had become increasingly common in the world of gaming and, 3.25 years later, I got my wish. I got to experience the heartbreak of seeing one of my favorite games of all time die, never to be played ever again.
Only now that it is gone can I truly comprehend how much I loved it. How I looked forward to playing it every night before bed. How I made it a part of my morning routine. How much joy I felt when new events and updates came in. How the drive to see what came next gave me something to look forward to during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a sense, it stopped being a mere game at some point and, in my warped, fucked, neurodivergent mind, it stopped being a game.
It became… a friend.
And now they are lost, and all I have are the fragments of what they once were. Fragments that I have been clinging to, clutching because I cannot accept that they are gone. Because I do not want them to ever go. Because they should never go Because when something is digital, when it is software, it should be eternal. It should be forever.
But… the industry says otherwise. And because of that, it killed Dragalia. It killed my friend. The video game industry killed my friend… and I hate it for that. I hate it so much that… I need to stop.
After publishing my Pokémon Violet review in January 2023, I will begin an indefinite hiatus on video game reviews that are not TSF visual novels. Because while I adore video games as an artform and medium, and playing video games is one of my favorite things in the world, I cannot commit to being a video game reviewer in the way I once was.
I simply do not have time to keep up with the broader culture by playing most games of significance, so I feel disconnected to the greater world of gaming. Big releases are already discussed to death by more knowledgeable and analytical people than me, so what sense is there in me reviewing them? And if I am not reviewing them, why even play them? After 11 years of this game reviewing games, the two are one in the same in my mind. Besides… I have been dissatisfied with my ability to appreciate and love the games that I cover, and I feel like… I have so little to offer.
To commit to this change, I have uninstalled Steam from my computer, removed my Steam bookmark, and disabled my IsThereAnyDeal notification service. I chucked my unopened custom Xbox Series controller into my closet. I plan on packing up my Switch this spring. And as I think back on the various old systems collecting dust in my closet, I remember the elementary school located nearby my house.
I will still read gaming news, keep up with the industry, write Rundowns, watch Nintendorks on YouTube-period-com, and check ResetEra several times a day. Why do all this supplemental idiot crap for freaks when I am missing out on the ‘good stuff,’ the actual video games? Because I like the idea of video games more than actual video games. Because video games can be killed. They can be taken away from me. But the history of the medium can never be taken away from me.
The news will never go away. People will never stop talking about them. People will always make videos about them. And if video games exist only in my memory, only in snippets… then I can make them better in my mind than they ever could be in reality.
In my mind, they won’t have content chopped up across a season pass. They won’t launch in a buggy late beta state. They won’t feature predatory monetization elements. They won’t have garbage systems that gnaw at my brain. If something is an idea, it can be bereft of flaws. If something exists only in your mind, it can be perfect. It won’t be lambasted by people who complain for the sake of complaining. It won’t be marred by controversy around crunch. The studio won’t be brought up by an evil conglomerate who wishes to carve the industry into an oligopoly.
If video games only exist in the realm of fantasy, if they only exist in your mind, they cannot hurt you. They cannot leave you. They cannot be stolen from you. And they can be as good as you want them to be.
Besides… I think I reached a good end with video games. Pokémon Legends: Arceus and NEO: The World Ends With You both fulfilled long-standing dreams of mine, and there is no upcoming game that I am truly wanting for. I would love to play some games, love to replay some games, but… this is fine.
…Okay, but why are TSF visual novels an exception?
Because TSF visual novels are a niche beyond the games industry. They are not widely known, recognized, or reported. They are part of the TSF community before the games industry, and I mentally view them as something different on a fundamental level. Also, very few people actually talk about them outside of the community, so I do feel as if my words have some utility.
In other words, I will keep talking about Press-Switch and Student Transfer. I will finally resume reviewing Student Transfer scenarios soon. I will finally review Mice Tea in Q1 2023. And so forth and so on.
Part 4: Eleven Years of Writing Crap For The Internet
Starting out this segment, I expected to go on a tirade about how my productivity this year was bad and I got nothing done but… no. I got a few things done.
