Mush, smut and sadness: three words that describe 8-bitfiction (8BF), a daily art project that has the very cool 8-bit aesthetic in the middle of it all.
Complete with one-liners seemingly aimed at the heart, 8BF has been making the rounds on the intrawebz, getting enough attention and affection to garner occasional viral status and a growing following. It is now 100,000 likes-strong on Facebook.
8BF was born out of idleness. It started in 2010 on Tumblr, by three people: a tech wiz, a psychology professor, and a writer. They’d take screenshots of their favorite NES games, add poetry and sometimes short stories too, resulting in beautiful digital stories that evoke nostalgia, heartbreak and all kinds of feels.
We spoke with the group about their process, inspirations, and their recent revelation that they are Filipinos!
Who are the people behind 8-bitfiction?
There are three of us: a tech wiz who ensures everything works tech-wise, a psychology professor who helps write, and [me, the writer who does] everything else! I met the former [tech wiz] in college, where we used to make silly videos of ourselves with other friends before he had to leave for another country.
The latter [psych professor] I’ve been in love for the past six years. A friend of ours introduced us to each other to talk about poetry. She is still a better writer than I am.
What do you guys do when you’re not busy with 8BF?
Our tech wiz is a corporate cog integral to the functionality of any and all computer-related contraptions in their tall, tall building where he commands lesser cogs to do his bidding. He asks politely before taking you down with his judo moves.
The psychology professor teaches, counsels, and, in general, does things to make the world a better place. A secret: she has taught some of our followers, and smiles whenever she catches them looking through our posts. She is a superhero with nice shoes and colored hair.
I write stories for a living, or at the very least, I am trying to. I love stories in all its forms. Also, I am a wizard. Between all these, we drink and tell everyone around us to love, and love honestly.
How was 8BF born?
8-bitfiction was born of idleness—that is to say, I had nothing better to do that fateful day in 2010. I loved NES since I was a kid, and decided it would be funny to write silly flash fiction and edit them into screenshots of NES games. If you happen upon the depths of our Tumblr, you will still find these old posts. 8-bitfiction in its current state — sad, sappy, and a little smutty — came about, once again, on a day I had nothing better to do. This time, however, I used lines I’d written myself, lines I’ve gathered from different media, and a few quotations friends had sent me that I keep in a text file I’ve had for years.
Did you have a specific goal in mind when you started 8BF?
Nothing profound, I merely wanted to amuse myself. A great deal of what I choose to do with my life is for my own amusement. Haha!
At which point did you realize you were getting more and more popular?
We started to make rounds on Tumblr late 2013-2014. It was quite the surprise to wake up to thousands of notes where there were once only dozens.
It was surprising and horrifying. My little corner of the internet, the private archive of my feelings, had been seen. I decided to run with it, though, and we started to really take off when our tech wiz suggested we cross-post on Facebook and Twitter, too.
And how did you cope with that change?
For one, fueled by the fervor one feels from being appreciated, I posted every day for a year or so. Nowadays, work keeps me busy, but I post whenever I can. I think the best thing about all this is I have so much more people to play with on Twitter!
What is 8-bitfiction’s creative process?
Let’s make one right now, shall we? It starts with a feeling. A good feeling or a bad feeling. I have been heartbroken for the past month or so over a person I care so, so much about. Though we had it good, it seems what we had was not enough. As the days bore on; as we spoke, I was starting to hurt.
Eventually, hurt turned to harm when all I could do was miss her and drink.
Love will hurt but not harm you, as we’ve once posted.
Thus, I had to say goodbye. And as I sit here, sad and not entirely sober, I think about that goodbye, and think that the hardest goodbyes are the ones that are necessary.
Now, after this interview, I will find an appropriate image, edit it, add that last bit, and off it goes into the world.
Do you ever plan on publicly revealing who you guys are? Why would you rather stay anonymous?
Not too soon, perhaps. I enjoy the look on people’s faces and the hugs I get when they find out who I am. Particularly when I have to tweet in front of them as proof. Perhaps the only reason we would reveal who we are is when I have to shamelessly plug a different project.
But you guys recently revealed that you are Filipinos! What made you decide to finally reveal that?
I am of the opinion that a dictator should not be buried amongst heroes of our country. As I’ve tweeted, my parents and grandparents were at EDSA ‘86, and I felt that it was my turn to stand up for what is right. I figured, if I could urge even a few people on Twitter to join me for the rally at the People Power Monument, it would be worth losing a bit of our anonymity. Also, I was pretty mad when I woke up to the news, so here we are.
What’s your favorite piece out of everything you’ve done?
“I forgive the world because it has you.” That, along with the short story I wrote about a man who found a genie on the beach.
What is the best thing a fan ever said about your art?
That we make them happy. That we kept them company through their depression. That they send our pieces to loved ones. That we give words to how they feel. That we should not stop because we make them smile.
What do you think is the reason that your posts get shared a lot?
Though we live our lives at a breakneck pace, there will always be room for pensive melancholy, nameless confessions, and silly, sappy proclamations of love. As long as people feel, we will never go out of style!
A Softer World. Have you seen A Softer World? I love them so much. A favorite: “Love is a drawer for knives to rust in.” I wish I had written that.
Any other webcomics, or readings in general, can you recommend?
I am currently laughing about Asshulz + Friends’ Mom, Dad and I’m Trash. Also, a friend sent me a poem called Tama by Alwynn C. Javier, and I can’t stop rereading it. And everyone should read Alice in Wonderland because it is my favorite.
Three words you want 8BF to be in the future.
Retweeted by @carlyraejepsen. Haha! I love her.
We love her too! What’s on your playlist right now? Recommend us some good music.
Madvillainy in the morning, Ang Bandang Shirley in the afternoon, Shiina Ringo in the evening, and the new The xx song past midnight.
Will 8-bit be making anything with Filipino statements anytime soon? Can you do one for this article?
Header illustration: Madel Crudo
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