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Straight!? is a work in progress visual novel that specifically focuses on NSFW male/male content. It is free-to-play and is funded solely from donations to the project through sources like itch.io or Patreon. It is primarily created by one dev, working in tandem with a small team of friends to help support his first project.

Since the game is still in development, this is considered a rough draft and very pre-alpha. The game's visual and writing quality does slowly improve as the story unfolds. The final vision is to create a new genre of visual novel called the “cinematic visual novel” where the game will focus on cinematic camera shots to convey the emotional story as opposed to the traditional sprite-based format.

Story

Straight!? is a coming-of-age tale that follows the main character, Zack, from his first day of college after meeting his new straight roommate, Braden. The two hit it off fairly good and a bromance emerges. While Zack initially appears to be fairly comfortable with himself and his sexuality, we slowly learn that this is a facade and the story of a teen who is completely tormented by his own attractions emerges. As he and Braden grow closer, he’s thrust into a deep odyssey of sexual exploration and existential questions about who he truly is. Along the line, we’ll meet a small cast of supporting characters that will each challenge Zack in their own way as he tries to put all the pieces of himself together.

In contrast to many NSFW games, Straight!? is a realistic "slow burn" where the primary focus is on dialogue and character development. While there is NSFW content, it is used to enhance the story and the character interactions and to openly deal with issues related to sexuality without censorship. Players commonly report beginning the game with intent to speed through to NSFW scenes before slowly becoming engrossed in the story.

This story has everything. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with flawed and relatable characters full of sarcasm and wit that will ask very hard questions of the characters and the readers alike.

About the Project

When development began back in 2017, this game sought to use the best thing about the adult genre to tell a story: it’s lack of censorship. From a storytelling perspective, when you don’t have to worry about the nature of content, you can show anything and anything can happen-- that’s powerful from a narrative perspective and this game seeks to use that. To adequately tell a coming of age story about sexuality, you have to be able to show sexuality--  not the unrealistic types of sex we see in porn. 

With a background in psychology, the writer uses interactions with the character to form a template for how to communicate in relationships and potential ways for someone to work through their own sexuality issues while still keeping the narrative engrossing and fun to read. This doesn’t show the way towards sexual self-acceptance but it does show one stubborn and relentless character’s journey to accept himself.   

For more on the original intent of the story, you can reference this article.

Updates

The game is released episodically. This means that it is written chapter by chapter and updates will simply push the story forward. Updates are released on the Patreon page first, specifically to those who donate $5 or more. Three weeks after the Patreon exclusive, that same version is released publicly for free and will then be posted here on itch.io.

At the beginning of game development, updates were released monthly. Since then, I have grown more ambitious and tried to learn new techniques to improve the project. This has increased the time it takes to do updates but they have gradually grown much longer in comparison to other monthly released indie games and the quality has increased exponentially. You can see the differences through some of the screenshots. 

Future

This project is my first attempt at programing, writing, and any 3D art whatsoever. Thus, it’s a work-in-progress and I’m learning as I go. Once the initial draft of the game is complete, the second phase will focus on an overhaul of the entire game graphically and narratively based on everything that the creator has learned over the development of the rough draft before it goes into beta/final testing.


https://www.patreon.com/aaryn

Twitter:

Aaryn- Lead Dev/Writer/CGshttps://twitter.com/Aaryn_Str8

Blayke- Co-Writerhttps://twitter.com/YBlayke


Discord: Link

Download

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Str8 v 21.4 (PC)
Str8 v 21.4 (MAC)
Str8 v21.4 (Android)

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Comments

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Deleted 10 hours ago

um... i have no idea what you're talking about. Are you unsure why the game is NSFW, are you stuck at the beginning where things repeat, did you finish the game and didn't understand it? I'm totally lost. Also, please make sure you're at least 18 years old if you're playing this. Thanks

Love the game! I identify with Zack so much. Had a bad experience when I was younger with my first love (his parents) and it took me a long time to accept my sexuality. Keep up the awesome work!  

PS. Would love to see a continuation with them. 

heya. glad you liked it. sorry about your bad experience though. i hope you found peace with that. I was pretty stubborn accepting myself too (hence why the damn story is so long :P )

i'll be honest. i only picked up this game because i was looking for some erotic visual novel. didn't expect any depth, just some pornographic visuals.

boy i did not expect this rollercoster. honestly i fell completely in love in this game. the characters and dialogues  are so well written i was completely engulfed in the story right away. 

not to mention how much i could resonate with Zack, like to the point of reading through his inner monologues and feeling like i was reading my diary or some shit. i went through almost the same kind of thoughts and feelings in my younger years and it made me so self aware of how much harder i made my life with my self doubting and avoidance of real deep conversations.

i wish i had my own Mikhail when i was 19. might've shook me and actually helped get through my troubled and confusing times like he helped Zack (like for real, Mikhail is a fucking angel and definitely my favorite character).

thank you so fucking much for this game and this experience and i cant fucking wait to play this again in the revamped version!

I appreciate comments like this and always enjoy when people are surprised that it's not just some lame porn game with a nonexistent plot. Glad you appreciated Mikhail, too. The revamped version looks amazing so far. I haven't posted it over here but it's free over on my Patreon. I'm actually just trying to figure out the easiest way to post the revamp here while still keeping the old version with the full story so stay tuned

also, i see there are 2 routes to this game. are they different throughout the whole game or just the ending? is it worth going for the respect route if i finished the pervy route already?

I'm a returning player from the early days of the game and it is so dang hot and cute! As a gay guy myself I have absolutely adored this game and the cute characters within! Maybe after you get done with this game, you can make an interactive one with you getting one of the boys as your own virtual boyfriend. Only after this game is complete tho. And there would be lots of fetishes and stuff if you did make a game like that. I'm sure it would be just as popular as this one is. I'm so glad for the good work you have done and I can't wait for future updates! 

I also appreciate the smaller file size than it was years ago. And talk about a battery saving game, this one has used the least of the 28 I have. From a 4000mAh battery, this thing only used 13% in about TWO hours! 

Again thank you Aaryn Reece for making such an amazing game and I can't wait for future updates to this heartwarming, and sexy game. I'm a loyal fan for life!

I'm not sure what the future holds. I have a few ideas and I'll play around with things. A lot of what you mention could be fun but can also be very involved projects so I'd have to really be invested in the story. I refuse to start something that I don't finish. I really want to have a good track record. 

In terms of file size, yeah my buddy Jordyn helps with that stuff. He's been able to crunch the files down and still keep the quality that we see in the 4k images

Thank you. I love the storyline so much too it's as if they are real. I felt the compassion they showed to each other

Hello again Aaryn;

So yesterday when I was getting to the end of the story and Braden and Zack were talking in the park just before going their separate ways, there was a comment that made me realise I would see a different conversation if I were to choose the Pervy route in, I think it was Chapter 2.  So today I started again (thankfully there's a skip button!).  I chose the pervy route and was skipping through to chapter 9 or 10.  But when I got to the swim team meeting, I suddenly hit a different path.  Yesterday, Mikhail went after Ash while Zack went looking for Braden, found him and they had the talk at the waterfall.  I'm not sure exactly how I hit the alternate path, but suddenly, there's Zack going after Ash.  My reaction was much like Ash's; what?  Oooo, a mystery!  When they got to the gym, I was laughing.  But then the whole thing turned sour and then actually became ugly.  But when it was all said and done, I found myself thinking that that version was a much better conversation between the two of them (Braden and Zack).

Once again, congratulations on some truly great story telling!

Rigel

P.S.  I think Cody is the hottest guy in the story!  He's so cute and has a killer body.

yep, the routes are very similar but very different at the same time. The theme in both routes is "communication." The pervy route does get pretty ugly for a bit but it was designed that way to force that conversation and see if these two could work shit out constructively. I wanted to show a template for how a conversation about something ugly could actually play out in a healthy way-- how two people that care about each other could actually listen to the other one and try to empathize. The pervy route, after all is said and done is probably the better written route with more twists and stuff. TBH, I just wanted to mess with the people that were playing the game for pervy reasons so that's another reason why there's such a big twist to it. Plus, let's be honest: it has more Ash and who doesn't love that?!! :p

I agree.  My partner and I had that kind of communication.  The only time we "argued" was if something was very trivial (World of Warcraft was one such thing).  But if it was important, we discussed it, analysed it, formulated options then logically chose the option that would hurt the least.  Both of us were intelligent and responsible adults.  The whole communication thing is what makes your novel so engrossing.  I believe it's why people have responded so well to it.  People are starved in this day and age for communication and understanding.  So again, job well done!

i agree and it gives an adult novel a lot more depth too when there's an actual point to it besides just trying to score

I just started getting into New Hope by your friend Blayke.  That one holds a fair bit of promise too.  He's all ready made me feel sorry for the "villain".  LOL  I'm such a sap!