Achievement 1: Cumulative Content Output
In 2022, I released over 600,000 words of writing which is… a lot. That is well beyond 1,000 words a day and over 50,000 words a month. For a hobbyist writer, that is quite the achievement, but how did I do this? Well… I released over 335,000 words of fiction this past year.
Now, this number is inflated, as the majority of the production time for my 138,000 word novel, Psycho bullet Festival 2222, was done in 2021. However, I still wrote and released a novel, a novel extension, five novellas, and two short stories. Is that bad for a hobbyist novelist? Of course not! That is a good trickle of content, especially when you are writing other stuff. Such as a two-part 27k word essay about TSF and… 53 Rundowns! Yeah, I do not have an easy way to get the word count on all of those, but rest assured, it’s well within 6 digits!
I am happy with the quantity and quality of what I produced this past year and… I will not be able to replicate this next year, sorry. I have plans for a lot of stuff, but I will be lucky if I hit 500k words with all of the real life stuff I have lined up. Still, that’s oodles and kaboodles of Natalie content, so no complaining, ya hear?
Achievement 2: Nigma Box Has Transitioned!
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of my website, Nigma Box, I decided to give her a full redesign in March 2022. Now instead of my site looking like a remnant from 2012, it looks relatively modern. I kept the same general design elements, color scheme, feel, and now it actually looks decent on mobile. There are some things I should probably go about changing, such as that gap after embedded YouTube videos that I cannot seem to fix, and the Novels header menu text goes away when highlighted. As for the font… honestly, fond choices are really hard for me. Spacing between letters, between lines, and so forth require a special eye that I lack. But after some deliberation, I think my current setup is readable and generally pleasant to look at.
However, on December 1, 2022, I decided to make one more massive change to this website by transforming Nigma Box into Natalie.TF. …Which was actually a far simpler process than I anticipated. I bought a domain, added it to WordPress, waited 3 days, and then waited a month before making it my primary domain. Things got quirky for a few minutes, as I don’t know how to schedule changes on my website, but Nigma Box evolved into Natalie.TF… and it barely changed as a result. However, this name feels right, it is punchy, and I like it.
I am happy with how things are now, but I am sure I will keep tweaking things as I see fit. However, nobody has offered much criticism of the new look, so I dunno if there is something obviously bad about the design or whatever.
Achievement 3: Natalie.TF Has Been Releasing Content Regularly for Over 10 Years!
As of May 25, 2022 this site achieved a milestone that not many get to experience. Not only did it celebrate its tenth anniversary, but it always received consistent updates and an influx of new content. While my output shifts and stutters, I have never gone more than two weeks without posting anything, and I have zero plans on ever allowing that to happen. …Mostly because weekly rambly updates are super easy to write after you do them for over 9 bloody years.
While this is impressive, I also have to acknowledge that what I am doing, having and maintaining a dedicated blog, has such a dated concept. Within the past decade, creators have moved away from creating websites and to hosting their content on platforms. Article writers use Medium to publish independent articles. Creative writers don’t start their own websites, as they would rather put their stuff on places like ScribbleHub and AO3. If you do video, you pretty much need to use YouTube. If you make music, you need to put it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and maybe Bandcamp if you are cool. And instead of using dedicated forums to communicate with people, almost everyone switched over to Discord servers or general social media platforms.
The era of creating your own website is… a thing of the past in many respects. It is not something most younger people would think of doing, as it is not representative of the internet they, most likely, have always known. And, of course, it is easier to reach people if you post something on a platform.
I have pondered changing the way I do things as the digital world around me changes. If I should move to a platform myself. But as I look at Natalie.TF, I see a vast expanse of work, 11 years of creative labor and over 3.2 million words of writing. Much of it is shit, but it all helped me amass the skill and experience I now enjoy. And if I had used a platform, I do not think I would be able to do that. I doubt I would be able to save and preserve it all, let alone change how so much of it is presented with such ease.
By having a site to call my own, I am able to own my work. And I value that infinitely more than reaching more people or amassing a larger audience.
