Warmth for the Holidays

We received a really well written and heartwarming letter this past week. Although it doesn’t relate directly to Choices and instead focuses on another one of our games, High School Story, I thought this letter would be great for the holiday season. Victor, thank you for letting us share your letter. Because of you, our High School Story team is now considering a MG storyline.

- Oliver

Dear Pixelberry Studios,

Hi! My name is Victor and I’m a huge High School Story fan! I’m a regular player, and I’m also a new player to Choices! I absolutely love your mobile games, and I even bought the official High School Story shirt! I wanted to reach out to you for a few reasons, but first I’d like to tell you about my story that led to Pixelberry.

I was born with a rare autoimmune disease called Myasthenia Gravis (MG for short). It is extremely rare in children, yet I acquired it at age five. Basically, it weakens all of the muscles in the body, making it difficult to breathe, walk, eat, and complete simple tasks such as opening a water bottle, or a jar of pickles. Over the years, I’ve had multiple surgeries, appointments, and a lot of missed school due to recovery from surgeries and tests. Unfortunately, I’ve had to miss quite a lot of my “high school experience” due to my body’s limits, such as my inability to participate in sports, stay late at football games, be included in after school clubs, participate in PE, and even make friends. Eventually, I was forced to be homeschooled online because I couldn’t physically make it through a day of walking from class to class. Overall, it was hard for a teenager in high school to live with a disease that is constantly making me weak and unable to participate in regular teenage activities.

Then, my sister introduced me to High School Story. My siblings and I are big Laura Shigihara fans, so when we discovered her video where she sings “Best Day” live on YouTube, we had to check out your game! Since I had to stay home a lot, often recovering from surgeries or regaining strength, I became quite a gamer in my spare time at home. I have multiple consoles, and I’m into all types of genres. High School Story really got me hooked within the first few quests, as I was interested in the type of game that makes me feel like I need to continue out of curiosity of what will happen next, like reading a mystery novel. I absolutely fell in love with your game, and was soon playing it daily!

After playing for awhile, I realized that I was a big fan. I had my favorite characters (Julian, since he is just like me, and Autumn, since she looks and acts just like my sister, along with Payton, Mia, and Nishan topping my favorite), along with my opinions on the characters and anticipation quest after quest, which I would discuss with my siblings. The character development of the characters was so good that I felt attached and proud to be a High School Story fan! (Big props to the writers and developers, by the way). I would get so worked up when Kara and Max were bullying the characters, or when Ace betrayed the Avatar. I would laugh out loud with some of the stuff that came out of Payton and Nishan’s mouths, get excited when I heard a reference from other franchises like Star Wars, and happy when all of the characters came together and were there for each other. It was surprising to me, that I was getting emotionally invested into a mobile game. Now, I realize that maybe it’s because that’s what I was missing out on in the hospital. I was feeling the “high school experience” vicariously through this game.

It wasn’t until now that I realized that this game was such a good outlet for me. It was disappointing and upsetting to understand that I couldn’t get the typical high school experience that everyone else had. I felt very left out. Playing the game, however, felt more fun and raw than my real-life high school, since it showed every side of the students -- students who had real problems and relatable struggles and feelings. Your game made a very positive impact on me.

If you’ve read so far, thank you so much! I really appreciate how you listen to your fans. A major reason I wanted to contact you is because I was wondering if it’d be possible to include a Myasthenia Gravis patient as a student in your game. The MG community is very unknown to the public, and I believe that recognition in such a successful and widespread game would contribute great awareness to their community. I’ve seen Pixelberry team up with inspirational foundations, such as Girls Who Code and Cybersmile, so I was hoping there would be something we could work out. One of the things I love about this game it how relatable it is with the struggles of high school, such as character with bad home lives, kids feeling pressured, disabled characters (Ryan with the robotic arm), wildly diverse characters, and questioning and changing the stereotypes of high school overall. It shows people how a jock isn’t just a jock, or a nerd isn’t just a nerd. I believe it’s very important for kids and teens to realize that it’s not about having the typical high school experience, but more about understanding each other’s differences and learning to embrace everyone for who they are. Also, it’s about enjoying the moment as it is, and being okay with having your own type of experience in high school, and in life in general. I think adding an MG patient would truly help prove that all types of teens can triumph through adversity.

Thank you again for your fun, addicting, and amazing game! I truly appreciate everything it has taught me, and how it helped me get through high school. Now a senior in high school, I hope that I will be able to teach others the values your game revolves around. Even if I never get a reply from this, I am so glad I wrote to you, because not only do I want you to know the positive impact it had, but also because I feel like I was able to leave my insecurities about missing high school behind, and move on to enjoy life as it is. Thank you!

Sincerely, Victor 

~Class of 2017~

~A Fan from Seattle~

Victor IRL and Victor in High School Story!

Victor IRL and Victor in High School Story!

UPDATE: After we got this letter, the High School Story team knew we had to put Victor into our game. The end result was the quest V is for Victory, which was all about Julian and your other friends meeting Victor and learn about Myasthenia Gravis. Here's an excerpt from an email Victor sent us shortly after the quest came out: 

"This morning, I woke up to the coolest surprise ever. At 5:30am, my friend texted me, writing “Oh my gosh, Victor do you have your own quest in High School Story?!” After waking up for work, I was so shocked and excited when I saw a character named Victor talking about MG in High School Story! Long story short, I played the quest all day on my break during work!

I wanted to personally thank you, as well as the writers and everyone else at Pixelberry Studios for depicting me and my story so well! I am so grateful for the support and overwhelmed with happiness and excitement."

Thank you so much Victor, for sharing your story with us!