Dear Aaryn;

I sat up until 4:15 am last night to finish reading Straight?!  I've been reading it since earlier this year.  First of all, let me say I loved this story.

In the second chapter (?) there was a point where it seemed like it just repeated the get up-go to class-go to bed-repeat cycle far too often.  I almost quit as that was so boring!  But I figured, there has to be more to it than this.

Then you got past that and settled into building the story.  I've been reading about 6 of these visual novels this past year and while most are vague stories stringing together an endless parade of porn scenes, Straight?! isn't.  You flat out have the best written, most in depth and most well fleshed out characters and story of all of the VN's I've been reading.  What a breath of fresh air!  In the late 1990's I was the editor for a science fiction magazine and was often asked by budding writers what the key to success was.  I always told them, I have to believe in your character, I have to care what happens to them.  If they're cardboard cutouts, I'm not interested.  I believed your characters; I saw pieces of myself in each of them.  I cared about them.  Reading through v0.21.4 yesterday I cried numerous times (I lost count after 12 or so LOL); because I cared about these characters.  To me, that's what makes this story so beautiful.

I'm a 61 year old man who spent his youth vacillating between being horny and cruising parks for sex to then hating myself and my entire existence for doing it.  I was almost 30 before I was able to settle in and accept me for me.  Not long after that, I met a woman who also accepted me as I was (I'm pansexual btw).  Those were the best 26 1/2 years of my life!  She died in 2019 and I will probably live the rest of my life alone (romantically) but safely connected to a handful of truly wonderful friends.  I think our life experiences are very similar.

I'm sure you've heard this before, but, I'd happily read a sequel.  After all, that was only the first semester!  I know when you finish a story, it's difficult to create a second one.  After all, that story is finished!  But if you find another story to tell, I would happily read it.  You are a truly good story teller.

Thank you very much.

hello. First off, let me apologize for the delay in response; i finally got covid for the first time and I've been down for days so I'm catching up.  Hopefully the delay didn't give you the wrong impression. I also want to say that I don't know you but I'm sorry for your loss. You're much further down the road of life than I am and I can't imagine that, especially when it sounds like you had a hard time finding someone you really clicked with. I hope you find closure and peace there--whatever that looks like for you. 

I'm glad you enjoyed the story and I appreciate the praise coming from someone with writing/editing experience, given that I'm still just stumbling through and learning as I go. I'm glad that I was able to pull you in to these characters and get you invested. I'm not the fastest writer out there and I really have to feel things out when I'm working on it-- from the feedback I've gotten, that seems to pay off and most people seem to be ok with my process of trying to get it right. I have no plans for a sequel right now. that would be a massive undertaking considering i'm 5 years into this version but we'll see. It would have to be better than this. but I'm gonna keep my mind open to it. Thanks for your kind words. i really appreciate it <3

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Thank you for your kind words.  Don't apologise for the delay; I'm not the "instant gratification" type of person.  I do hope you're feeling better now!  Getting it right is always worth the wait!  ;)

thanks a lot. Yep, i'm doing better and back at working again. Just trying to make up for losing a few days :)

Hi everyone and specially to the writer, I can not believe this game, I have never seen a gay game, not played one before and my friend told me about it. I have to say, it was not what I expected and half of the game is almost my life. Thanks for clarify so many things for me, I was in a dark place and you just give me answers to questions I didn't knew I had. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, thanks you. Please dont stop the game here, Please continue their stories, there is so much you can write and so much that can help others, me included. Please dont stop the game in here, please continue.

heya. thanks for the support and tell your friend thank you for the recommendation and for passing the game along. I don't market much so I'm pretty dependent on word-of-mouth. I'm glad the game gave you a little bit of light during some shit times. please also don't take the arguments of points of view in this as being true, though, find your own way. This is just  the story of the headspace where I was when I wrote it. that could change for me as well. but if some of the stuff made sense to you and you find it helpful, i'm honored to be a part of that process. we'll see where the future is. like the writing for this game, i dont plan much, i've tried and it's just less enjoyable for me--especially with the projects and stuff. so i'm keeping an open mind on the road ahead. if a better chapter comes along, then we'll see it-- if not, i have to be comfortable enough with this to walk away and not screw it up by making it longer. thank you for your kind words and for your excitement. all the best to you for today and all the days after  :)

I'm not okay (I am tho, don't worry (maybe just a little)).

I demand a sequel that covers the next 70 years of their lives. This probably would leave me in shambles as well, but I enjoy suffering for gay stuff, that's what gets me going 💅✨.

I've been following the project since... I don't know, something tells me since mid 2020, but I've had been quite distant, waiting for some updates to pack, and then I downloaded the newest version just to have me killed like that.

Also, that moment when they were talking about kids, I felt so pissed at Zack. He kept talking and talking, and if I were Braden I would've smacked his ass. But I guess I only felt that way cuz I was there once, maybe, and when you have such a relatable character you start feeling as is you're in their shoes, idk, seemed as if I was reliving the old me and that can be quite enfuriating, as if you're watching a horror movie where the character wants to go to the basement and you just want them to stop cuz no good will come of that. It's a process and I know that, but still makes me go AHHHHHHHHH.

Anyway, I could keep on rambling (just like Zack (see, been there)), but I'll bring this to an end (JUST LIKE YOU DID TO ME 😭 (being dramatic, nothing new here)). I really loved the game, really heartwarming, I want a Braden for myself, I'd love to see more of them, but that was more than enough. Thank you for your awesome work! ❤❤❤

heh, i'm glad you've stepped out of the shadows from being a secret fan for a few years. Zack can be infuriating-- but he's been me over this entire project and I really tried to focus on the things that kept me from accepting myself. Those don't' have to apply to everyone but I'm glad there's been a taste of that for you. If  nothing else, the fury you direct towards him sounds like a sign of growth. I appreciate the long-term follow and I appreciate you stepping out of the shadows to share your experience. We're all in this life together as we stumble through and try to figure out our own path. Mikahil called it: nobody else knows what they're doing either; just live and be kind to others. that's a start. thank you for the long time support and for breaking your silence. it made me smile to know you're out there <3

owwww so cute

It's really nice to find people with similar experience, even if they're characters from a game (tho they're a product of your experiences, so not that fictional). Life itself is quite a rollercoaster and to see those ups and downs neatly represented is awesome, plus having that fantasy bit where you get to experiment stuff that you may not be capable of living (for multiple reasons) and having that leading to a good end, really good.

I've just joined the discord server, so I guess I'll get to keep in touch with the characters and their world through the community. Once again, thank you for your work and for your time!! 😊❤️

well glad to have ya. i may have missed you signing in. I usually try and say hello to everyone but I've been back and forth from my computer the past week or so and my replies have been a bit spotty. but tag me and say hey on there. i dont mind. we're pretty friendly and talk to people daily

oh, you did tag me and said hello, I wasn't even expecting that, caught me off guard. I've already sent some messages and I'm still trying to find the right pace, and that's alright. By now I'm struggling with time zones differences, whenever I wake up there's dozens of texts from everyone lol.

that’s good to hear. We really tried to foster a decent little community of fans. There’s game talk and life talk. Supposed to just be supportive and figure things out together. I used to say hey to everyone then it started to get bigger and the game work got more involved so I miss a few— especially with time zones. I still try and welcome as many as I can though. Glad I spotted ya and welcome :)

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I can't believe how engrossed in this game I was. Nothing could have prepared me for how attached to the characters I eventually became and the actual lessons that the game taught me. It makes me look at things a little differently... and I can't believe it's over. But, I'm so Invested now that I can't wait for the new updates as we slowly make our way to the final draft of this game. I'm really butthurt that I can't keep reading more and to be honest, I want this to become a movie already. I love all of the characters to death and no game has ever touched me like this. Keep it up, please!

Much love,

Angel

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aww, well thank you. if it's any consolation, the future updates will focus on the early parts of the game that are the weakest so, while you've already seen those scenes in a sense, you'll get to relive them again with new dialogue and some more reading. Not sure if that helps but I miss them already, too

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Thank you so much for this game. I just got to the chapter "Deeper" and I had to stop because I was so close to crying. This game is absolutely beautiful and it spoke to me in a way nothing has before. I'm currently on a work trip and am very, very, very lonely and my mind turned to what it always does: how lonely and isolated I feel. I never understood why I knew I was gay and yet couldn't actually be gay. I've never kissed, never done anything. 