To my readers, I appreciate you. I am still stunned that I get hundreds of views a day. But I do not do it for a reception or for attention. I do this for me. I do this because I wanted to create things and… this seemed like the only way I could. By writing, writing, and writing, slowly getting better as I racked up millions of words and found my voice as a person. When I started doing this, I was not sure what I wanted, who I truly was, or if I even wanted to live if it meant being an adult and doing things I thought I never could. Because I was told I lacked the necessary skills. Because I was told I wasn’t good enough…
But now, everything is better. Now, I know who I am and I am comfortable with it. I have accepted my faults. I have found a passion and purpose I lacked when I first started doing this. It might not be much, and I doubt more than a handful of people will ever care. But I have a passion in my heart and… that passion will lead me forward.
Creating this site is one of the best decisions I ever made in my life, and so long as I still breathe, I will never allow it to die. For it is a part of me.
Part 5: Conclusion to the Clavietika Chronicles
Oh boy, we need to lay out some backstory here. In July of 2021, I was contacted by former Student Transfer scenario writer Clavietika. A transgender Colombian woman whose real name is Karen Wiktoria Sigilwig Rueda Pelayo. I had given two of her scenarios positive coverage on my site, and she asked me for help in improving her novel project, Crownbound! In order to help her with the project, I decided to take on editing duties as… her novel was a piece of shit. She did not know what she was doing, she was writing strictly from emotion, and her grasp of the English language made me seem like a master by comparison.
This was the origin point of our relationship, but we eventually began to talk, she shared personal details about her life with me and we ultimately decided to become friends. We would talk about games and TSF and other crap, but most of our discussions were about her and her issues. I consider myself a problem solver, and when a sad tran comes my way, I try to help them and ‘fix them’ as best as I can.
But with Clavi… that girl was fundamentally broken. I tried so hard, spent so many hours trying to help her with her issues. But, as I learned over the span of half a year, there is no way that a person like me can truly help a person like Clavi. Why? Because I do not believe that Clavi is capable of caring for other people. I am confident in saying she is the most entitled person I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. Despite how much she valued our relationship, she did not value me as a person. She valued me as a thing. A thing that gave her attention, that gave her advice, that supported her and helped her work through her emotions as she went on her regular fits. I was the person who took her ideas and made them into something legible.
Clavi is a person who not only craves the attention of others, but feels she is entitled to it. In order for her to be happy, she needs other people to reassure her with praise and affection. She has harmed and belittled others in an attempt at humor. She has harassed people for engagement, even when she has nothing of value to add. And she became such a pest, such a bother, and so terrible at following the rules and guidelines, that she was repeatedly banned from various communities. The Student Transfer discord, the Dream Team Studios discord, Rate Your Music, The Cardiacs discord, and probably far more.
She is the sort of person who will barge into communities simply so that more people can offer her attention, and has continued to abuse the kindness of others. When I stopped responding to her messages, she claimed I was abusing her. When I started being harsher and more critical of her behavior, she cried about how I was no longer ‘maternal’ to her. She expected me to act like her mother when she was 22 and I was 26.
When I blocked her, she begged members of a mutual discord channel to have me unblock her, as she thought she was entitled to talk to me. And she did all of this… when I treated her with more generosity than anyone outside of her family ever has… or ever will.
Cumulatively, between minor purchases made on her behalf, shipping goods to her, wiring her large sums of money, and paying for her $8,000 vaginoplasty, I gave roughly $15,000 to Clavietika. I did this because I wanted to help her. I wanted to give her the tools she needed to become a better person. She paid off her student loans, bought herself a new computer, and was able to address her debilitating genital dysphoria. I did all of this because I saw someone suffering and wanted the suffering to stop. Because I saw the glimmer of a better person within her, and I wanted that person to be freed.
But, after talking to her once more this past August and September, I reached the conclusion that such a person never existed. That the glimmer was a figment of my imagination, and Clavi is just a bad person. Clavietika is someone who refuses to acknowledge her faults, to improve herself, and even if she is better at not harassing me anymore, she has not changed, and I refuse to believe she even can change.
Also, let me make something very clear and dispel a rumor that I saw going on in the Dream Team Studios discord. At no point in my relationship to Clavietika did I have even the flicker of a romantic interest in her. I pitied her. I, in a sense, saw fragments of myself in her, and wished to help her better herself. What I did for Clvietika was out of empathy, care for others, and a desire to help those born into third world countries and with a cocktail of mental disabilities.