Then Zack explained it. I hate it and I wish I could just be... fuck, normal isn't the word because your story made it clear "normal" isn't worth jack shit. But I grew up in a religious household, my father walked out when I came out and spent the next week drinking. I wish I was something else sometimes, but I could never put that into words. 


Being gay is so hard sometimes... it's easy to feel alone when you don't feel like anyone understands you. But Zack does. I'm getting teary just writing this, so I'll keep this part short, but I've never felt to seen. I don't care about the pride movement or what the world says I should be as a gay man, but I'm not traditional. I don't care about my clothes or anything I'm told gay men like. 

I just exist and it's so liberating for a gay character to finally show that. I'll be honest- I downloaded this game looking for something far different from what I got and honestly I'm very happy you did me this service. I know you don't know me, but I'm sitting in an empty hotel room right now breaking down because for the first time in my life I get to see myself... and I don't know how to process it. 

Your story has changed my life, seriously. Something inside my brain feels different now, like some portion of me that I was trying to change or suppress has come out of the shadows. I know I'm not Zack- I'm not naturally talented or calm and relaxed (at least, I'm not capable of putting up that kind of façade). But I see now I've allowed others to dictate just who I am- that I'm too loud or annoying. I even constantly put myself down. I'm not going to anymore. I'm going to try to be the person I can be proud of, because if I can't do that then what's even the fucking point? I don't need a fairytale kiss, but I'll be damned if I let myself die without showing myself who I am. Fuck the world and their opinions on who I am, from here on out I will try my hardest to be myself.

I kinda got off track there at the end... but thank you. For everything. I look forward to seeing what you do next.

I wish you the best with this. for me it was a journey. well, it still is and I'm ok with that. I figure if I act like the ride is over, then I really can't grow any more after that. You're very much into the part of the game where I started going off the rails and doing my own thing. I moved away from the old genre of VNs and just had an experience that really meant a lot to me and it was fun playing that out with the characters. I'm glad that Zack is able to validate some of your feelings and allow you to feel like you're part of something besides yourself. He helped me do the same and I'm eternally grateful. To me, the meaning of life isn't a hard question to answer, the answer is to find meaning in life. Like you said, otherwise, what's the point just existing? but also take that process at your own pace. work things out and be open to it making sense in your own way. dont rush into it. self improvement and development should be calculated. I hope you enjoy the last 2 chapters <3

I'm still kinda putting it off, to be honest. It's phenomenal but I sincerely don't want to finish. I almost feel like I'm disrespecting the story if I finish it, although why I don't know. For the first time in a long time, I think I'm just experiencing some painstaking growth and I'm not really used to it. I think about this story daily and how I can become a  better person from it, which feels odd to me but also really great? I know you've probably got more important things going on, but thank you again. I'm going to try to be a better me for a while and see what it feels like. I owe it all to you. Thank you again and I look forward to see what comes next for you! 

if you're too busy living your life to play my game, that's good enough for me. I smiled when I read this and please dont feel compelled to finish it. You dont have to. and that comes from me that wrote it. You're self reflections and revelations will do more for you personally than I ever can. when you're ready for my ending, it's here and it's free.... if you never need it, please accept that's ok too. may you find your version of happiness in this world <3

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hey

i just wanted to say thanks for creating this game, it helped me back in february where i wasnt feeling very well mentally and had to skip school until may bc of that but your game really went along with me through those months and i cannot explain how thankful i am tysm for making this oml and the characters and i cried so many times bc of how relatable they were omg. ngl im gonna replay it again now haha :D 

ty <3

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wow, this really means a lot and I'm really glad you shared this. I'm glad you made it through those months and I'm thankful that my little project somehow had a role in that. i hope you continue to improve and take care of yourself. I think one thing that all these characters have in common is that they're good people and if you could relate to them then that probably means you're a good person too. keep your head up and keep moving forward 'cause even during the worst parts... well... nothing lasts forever. thanks for sharing this  <3

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Hey,

I just want to say....I fucking hate this....cause I love it so much.  I am a huge emotional wreck at the moment but definitely a story that is needed to be told. Can't recall how many times I have cried while reading this every time it updates. How each and every character I related to so much, since I have had similar experiences. This story and where I am at in life honestly is fucking resonating and I appreciate how it fucked me up emotionally.

Thank you =]

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haha. thank you for sharing your awful experience with my game :p

I'm kidding but nah, thanks. It's so weird that when i stripped off who i am and wrote something for the first time, i wrote a damn emotional romance story. Though, i'm sorry it fucked you up emotionally, I hope that turns into a healing process and not just a nuke that blew everything up. Obviously, i've been there, too, i wrote the damn thing and i wrote it in real time as i walked through it. I'm glad the story has meant something to you throughout all the updates and I hope you find a way to allow yourself peace and a happy ending that makes you cry for all the reasons you ever wanted <3

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Heya,

I'm a great fan of this game and I absolutely love the story (although I haven't played it 'till the end yet). Recently I read that you wanna add a soundtrack. Actually I have some experience with composing, mixing and mastering. So, if you want me to, I would love to compose some tracks for this.

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heya. thanks for the interest. Yep, I'm working on music and sounds now for the remake. It's taken a bit of time to get started mostly because i'm navigating websites and copyright stuff but I'm anticipating that it'll speed up in the future. The first demo should have enhanced pictures that are lightyears ahead of what the original looked like as well as music and sound effects. 

I think for someone like you that is interested in composing, I would probably be a pretty frustrating person to deal with, lol. This was a passion project from the start so I'm pretty attached to it-- which makes me stubborn and opinionated sometimes. However, when it comes to music, I can't really articulate what I want exactly. So I want something but don't know what I want, but I'm stubborn anyway, lmao. I just know when I find something and it feels right, then I squeal and point at it. So it's a weird thing for others to deal with when I'm not sure what I even want. 

But I also wrote this story in real time and only planned a few parts of it in advance, so picking the music out one track at a time as I get to each point in the story is very on brand for me. However, that's probably awful for composers to deal with. One of my dev team guys is good with sound and has a good setup so he's putting up with me right now. I'm also looking at royalty free sites to make things legal. I seriously appreciate the interest. I've had a few people over the years interested in composing stuff but it's hard to help me out when I'm the only person that can hear it in my head and I have no idea how to describe it. It's mostly just inexperience on my part. If you have stuff you wanna pitch or send over, I'm very open to listening to it. I just don't want you to personalize it if I don't roll with it. I may actually publicly post the main menu before long and that has one track on it

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Alright, I understand your point :)

That's actually more relaxed for me, since that way there's no pressure on me to finish a whole soundtrack.

How can I send a track to you, in the case that I have an idea?

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If you have Discord, you can DM me directly on there. It goes to my desktop and my phone.

https://discord.com/invite/qAG3qek

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Thank you

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This game hit me in a way I've never experienced before. By the end I was an emotional wreck. Thank you so much for making this experience!

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thank you. I'm glad you appreciated the rollercoaster. It's been an experience for me as well <3

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I love this game, the story is so good and, I felt so comfortable with the characters and everything. this is definitely one of my favorite games rn!

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aww. thank you. glad you liked it <3

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I found this game and downloaded it on a whim. I had low expectations, preparing myself for a visual feast and "typical" gay storyline. Admittedly, the spelling and grammar need an editor (I'd be happy to help in that capacity), but I was quickly drawn into the story despite my cavalier attitude toward the content. 

I'm not a gay man, though I am someone who holds all humans to be valuable in and of themselves, in addition to the experience and perspective each can provide. I have a background in several scientific fields, and have always tried to approach life based on evidence and my own core rule: minimize harm and maximize well-being. 

I was not prepared for the depth of the story or the development of the characters presented. I reached the end of the present release and spent an hour crying, unwillingly thrust into my own past and all my moments with friends, lovers, and family. 

Thank you for that. I'll be sharing this project with others who may need reminders of important lessons. 

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heya, I really appreciated the candid nature of this post. It made me laugh at first because I can relate to it. A lot of gay stories seem cliché or, in the adult realm, are just shallow and horny. Straight!? doesn't do anything crazy different other than trying to provide substance to the genre it's told in. It's a coming of age story and we've all read or heard tons of those. But, I did put a lot of passion into it and I'm pleased that people are able to actually feel that. I'm not sure your scientific background, I'm a psych guy and I think my story holds water within the psych field, regardless of theoretical orientation and I'm pleased to hear that you feel it holds weight in your eyes.

I have a handful of favorite responses from people and you nailed a few of them here. I like people starting this with low expectations and then being surprised. That's always fun to hear for a first time writer here. I also love when it holds up to people who aren't gay. I wanted to try and create a universal story here that was mostly applicable to those who have struggled with their sexuality, but I also wanted people who didn't, to find something from it-- even if it was just appreciating what you have and respecting your own journey of being in this world.

In terms of the writing, I do have a guy who helps me with editing. However (and this is a massive HOWEVER that I'm emphasizing here to defend him), most of the writing flaws and editing problems are probably still in there because I'm stubborn. I didn't write this story in an organized fashion, honestly I think I bled it over 5 years. The writing tone is inconsistent and there's massive run on sentences, that to me, read like a poetic rant that captures my voice and intentions at the time. When i'm frustrated about something I talk a lot and I know my speech throws punctuation out the window. That's real to me so i wanted to capture that within the story because of it's honesty. Time in the story is also kinda wonky because I've never written anything before. I didn't know how to structure that. Perhaps in a future project, I'll be more careful and outline things better. But this, in many spots, i left very raw. It's kinda like a journal that was turned into a fictional story. It's not perfectly structured or written and I was kindof protective in keeping it that way. That being said, the first 3 chapters are written very poorly and i can't stand them, lol. Those need some work and that's my next mission. But I know I broke a lot of literary rules in other parts of the story and much of that was intentional despite my co-writer suggesting otherwise. Not sure if that makes sense or not. 

Also, thanks for sharing the story. I really appreciate that; especially if it's going to help someone or remind them of something important. I appreciated your post and thank you for taking the time to write it :)

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IM STILL NOT READY TO FINISH ITTT

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you got this. Plus we got a whole community for support when you get to the end. They’ve come in handy several times now

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I'm totally in love with Mikhail, I urgently need an option to choose to stay with him, it would be too good! lol

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aww. i'm a big fan of mikhail too. There's really only one romance route in this game though. it's my first game and rather than allow things to get spread out everywhere, i wanted to narrow my focus and do one really good route

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Finished the 'game' way too fast but enjoyed every bit of it. I'm also a total sucker for happy endings! All good. Only observation: the dialogue covers a great deal of your art... did you ever consider balloons for the text, instead?

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heya. glad you liked it. so you can hit H to hide the dialogue screen if you wanna see more of the pictures. In terms of the bubbles, it was something i thought about but i'm not really sure how to do that other than make a new overlay image for every single line of dialogue (which is around 50,000 so the amount of work to do that would probably take me 6 months just to do the dialogue bubbles so i kinda talked myself out of it

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You're asking the wrong guy... I know zilch about the technical aspects involved for such an update. But in my uneducated opinion, I would assume that copy/paste and farming out the grunt work to eager volunteers could expedite the process? Having the dialogue at the bottom with the - sometimes - hard to read name of who's talking was somewhat of a distraction, at least for me. It also caused me to 'race' through the first two chapters. (As you accurately pointed out in one of your remarks...) Since that seems to be a commonality among the ranks of your fans,  t h a t  may be the cause? On the other hand, text balloons would require a work-around to process name changes (Mom-Fucker/Max/Ash, for example) but there's a solution for that. I did become attached to the characters and by chapter 3 actually started to give a shit what would happen to them. And I'm not sure what your plans are but you could keep this thing going for a long time.  Heartstopper (Netflix) apparently is shifting focus away from the first season two main characters and that could be a distinct possibility for Straight!? - Book 2? Let the boys live in some summer break bliss as supporting cast and spin a tale around the other characters your fans really like? I'll shut up now. Thanks for the fast reply! Hank

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yeah, the beginning is rough and i'm not happy with it. it very much started out like the typical cliche adult game and that type of story, once i got going on it, was just too shallow and simple for me. i wanted to do a lot more with it so i started to take some chances and people will followed me on it and I'm grateful for that. i'd like to go back and keep that same vibe going throughout the whole time. now there are some ui changes in the newest update with the text box and i'll also be looking at the font a bit. that being said, there still may be issues. I'll be honest when i admit that i dont think about the textbox when i do the images. i just do the shot that my heart tells me to and that's it. 

in terms of season 2's and stuff. I've thought about those types of approaches with other characters. we'll see. i'm staying open with it. what i'm not gonna do is just try and run the story into the ground to milk subscriptions from people. I'm not doing something else unless i think it really matters and hopefully people are receptive to that. i refuse to half-ass projects or just do fan-service stuff just to make a buck, ya know? story all the way here

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(Your time spent writing candid replies to others and myself is commendable!)

All of the writing I have done my entire life has been freelance and voluntary. Despite being praised straight into heaven at times, I never went as serious as you have even though there is a lot out there. But this I know; your 'problem' as a talented artist is that just like Rembrandt and van Gogh, you do not consider the frame your product ends up in or how it will be attached for display. Starry Night in a butt-ugly frame looks horrendous because that diverts the attention away from where Vincent intended it to be. Presentation needs to avoid distraction at all cost.

Your issue is twofold because it is a combination of beautiful imagery and a written story. As it is now, the crescendo of  emotions coupled with the teasing and sexual tension is amazing. Your intent to follow your heart rather than a fast buck is valid but I suspect that the expectations of your followers echo your desire to not let this thing end and die yet.

As you say yourself, the difference between the initial chapters and the rest is obvious. And in the end and as with almost every other accomplished artist; whatever you come up with and create from the soul, we will all love.

hankguichelaar57@gmail.com

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i appreciate the take and the advice and the kind words :). i'm very much still in a learning phase with all of this. hopefully, I always will be. i have no desire to become an expert or any cockiness that may come with that. we'll see where my heart takes me on things. bad sequels can ruin things for some people-- they do for me-- and that's just not worth it, even if i made some cash off it. after spending the last 5 years with these characters, i refuse to exploit them. we'll see :)

oh, and yeah, i try and answer every post. i'm sure a couple have slipped by because the notifications aren't the best. I think i've only ignored one post purposely and that was just someone trying to bait me and I was over that. Other than that, I do try and seriously read and reply to everything i see. people like that and I appreciate the involvement

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I f loved the story. The characters where so human and everything was real and relatable for as querr people. Thank you so much. Hope you get more ad more famous and get tons of money for this work of art. I'm also an artist currently learning  so I can also turn digital. My dream is work with 3D stuff and video games. Thank you for your inspiration. I wish the best to you an everyone important in your life. May y'all live a long, healthy and happy love. 😊

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haha. I appreciate the love. Hopefully, I dont get too famous, though, I still like keeping things kinda small and personal around here and I don't wanna get too big where I can't do that. It's a major fear of mine but this thing is already much bigger than I ever anticipated. I'm honored to have this thing be a creative inspiration to you and I wish you all the success on your own project(s). If you ever wanna send a link over, lemme know. It's kinda cool to see what comes out of the inspiration from this thing. So thank you for dropping me a line and I'm really glad you enjoyed it but more importantly I wish you shared health and love as well <3

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Thank you 😊😊

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I just wanted to say thank you. The story was amazing. The characters were so well written that I became attached to every single one (more Ash content please!). This whole game was so well done. I really hope you continue to develop more content. I'm a new fan!

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aww. Thanks a lot and thanks for being a new fan. Ash was a break out star. It’s crazy how popular his crazy ass got. Glad you liked it <3

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The android version has an error 

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that’s an old save error. Old saves will crash the game. Go back to the main menu and click new game then update and you should be good after that. You’ll just have to start the update over again

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ok thank u

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yep. np. on PC you can hold CTRL down to fast forward but I'm not sure if there's an equivalent on Android or not. Definitely go back and replay though because you probably missed stuff if you loaded an old save. I try to warn people during the boot up with that warning screen but a lot of people miss it.

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I really LOVED this game! So sad that it’s over💔

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awww. glad you liked it tho. i'd rather end something on my terms for the purpose i set out on than run it into the ground forever, ya know? I miss em already, too, though... 

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hi aaryn I just wanted to say loved the game and Im sad to see it end really hope in future  I really hope you make another game that continues Zach and Braden’s story and maybe we will see them succeed in the sex part 🤣🤣🤣

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hi! thanks for the love. I’m probably not going away any time soon if people want more from me. I’m gonna put a thick coat of polish on this game first then and I may survey the landscape and see what direction I’m going next 😊

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yea I hope we get to see more of zack and Braden in the future maybe were you just left off with Zack  going to Braden’s house 

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I plans right now. I told the story I wanted to but there will still be some updates for the early parts of the game and it’ll look much better 

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Hi,

I created this account just to congratulate you on your game. I never write review but this time I simply had too. This is not an average VN, you crafted a beautiful story with loads of depth that really involve us emotionally. I wanted to thank you for the experience.

I stayed up late yesterday just to finish it and have to admit that I cried a bit at the end reflecting on my own life and journey. I feel like I had my Braden in my life, sadly didn't had the ending I wished for nor even closure. Life is not always perfect but it is the uncontrollability of the others surrounding us that makes everything unique. It is very rare to find material that makes you relate to it, makes you question and wonder about your own action. I loved the evolution of the characters, theirs questioning and mindset.