And I regret helping her. She was a waste of my time, energy, and money. However, I have moved on. I buried the hatchet and vented my frustration with the creation of TSF Series #014: Satanica Intervention – What’s Yours Is Mine. A story that is based on a fantasy that Clavietika told me about how she wanted to steal her crush’s body, because she deserved it, and wanted to discard her inferior race and become White. Also, I had a demon rape the Clavi inspired character with a penis made of smegma that sealed her stolen vagina forever, erased her memories, and caused her to become a nun. Because if you’re a piece of shit, I’ll smegma-rape yo white supremacist ass into the dirt, bitch!
Despite investing so much money into Clavietika, I am doing fine financially. I made over $60,000 in both 2021 and 2022… before taxes, insurance, and all expenses. If you count my retirement accounts, my net worth is over $90,000. I live with my parents and will make significantly more money in 2023, so… I’m doing pretty fucking good for a middle class trans-bitch.
Part 6: Natalie Made A New Friend!
Oh god… I’m learning how to edit memes. This cannot end well…
Back in August 2022, I began receiving quite a few comments from a reader who I eventually started talking to on Discord. The original purpose behind this was to help her with various ‘trans stuff’ and personal issues, as us trans
girls gotta stick together. But despite not wanting to make friends with anyone after Clavietika, she was just so cute and charming that a relationship about helping her with her emotional space and transition wound up blossoming into a fully fledged friendship. …After I swore off friendship after the Clavietika incident. So, um, thanks for making me into a LIAR, Cassie!
Yeah, about that… My new friend goes by the name of Cassandra Wright, or just Cassie. A name that Student Transfer fans might recognize as the female lead from the excellent MaidenSwap route introduced in V5. She uses the name of that character, shares a certain kinship with her, and the whole thing is a little… strange. But so long as some quirk doesn’t impair someone’s ability to function, then it’s all good in my book. Names and identities should be fluid so long as you aren’t some CRIMINAL! And Cassie ain’t no Criminal Girl. That is far too lewd for her. They won’t even let her into Asure, so she can’t even escape it! …That sure was a reference.
Now, I want to keep what happens in our DMs, or in the group chat with her boyfriend, private, but I will say that Cassie and I have become excellent friends over the past few months. She is a sweet and playful girl with a lovely sense of humor, and after getting to know each other intimately, we absolutely hit it off. Our personalities mesh together nicely into a warm pasty ooze. She is receptive or and interested in my fascination, as I am in her’s. And I feel like I can truly be myself around her, as I know she will accept even my most eccentric eccentricities.
Also, unlike every other friend I have ever had, Cassie is a diligent reader of Natalie.TF, reading through just about everything I produce. …Unless it is too dark, lewd, or heavy for her fragile little soul.
I have spent my entire life afraid to be open and honest with people. Afraid of being rejected. Of being misunderstood. Of being dismissed and ignored. I always hated telling people about myself, and the only place where I feel I can truly be myself is on this site, on Natalie.TF, and when around people who know and understand what I do. So people like Cassie are a gosh darn miracle within an anomaly to me, and I hope nothing ever wedges us apart. Because, as the horse women said: Friendship really is witchcraft.
Part 7: Natalie.TF Traffic Stats – 2022 Edition
Time for the NUMBERS section of this post, as I have some stats to share with you all! …But the gist is that 2021 was an exceptional year, and 2022 was more in-line with 2020. Also, these are not true year end numbers, as I pulled these screenshots on December 23, 2022.
Looking at my annual traffic, we can see a 21.64% decrease in readers and a 10.28% decrease in visitors compared to 2021. But if we compare to 2020 instead, the figures are pretty comparable. 281,975 views and 57,715 visitors for 2020, and 269,598 views and 69,707 visitors for 2022.
Based on this information, I think it is safe to say that 2021 was a special year for my readership. Why was it special? Well… pretty much exclusively because of the Student Transfer content I put out throughout that year. My review of Student Transfer V5 came out in November 2020, but continued to get a lot of hits into 2021, only for my V6 review to come out in July 2021. This, combined with the volume of ST Scenario reviews I was releasing at the time, helped my view count remain high.