You are a great storyteller, I will look forward for any project of yours if you one day you decide to make more but this is quite a masterpiece in it's own genre. Thank you so much for this game, the time and effort that you put into it to embark us in a journey and also thank you for making it available here for free. You really didn't had to and your art is truly worth financing, those times are tough and it is nice to be able to access such quality content even though I am not in the best financial situation at the moment. 

I hope this project will have a great reach and that people can hop on this engaging story. Thank you for everything, I wish you success in your life and projects. I hope you have more adventure to share, you are truly gifted.

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I seriously appreciate the account creation just to leave a comment. That means a lot  so thank you. I'm glad the story hit you although I'm sorry about the tears, but I do like that you were able to relate it to yourself and get something personal out of it. That's really one of the major reasons i even worked on it publicly in the first place--otherwise this would have just been a personal thing that sat on my computer somewhere just for me. 

I appreciate the kind words about the storytelling. I think I definitely got better as the game progressed and I've appreciated all the help and feedback I've gotten over the years. In terms of the game being free... yeah... I never had a desire to charge for it because I'm not professional. The updates are inconsistent sometimes despite me trying really hard so I never wanted to charge people for the inconsistency or my own inexperience. Plus, if the story was helpful to people, I didn't want the financial stuff to stand in their way. People have been kind to help me finance and they've been patient as I've learned the ropes over the years and I'm grateful for that. The least I can do is pay it forward and continue to make the project free. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate the time you took to drop me a line <3

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oh my god.

the way im feeling after this cant even be put into words.

ive played this before (and commented before) but with the final main update i did a full replay (which... took like three days.)

and it was just. amazing. such an experience. i laughed and i cried and there were moments where i just shook with nerves at what might happen next -- i got unusually invested in this story, to say the least. but it completely shook me. this game, this story, this experience was just a work of art. i cant help but find myself wishing for more, to know how their story goes. but, you know what they say...

nothing lasts forever.

so i just wanted to thank you once again for making this. ive seen how much it affected people, but ive felt how much it affected me. this game stuck with me since the first time i played, and i think it will continue to for a long time. zack was right -- "too many gay stories have sad endings" -- and im glad this one didnt. it gives me hope. it gave me courage to be unapologetically myself, because if people dont love me for who i am then they dont belong in my life either. and it brought me comfort, in things that ive struggled with for a long time.

this was beautiful. thank you for making it, and i hope to see more from you in the future. but even if i dont, i hope this game brought you happiness, just like it did for me and so many others. i think ill find myself returning to this game for a long time. 

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lol. this game got sooo freaking long, lol. I dont blame you for taking 3 days to go through it. I have new players pop into our Discord and claim they went through it in one sitting and i'm like wtf! lol. It takes me several days to get through a full read (which I think I've only done like 4 times). 

I'm glad you went through the rollercoaster of emotions during the story. I think those are fun to experience. I know I experience them when I write it so it's always amazing to hear that it pays off and someone else rides right along with you. 

This project has brought me happiness. It's been cathartic and the number of people that's it's impacted is staggering. I seem to get more letters by the day and that's ... well... it's honestly beyond anything that I can describe. It just feels good and I'm grateful for that. 

I'm working on fixing the beginning now so I promise it'll only get better. This was just the rough draft *wink

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omg  i cant say much more then what was already said . wow wow and wow. like in still crying  this is by far the best  storie/game what ever you like to call it   i have every read.   as a gay man in my 50's  sad to said i am zack  i it made me open my eyes to alot..    i know this was the end  but like alot of others i wish there was more to come.....   great work aaryn    and to everyone that work on this....   hugs to you all

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**SPOILERS AHEAD**





I don’t know what to say. I’ll start by saying, as I’ve said many times before, thank you. Just.. thank you. For everything. This story has meant so much to me, on so many different levels. I feel like I know both characters intimately.. i see parts of both of them in myself. To see my own flaws and neuroses worked through throughout the story, and so eloquently, has been humbling. I only finished the update a couple of minutes ago and I’m still a little bit tearful tbh haha. Partly because the end was so touching, both the words and the visuals.. the fade, the snapshots of past scenes, the change from original to new during the embrace. But also partly because of this sense of loss. I’ve only been part of this for about a year, but It’s weird how much this all came to mean to me. I’m 27 but never got my moment, my chance, my train station, my Braden, and this isn’t my story but I lived through it. I don’t have too much in life, and I’m not a well bloke, so I’m glad I managed to see how this ended. 

Well, time to start going through depression, anger, bargaining, denial and acceptance haha! Seriously though, sincerely, thank you for.. for giving me the chance to feel something, if only fleetingly. And thank you for putting so much time and effort into it. I hope I manage to get to see what you do in the future! <3

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my bad feel like that’s just emotional rambling haha 

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heh, well I will begin by first apologizing for all the stages of grief you're heading into but know that I, too, have forded them since the update. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm always humbled when people have an emotional reaction to the story. Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you liked the ending. I was worried about it for a few reasons that mostly centered around how to try and capture the cinematic moments that I saw in my head. But more importantly, I hope you find your train station someday. And no worries on the emotions; I wrote the damn thing and it took me a few weeks to sort through my own.

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im not surprised.. I think a lot of us are dealing with the grief! I’m not sure what the cinematic moments look like in your head obviously, but to me at least they were perfect. Poignant and enough. 

Thank you for your hope, but I don’t believe I’ve got enough time left to find my train station irl, but I felt like I got to live it briefly through your story, through Zack. For giving me that you have no idea how thankful I am.  I wish you nothing but the very best, thanks again. <3 

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Well, I appreciate you living vicariously through the characters. Even if it was fictional. I hope it was still an experience for you and I appreciate the opportunity to share that. I'll think positively for you, though, and I truly wish you all the best as well <3

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[Spoilers Ahead]

Wow. Wow. Wow.

That was an incredible journey, but not just for Zack and Braden. It's crystal clear that you have evolved immensely as a creator, writer and artist during this project too.

The quality of the finale showcases just how much effort and thought you put into the final product. It's leaps and bounds ahead of the previous chapters, and certain moments were positively cinematic (train station lights out scene, especially with the stunning fade-in of past-Braden into present-Braden).

Since you're going to go back and remaster the earlier chapters, I can only applaud you in your efforts. I know many people would move on to another project, but your desire to bring this project that bit closer to perfection is what will most certainly set you apart and above as an artist. 

From the get-go, when you said in your introduction that this would be a slow burn, I had the feeling that this project would be a labor of love, not your run of the mill VN on itch.io. Now that the story has concluded for now, I think it's fair to say that this was certainly no common VN. It was special. It was unforgettable. The story you have written and the characters you have brought to life will live in my mind alongside some of my favorite stories and characters.

Thank you.

This is a more than well-deserved 5 stars.

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Heh, thanks for noticing the progress. It's  labor of love for sure. Unfortunately, some of that love slowed me down sometimes but I hope that paid off in the final product. I'm still learning. I do plan to go back through and do a revamp. I'm working on it as I type now, actually. It'll be a massive image quality enhancement to the beginning part of the game as well as tighten up the writing. I got better and I think the beginning deserves that. I don't want to spend forever on it but I want to finish it and do it justice. I appreciate your comments and I'm humbled by the kind words. Thank you <3

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My spoiler-free comment:

Holy f*ckin' sh*t. That was worth the wait.

I hope everyone that is as touched as I was comes here to thank you for telling this story.

Moreover I hope that you inspire others to tell theirs.

I'm writing about  mine now.

Thanks to you.

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haha, well thank you very much. I seriously appreciate it. I'm pretty proud of the ending and I'm glad people saw it for the things I intended. Thank you for taking this project seriously.  It's insane how long this stuff takes when you really friggen care about the product. I'm glad you thought it was worth the wait. I really tried. 

Also, I'm humbled that this helped motivate your own stuff, look me up and share it sometime. I'd be interested <3

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Unfortunately I'm getting some error where I'm stuck in a loop. The conversation gets to "Well....let's play it by ear" and then these pop up and then resets the conversation to "So what are your plans for the summer?". I cannot progress further than this :(... (I'm hitting ignore on those messages and rollback does not work)

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This one in particular was acting up when trying to screenshot it and in doing so, shows one of the previous 2 errors instead

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Yep, I tried to warn people a couple times about the save game errors. That "not defined" error there is because you used an old save file. Old save files will crash the game. Just delete your old copy of the game and from the main menu, click New Game then Update and you should be good to go :)

If you clicked ignore on any of those, it literally skipped entire scenes so you may wanna go back

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Gotcha, thanks for the quick response and sorry about the late reply...I was running around but thought about this all day and was actually in the mindset that I'd have to start all over from the beginning but I wouldn't have minded that at all(unlike how I would with other titles) as your masterpiece is just that enjoyable and worth it! I cannot tell you how much that I enjoyed this title, made me even more comfortable with my Bi side of my sexual orientation, and when I get my freelance art steady and reliable...you better believe I'm gonna swing your Patreon and projects some additional funds(I've donated in the past where I could ;) ) cheers!

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Nope, you dont have to start completely over. Just do the New Game/Update thing and you'll be set. Also, glad the game helped you process some stuff. I spent a lot of time in my head, too. No worries on rushing into supporting but thank you on your past financial support and just for being a fan. Good luck on the freelance stuff, too, I hope it works out for ya

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Danke für diese wunderschöne achterbahn der gefühle dir und deinem freunde team. Das ist ein hammer höhepunkt an ende. es ist einfach nur fantastisch!

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thank you very much. I'm really glad you liked it and the ending. It took me way longer than I wanted it to but I think the extra time paid off

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This game has enthralled me so much. I spent most of both my days off playing and still got a bit more to go. I did not think I'd like it this much at all. The story. the story. Such a slow burn but the payoff when it gets there is everything. Enjoying the characters so much. Side characters included. I adore Mikhail and he deserves the best. Also as someone demisexual, I really do relate to one of these characters too much. Giving me a demi vibe from early on tbh. Doing the respected path because I was more comfortable with that but must say I'm intrigued by the idea of how different the other path would be. Not sure if I'll play through it, though. This experience playing this has been really different than any other game I've played. I really applaud the creator. 

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heya, glad you're liking the story so far. I've mostly avoided labels in this game for many of the reasons that the story outlines, but picking up on demi vibes throughout the game seems very reasonable. In terms of the "routes" in the game, you don't have to play all the way through. The game is linear and then splits with that specific choice for the route. From there, aspects of the game are written vaguely that could apply to both routes. It's basically a subtle tone difference in the game until chapter 9. In Chapter 9, it takes a completely different approach and one scene changes the whole tone of the route. Both routes are designed like that. Rather than have full paths, I wrote one path that could be interpreted two different ways. To me, those ways are independent of each other and cannot co-exist but some readers have chosen to assume they co-exist. But you could just play chapter 9 from the New Game menu and select the other route and you'd get the jist of the story and save yourself time. 

But thanks a lot. I appreciate the support and glad you're liking it. I think the game mostly gets better as you play it. I sorta got more comfortable and started doing my own thing and that really paid off to me personally rather than just trying to do a cookie cutter game format

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Any chance of a future Brazilian Portuguese translation?

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so when it comes to translations, I've been holding off on them. I'm very unsatisified with the beginning of the game so my next focus is going to be redoing it. I'm not changing the story, I'm just polishing it up and doing some coding changes to make it more linear and less annoying. Because of that, the dialogue and writing will change and I don't want to waste anyone's time with translating something that I'm planning on changing. I'm open to translations, I just want something concrete first. But there's actually been quite a bit of interest in Portuguese

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This is not a game, it is an experience.. which on so many levels is so relateable that calling it a game would be demeaning..
I'm close to 50 , and this experience feels so familiar to me for close to 40 years now. 
Mostly, I stay in the closet because of my mother, who always sent out conflicting signals.. "I would rather not see it, but if you would turn out to be not exactly straight as an arrow I'd accept it... propably..."
She always had my back and helped me though, so I feel I can't dissappoint her now, in her twilight days, sadly.

And for fear of how my colleagues would react, which is silly since I'm a trucker so I spend most of the day alone or talking with customers anyway.
It's in my head always about what others will think and how people will judge me that forever keeps me from coming clean with myself.

Odd.. I've never spoken to anybody about this. Not in real life, and not online. And yet, here I am, admiting to myself and to the world who I really am. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, aaryn.reese !

I'll be certain to keep an eye on this experience to see if any updates are made. and I have maybe an odd question:

I bought a paysafecard exactly to be able to reward some people on here with a little money but the projects I was thinking of supporting use patreon, with a membership thingy, and that just isn't gonna work for me since I don't know for certain if I'll be able to keep paying in the future.

But do you maybe have a means I can use the card to donate it to you? With the emotional thunderstorm you have created in me, I feel like it is the least I could do.. I don't know if private messages are a thing here, but by all means, feel free to drop by, it'd be an honor!

Thank you

Dirk

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Hello Dirk,

I don't know you but I appreciate you and your story. I'm humbled to be a part of you saying this for the first time. I'm not that different really. I just took around 55,000 lines of fictional code to say it. It feels weird but the more I say it, the easier it gets. I think you're the first person that I remember calling it an "experience," that's an incredible way to look at it and it makes me smile. I don't think I've created anything worthy of that yet but I don't want to diminish your own individual experience. I think we get out what we put into things. If this has generated self exploration on your part, that's usually a good thing. I think the more people are truly themselves, the happier they are.

In terms of financial stuff, I get weird about that tbh. I don't like taking money from people in the first place. Patreon normally makes that easy and it takes credit cards and stuff which are fairly popular and it places the control of that within the user and not me--which I prefer. However, other things like prepaid cards, it's a little weird about. I don't think itch takes those either. Honestly, it probably depends on the type of card. I honestly don't like people jumping through a lot of hoops just to give me money... I genuinely feel guilty about that. You could try it through here or try it through Patreon to see if it works... I'm not sure. But don't feel obligated or anything. As I've said before, I make the game free for a reason. That can easily apply to people that choose not to have the payment methods that the website I use take. However, if I have a recommendation, I'd try Patreon first, there's more content you unlock for donations over there rather than over here where I can't control what people see or don't see. So if you're gonna try and donate, you may as well get the extra content. Lemme know if it works or anything or if you're not up to that, that's fine, too. I don't wanna blow your offer off but I also don't wanna make you work a lot to give me money, ya know <3

Deleted 81 days ago
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deleted the post due to too much info. ^

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No worries. I was actually slow responding over here lately because of the update release and keeping up with comments on the discord and stuff. Hopefully that slowness didn't come across wrong <3

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Hey man, you're doing so much for many people, I for one am happy that updates take priority over social media, which is awesome news btw, thank you very much!

The post was mainly me hoping you personally had met people who are as open, understanding and loving as the personages in Straight!?.

That is living the dream, and a total abscence of people like that can lead to some dark places where love don't grow. Self loathing thrives there in abundance though.

Ah well, that was the gist of it, the rest was basically interjecting personal experiences into it which didn't serve any purpose besides feeding a certain sense of emotional exhibitionism,

Anyway, thanks again for your work, past and present, much appreciated!

*edited to add* Not prioritizing money only makes me like you more, Respect man!

Dirk

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I usually start the day with answering messages then jump into the writing stuff or game stuff. Depending on what I'm doing with the game or the ideas I have, sometimes that stuff can get pushed back or stall out even. Other times, I'm watching videos and still trying to learn how to do this. After 5 years, you'd think I'd know what I'm doing but it was all so foreign to start with and the amount of things you have to juggle and learn can spread you thin. After updates, though, I usually get hit hard with messages and stuff and I've always made it a mission to answer every one of them. I don't like leaving comments sitting without a reply and people seem to appreciate that. 

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Hi. I just read all three posts and it's beautiful. I'm not very good with words like you are. But I think that you made a wonderful game. I think that a lot of people came and supported you because you made genuine art that blows people away. Your abilities are great and created the need for more in others. I actually was coming back here because I wanted to recommend you game to a friend of mine who I think could use this game. You're just that good. I've been here from I think when Act 1 was ending. And it's been a wonderful ride, and something that helped me hold on through college. I wanted to thank you for making this game accessible to many, even those how are still trying to get financially stable like me. I one day hope that I become stable enough to donate even a $1 a month for you continue on. If I remember correctly, you had a secret project that you were working on a long while back that only patrons would get a peek at. I wish you well and maybe will live through your friend Blyke's game New Hope. And again Thank you.


PS even though I know the real reason we get a chapter select with the game is due to saves not working between builds. It ended up making this game one of the most special experiences because it meant I got to see all the paths without confusing myself with saves. Getting to see the perverted path and the respected path and the real diverge between the two was great. I thank the misfortune of saves not being good across builds, since it gave me this beautiful gift of chapter select that was unique in a way that I can't put into words other than, made my experience better. And thank you for creating a solution rather than some other creators I've seen that say please deal with it. You cared about all of us, and it showed in the little ways you loved your fans like this. Thank you.