In 2022, by comparison, I only released three ST scenario reviews and did not issue a review of Student Transfer V7 until December 1, 2022. This limited the amount of new traffic I would get from ST content, and led my view count to be considerably lower than the year prior. If I want more views, I just need to push out more Student Transfer scenario reviews.
Why do I say this? Well, let’s look at an abridged summary of every post that had more than 1,000 views in 2022.
As you can see, over half of my views here came from a mixture of pages, the home page, and archives. Student Transfer content makes up nearly half of all page views. And the overwhelming majority of my post-based views came from posts published before 2022. This is because I did not post many ‘high readership’ posts throughout 2022, and this is pretty much the key factor why my views went down. And if I want to get more views, I just need to put out more Student Transfer scenario reviews… or TSF content in general.
My reviews for Palladium, Max’s Big Bust 2, and re:Dreamer all did well for me in terms of views. My review of When I Woke Up, I Became A Bagel Girl has shown itself to have some good legs. My two part Ramble on TSF and TSF Comics have done… shockingly well. Not only have they netted over 3,000 views together, but the view counts are so similar that there is reason to believe that every reader went through both parts… which is insane. I have seen two part video essays where part 1 has 20% more views than the later parts, but here… this is nearly one to one.
Sadly, none of the content on this chart was my own original content, as the only one to break 200 views was TSF Series #013: Delusion Kamera – Poolside Switching.
As for additional insights, both my monthly and daily readership took a hit in 2022, fluttering between 17k and 24k a month, before spiking in November with my Press-Switch v0.6a review and Student Transfer V7 flowcharts. December has been good so far, but I’m guessing my 2023 stats will be more like my 2022 stats. However, they will be very different in terms of one thing. Word count.
In short, I likely will not get to 500,000 words in 2023. But to explain why, I think it is time I discuss what I have planned for the next year.
Part 8: Glance Unto An Exotic Untamed Future
Here is where I would put my goals and plans for 2023. However, things are in flux on various levels. I still do not know how long it will take me to recover from surgery. I need to study and take the IRS SEE exams to become an enrolled agent for work. My boss decided to give me 4% of the company and a $10,000 raise, so chances are he is going to make me work a lot more and a lot harder come 2023.
I want to say I will be able to do this and that, but chances are that I will not have enough time to do most of it. So, what am I willing to share? Well… how about this?!
- 1/20/23 – The Malice of Abigale Quinlan Re-Edit
- 1/20/23 – The Malice of Abigale Quinlan – Encounter Unlimited
- 1/31/23 – Soft Deadline for IRS SEE Test #1
- January 2023 – Pokémon Violet Review
- 2/14/23 – TSF Series #016 – Divinica Lust
- 2/28/23 – Soft Deadline for IRS SEE Test #2
- February 2023 – Mice Tea Review
- 3/15/23 – Tax Hell of Spring 2023 Begins
- March 2023 – Cellular Shift Review
4/01/23 – TSF Series #005-3: Ghost Milky in… The White Terror
- 4/17/23 – Tax Hell of Spring 2023 Ends
- 4/27/23 – Psycho Bullet Festival: The Odyssey of Abigale Quinlan – Episode Alternative
- April 2023 – Student Transfer Scenario Review
- 5/18/23 – Psycho Shatter 1985: Black Vice Re;Birth – The Day After
- 5/29/23 to 8/15/23 – Verde’s Doohickey 2.0: SSR – Sensational Summer Romp (100k+ word novel)
- 5/31/23 – Soft Deadline for IRS SEE Test #3 (Natalie is now an enrolled agent)
- May 2023 – Student Transfer Scenario Review
- 6/03/23 – re:Dreamer Review #4
- June 2023 – Student Transfer Scenario Review
- July 2023 – Student Transfer Scenario Review
- August 2023 – Student Transfer Scenario Review
- 11/18/23 – TSF Series #???
- 12/22/23 – TSF Series #???
- TBD 2023 – Dragalia Lost V3 Re;Works – A Design Document Experiment
That’s the plan, but can I do it? Well, I guess we just need to wait until 2023. So, until then, see ya!
If this bit seems rushed, it’s because I did it on an iPad while at a discount rehab place…