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hello,

I feel like I recognize your screen name from somewhere but idk, i may be crazy. Thank you for the long term support and following. You've probably seen a lot of my ups and downs in that amount of time.

So I'll probably ramble here like I do when I write the game text but you hit on one of those random compliments that holds a lot of weight with me and I just wanted to acknowledge that it was really meaningful. You said that you thought your friend could "use this game." It's weird that I really set out to try and create something like that but since I've never done it before, I didn't really know how to. So I just wrote something that moved me and, like Zack, I'm pretty stubborn on some things that can sometimes hold me back. I'm glad that you saw the use in this and it wasn't just another random porn game. 

And no worries on the price and accessibility. I wanted to make it accessible and because I wanted the story to matter to people, I didn't want money to hold people back. I think a lot of devs, or even porn games, get super money hungry on things and it's hard to see past that and take it serious. This isn't OnlyFans and I never intended to get rich off it. Still dont and honestly, I feel like I'd feel awkward if I ever accidently did. Please don't worry about the financial support. Seriously. College expenses suck. I still got over 100k in college debt from my college experience so I completely understand. Please don't feel obligated to donate and don't feel less because you're not in a position to support. Others have been more than generous to helping take care of the expenses. You never have to be, if makes you feel better, then consider the story a "gift" and now we're even. You wrote me a thoughtful post about the game and recommended it to a friend, you've more than paid your $1. Thank you in return <3

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Sooooo I just read your public thank you.....I already loved your work dearly and I'm always trying to share it with others....you really know how to connect with pple. Lol You seem like a wonderful person based on your creative personality and how you present yourself. I hope you continue to create special moments for pple even outside of your work. I know I don't know you personally but I see great things in your future bc a story like this one takes more than a creative mind. It takes a kind and understanding heart. One that can be vulnerable, supportive and an overall good person. Keep up the good work bc your work seems to really be inspiring pppe in this hateful and judging world we live in. It's not all bad honestly but pple like you help us see the light when things seem so dark. Some sense of direction when there is no where to go.

My bad for running on. Please enjoy the rest of your day and thanks again for what you do

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First off, thank you for the support and for sharing the story with others. That's actually how I've managed to get the word out is just mostly from word of mouth. While advertising is nice, it always feels better when others are inspired by the story enough to spread the word for you. I just like the feeling of that so I appreciate it. It's also one of the dozen reasons the game is free. 

I'll also say thank you for the more personal compliment. I'm just a regular guy, though, really. There's very much a lot of me in the characters and that includes both positive and negative characteristics. I'll admit that writing this has made me very vulnerable but I wouldn't change that. I like the parts of me, even the not-so-pretty parts that I've managed to capture here. Sorta like I snapshot from where I was compared to where I am now.  I'm deeply touched that you see the work as something positive though with everything going on in the world. If I had a vision for it, it would be that. An adult game with heart that has a point and you walk away a different person because of that. It's a super niche focus but I like it and It feels really good when someone picks up on that so thank you. 

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Wow! I tried a few games on this platform and this definitely stood out! Honestly, I was primarily going for a nsfw game and this game is not primarily about nsfw—BUT that doesn't change that I'm pretty impressed by the game. It has enough nsfw content, but the plot is strong enough to stand out on its own. The plot doesn't serve the nsfw content, it's deep, it's thoughtful and the slow pacing is realistic. This game is addictive, like literally. I know, the game is still in development, so don't interpret my feedback as harsh. Whatever I criticize now, you might already know and want to change when you go over it. Furthermore, these are small points of criticism, so they don't diminish the quality of the game:

  • Sometimes, there are long parts without "decisions". There are some points at which you'd be able to add some decisions. Even though, it doesn't change the outcome that much, eases the experience in my opinion
  • Even though, they point it out in-game, parts of the game feel like running in circles with ever the same activities and dialogues. I'm pretty sure, you can add a bit to that and probably already work on that
  • Some locations (especially the lecture hall) seem to be pretty empty. I know that you didn't want to add too many characters and Ernie appearing and disappearing makes it a bit more interactive but there is—yet slight—room for improvement, I guess

Last but not least, who wrote the verbal exchanges between Zack and Braden? Kudos to them? They are absolutely off the scale. I just love these dialogues 👍🏻

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Heya Zuri,

Thanks for checking in and I'm glad the game stood out from such a large website here. The search function around here is also pretty hard to navigate too so I'm glad you stumbled across me however that may have happened. 

That being said, I take criticism pretty well and most of the limitations I've had with this story could probably be summarized as inexperience and budget. All of the things you've noted are things that I've either considered or are aware of. Since you took some time to write a lengthy post, I'll do the same for a response. A lot of the "decision" type stuff was something that I slowly moved away from because of organizational problems. When you're mapping these VNs out, choices and the variables can quickly get out of hand. For example, a few years ago, I was trying to do the poker scene and I had every hand have a winner and loser, that alone quickly branched out to like 60 different paths in one scene. It was insane. I'll also admit that my concentration is absolute garbage. If you spent any time in the Discord or talked with me on voicechat, you'd see how quickly I can derail myself. So because of that, I made the conscious decision to limit the choices to a number that I could handle. I decided I'd have less choices and try to do those routes right rather than have choices everywhere and just lose focus on everything. That being said, I plan on doing a revamp based on what I've learned and there will likely be some things added in if I have the budget and time to do it. So we'll see. But yeah... you're totally right. The choices are limited here.

2. Running in circles. So that part is likely going to be fixed on the revamp. The reason that plays out like that is this game started in 2017 and the majority of the adult games were grind-based. You had skill points that you had to grind up by doing the same events over and over and then eventually unlock the next tier. That required more coding skill and to be honest, I'm pretty awful at that so I slowly just moved away from it. I tried to quick fix the beginning but it's still pretty bad to the point that I can't even play it anymore. So I want the story to be more linear like it is post-chapter 3 (I think that's when the circles stopped).

3. Empty school. This one is kinda funny and I'll make fun of myself. Truth is that the reason the school is empty is because of computer issues. When I started, I could only render one model at a time in the screens mostly. That lasted until a *spoiler hint here * certain park scene with motion. After that, I was able to upgrade the computer system I have based on Patreon donations and after that scene, you noticeably see a little more detail. over time, I gradually was able to add more people in until hit about 5 max. Which brings me to the current rig. I now have a new computer based on Patreon donations and I can get about 10 people in and maybe more. The tradeoff is that it takes hours to position all those for every shot so it does slow down production but it looks better. We'll likely see more students in the school during the revamp. In fact, there's a sarcastic dialogue line in the game somewhere where I have one of the characters say that sometimes it feels like they're the only students there--- that's me totally busting myself out :p

4. Dialogue is all me except Blayke, my co-writer wrote the scene in the car where they're driving to a sandy location. If you spent 5 minutes talking to me, you'd know where that dialogue came from, lol. I write exactly like I talk :P

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Heya Aaryn,

Thank you for your equally lengthy reply! I don't know, how I found it. I played three other games before, but yours was the only one that made me literally addicted. Funny that this is not the only time, I was looking for nsfw stuff and ended up with something not primarily nsfw that I absolutely love ^^

Yeah, I absolutely see your point. Maybe I should add that I'm a web application developer, so I know what coding is like. However, despite looking into game development a couple of times, I always had loads of respect for those who choose that field of software development since the focus is pretty much on details that happen in a split second or influence almost every other detail during the progress of playing the game.

What I called "decisions" could be roughly divided into two or three sub categories: On one hand, we have the "influential decisions" that would make stuff quite complicated as you said, but then we have more like "conversation topics" that don't matter, and the player can just decide the order in which they take place or skip them. I don't say, that a game should be cluttered with decisions, I sometimes get bored when I have to click over and over again without being challenged with making decisions every now and then—I hope, that makes sense. Or to put it a little different: If it feels more like a continuous movie, maybe the dialogue should proceed without me having to click all the time :D Especially the inner monologues at night, where the background is all black could be over the whole screen to have fewer pieces to click through.

3. Yeah, I like your meta jokes very much. It's good to have that kind of humor as a creator 👍🏻 Thanks for sharing a few technical details with me. I am constantly curious how this or that was implemented.

4. Actually, I haven't talked to you yet, but it sounds like it would be great fun, and I'd be a fool if I miss out on a chance to. However, I neither
have Discord nor Patreon—turns out, I'm a fool after all.

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haha, no worries on the Discord or Patreon. I'll be uploading the update over here 3 weeks after I release it on Patreon. The Patreon donations just help with all the expenses and stuff so they get first dibs.

And yep, I agree with you on the decisions and stuff. So one thing you may not have considered (and honestly I still can't get over this part even after a few years now). But one problem with putting large reading sections on the screen at the same time deals with non-English speaking readers. I honestly still don't know how non-English readers can get through my writing with all the generational slang but thousands do. But there's been loads of people that will copy this game into Google translate line by line. You simply can't do that when you make it into a movie or animated sequence. There's one sequence that has words on it in the game and I didn't do any more than that because I didn't wanna leave the non-English speakers out. I assume that copying that into translate would be just as complicated if I loaded a wall of text as a slide (kinda like I did my giant damn thank you page).

Another weird writing quirk I apparently had with this project is that I frequently say that I "lost control of the characters." At some point, this story began writing itself and I found myself, even as the writer, not really having choices on what they did. That sorta got passed down to the reader as well. I figured if I didn't get a say in this outcome anymore, than neither is the reader. We're in it together and for some reason, I kinda like that. The fact that I couldn't control outcomes made me more anxious as nervous as a reader. The tense scenes seemed more tense because i couldn't go back and choose something better to rescue them. I kinda like that

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Donating works from over here as well ^^ And honestly, the game is worth every cent, possibly more. And you really deserve that for the effort you put into all of this.

As a non-native speaker, I can tell that I have seen "worse"- Your writing didn't bother me and I don't recall any hard to read parts. People might wanna switch from Google Translate to Deepl.com. That one uses neural language processing (fascinating topic tbh) and translations feel quite natural. Have you considered making the game multi-language by letting the community input translations? But that might be a lot of extra work. I just thought, if they already kinda did that for themselves, they might wanna share it with others this way. Yeah, I imagined my solution looking kinda like your thank you page indeed.

Here's another thought, I just had on this: Maybe, some people want to skip optional monologues. How do you feel about adding something like a "page x of y" (maybe more like "(x/y)") on the bottom?

I absolutely what you mean about that aspect of writing. This is sometimes just wild. It often times feels like the story already exists out there (Plato might have called that "World of Forms"—sorry for getting philosophical ^^) and it somewhat just flows through you, your arm, your hand, your fingers and your pen onto the piece of paper or the keyboard onto the screen. Another thing I do while plotting for a story, I wait for an idea to ripe. Sometimes, the way, I wanted that one subplot to play out, just doesn't feel right to one of my characters. In that case, I wait longer until the character comes up with a slight alteration that keeps the general idea intact while making it coherent for the character to decide or act a certain way toward a specific goal.

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Ash being meta?

Ash being meta?

I'm pretty sure, Ash wouldn't have played the game :D Don't tell me, you didn't have him say that on purpose :P

I just finished v0.20.5, and you absolutely killed it with the "Never have I ever" bar scene. I was laughing my ass off and with every line of dialogue I thought, you couldn't top that, but boy was I wrong! I said it before, and I say it even more now: There was sex in there, and it was good, but it was nothing compared to characters, story, emotions and humor. I could finish the character's sentences—that's how well you introduced us to each of them. In the spirit of 'honest day' I have to admit that I couldn't help but join them playing 'Never have I ever'—it was just too much fun—well, I know, it is ridiculous. I actually don't remember the last time I laughed THAT much. You should really consider, continuing to use your talent—I'd so love to see more of that, and I'd miss it, if I couldn't. Your frienda must enjoy playing drinking games with you so much! And you were right about the language thing: I actually had to look stuff up 😅—not much, but still.

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First of all to say that I just registered because I can't do anything else but think about this game and I want to share my opinions. Before clarifying that English is not my first language and I'm not very good at speaking it.

Something that has caught my attention in the story is how connected I feel with the characters even though I personally haven't experienced practically any of the situations they suffer. I have fallen in love with Zack and Braden, they are very complex and three-dimensional characters, with tastes, fears, emotions, ways of speaking, moving, etc.

By the way, applaud the improvement that can be seen, comparing the last chapters with the first ones shows the great improvement in the game as well as in the script.

It is not a criticism that I want to comment on below, it is more a personal opinion that nobody should care about, but I feel that the characters are too handsome and perhaps it makes me realize that I am in a game.

The relationships between the characters are very realistic, they feel like people I could meet at any time but I must say that my absolute favorite and without a doubt is Braden, and I think that within the internal problems of each character he is the one that interests me the most, I really liked that conversation with Zack about his orientation after arriving in the new bedrooms and the bathroom scene and I'm curious to see the answer to his questions, although I have my own opinion on that subject I can't stop thinking about the conclusion to the one that Braden can reach. AND I LOVE BRADEN WITH GLASSES.


I don't like the original dormitory building, it reminds me of my college building and brings back bad memories because it's identical and every time I went to that building it was to find out very important news.

Finally to say that I have a mixture of love and hate for the game, I love it because it is great, wonderful and I have been playing it non-stop since I started. The bad thing is that when I finished it I felt empty, I tried to play other things or watch some series or movie but I can't concentrate because I keep thinking about what is going to happen to Zack and Braden and others.

Very good job, I love the game.

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heya,

So first off: you English is very good so no worries at all. I continue to be amazed that people who do not have English as a first language are able to understand this story. Unfortunately, I write with a lot of slang and I purposely try to use slang and references from different generations throughout the story just to try and make it appeal to different age demographics. I just never imagined that it would go world-wide like it has. It's just really cool when I'm able to still get some of those points across even though there can be a huge language barrier for a lot of readers.

I'm also glad you appreciate the game improvements. I had no clue what I was doing when I started so I'm very much learning as I go. It's funny now that I wrote the damn thing and I can't even make it through the beginning because I think it's so bad now. It really needs fixed so I'll be going back to update the game based on what I learned so hopefully it'll look more consistent in the future. 

I appreciate your mixed love and hate for the game and thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay tuned, it's almost done. 

Have to agree to AbelCain... you made the game in a very smart, decent and emotional way, so that we could connect to the characters easily. Remember and connect own experiences and actually feel something for Zack and Braden. So of course we will miss them, when the game is done.
That's why I'm taking my time with the game very slowly, enjoying every scene, noticing every word and expression..
Maybe you'll be able to set up something in the future, which will make it easy to re-connect to that.. ;-)

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I actually prefer if people take the game slower but I can't honestly tell if that's just the spoiled dev side of me that wants the amount of work put in to actually pay off and last. It's crazy how quickly people can blow through content that takes you months to do, but we see that in AAA studios, too, so it's not just an indie problem. Just don't go too slow or you'll more of the stuff that I still gotta fix :p

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Hi Aaryn,

I'm blown away at everything about this game! 

The depth of the psychology you've brought to the narrative is brilliant, you can tell it's your major. It helped to build the characters and draw us in on an amazing level.

I understand the mix of story vs 'porn'...although personally I don't view it as such, I see it as the intimacy you can read in most romance novels, it shows their inexperience and their connectivity with each other to explore such a nerve wracking human experience together...and be comfortable with each other with doing so. Amazing work! 

I know many people have expressed how they too see themselves in Zack and Bradens journey...even Mikhail and Max's. But its true. People seem to forget that not so long ago being gay was a hidden thing...and in far too many places today is still seen as wrong, evil, and even illegal.  So the internalised homophobia is something all too common.  Some don't even face it, or are lucky to find people that can let us be who we truly are without shame or judgement. 

But I'm going off on a tangent here. Just know, regardless of some others, your content is amazing. It has touched many people...and truly as others have said, this needs to be out there more. 

Well done! Keep doing you. 

You've got a fan base regardless of some other opinions. 

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Thanks a lot. I'm glad you appreciate the weird mix of things I did here. The sex stuff is meant, as you said it, to be more about exploration and intimacy than it is about porn. I think the adult genre can be more than what it is and has been and I've tried to hold myself to a higher standard with capturing that. In general, i don't like censorship and I try to not censor things with this story so we definitely have to include the adult stuff. Sometimes that's erotic and other times it's just funny or even tragic how bad they are, lol. But that's a lot of us. We're clumsy when we're in uncharted territory and that's what I wanted to capture with a coming of age tale here. However, in other scenes I've purposely censored some nudity and stuff because I didn't want people paying attention to physical stuff there-- I wanted them to focus on the character dialogue or the events or other things that just felt important to me. 

The story is as deep as I, personally, needed it to be. As you stated with internalized homophobia. Much of that is things that I've grew up around and internalized myself and it comes out in these characters and I wanted them to confront that. I've publicly said that this story isn't  a solution to that, it's just me capturing my own solution to that and I continue to be humbled by the amount of people that it's touched as well. It's nice to share something positive on the internet for a change and it's insane how many people this story and the community have affected. I'll never stop being thankful for that. I appreciate your kind words. I just did another Patreon post today with an update outline but I'm dropping the end of the story this month so stay tuned and I hope I do it justice. I've fretted over this ending long enough.

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