In 2022 (kind of running out of time for this to happen in real life) a new gaming device was developed, the NerveGear. It is a full dive virtual reality device that directly stimulates the wearer's brain to experience "being inside" a game. Needless to say the applications were wondrous but for some reason were currently limited to gaming (you could use it as a weapon, sex simulator or for researching the human brain but why not use it for games first?).
My name is Eric Smith; I’m a 17 year old American currently residing in Japan. My parents moved us here 6 months ago for business. Adjusting was a little tough but I’m getting used to it. I've always been big into gaming so I eagerly waited hours in line to get my preorder of the NerveGear. There was some scruffy-looking guy with a bandana and his loser friends in front of me that made the experience unpleasant but I got it, so it was worth it. The platform only had 10,000 initial releases for the first game, an MMO called Sword Art Online (SAO for short). It looked fun and I couldn't wait to play it.
Once the day came for the start of SAO I immediately dived in and created an ideal character. I'm not very attractive so I made my avatar tall, muscular and handsome, just for fun. Once the game launched I was overwhelmed by the amazing detail of the word of Aincrad. I could feel individual blades of grass, see clouds float thought the sky, a black-haired guy ran by like he knew what he was doing and a creepy guy was trying to pick up a young girl..... Just like real life (sigh). For the next several hours I tried out all the games features, I attacked boars (got my ass kicked), threw dirt off the side of Aincrad (it blew away) and bought slightly better gear from the NPC’s (who still had the personalities of bricks, some revolutionary technology).
As evening approached I figured I should logout to eat, so I brought up the menu and looked for the logout button....... After five minutes I realized I wasn't overlooking it, the damn thing was gone. I fought back many emotions like rage (WTF happened to it!), fear (what's happening?), despair (I have to get out!) and relief (hey, my real life was kind of boring). Finally when I felt like I was going to have a breakdown I suddenly found myself teleported to the town square with apparently all the other players. I saw numerous other people, many in a similar state to me. Among them was that black-haired man I saw earlier, some guy with a bandana and that creepy guy and the girl he was hitting on. As I was about to ask someone if they knew what was happening, a red cloak figure appeared above us. The figure identified himself as Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO. He informed us that he had purposely removed the logout button and was trapping all of us in the game. If we died in the game, we died in real life. Apparently the NervGear was equipped with a microwave emitter that could fry our brains (What! No one noticed that?!) and kill us if anyone tried to remove it. Kayaba went on to inform us the only way for us to return to the real world was to beat all 100 floors of the game (that’s not how MMO’s work, you realize that right?). Additionally he had us look at a mirror in our inventory, which forcibly changed us to resemble our real selves (come on man…). Then he vanished leaving us to sort out the traumatic events.
Some people fell to their knees in despair, others bawled “No,” many argued amongst themselves. I suddenly found myself raising my fist and screaming “F*#K YOU Akihiko Kayaba!” Some people near me gave me weird looks but given the situation I think it was appropriate. A black-haired kid (looks kind of like that other guy I saw) quickly shuffled off with a scruffy-looking guy with a bandana (he looks familiar). As I struggled to wrap my mind around the current situation I couldn’t help but notice that the number of female players had dropped dramatically (freaking pervs….). After a few minutes, I realized the only way out of this situation was to beat the game (or hope someone could get me out but if they didn’t notice the freaking microwave emitter on the NervGear I doubt they would be much help). As I stood up and prepared to march out on my new quest for survival I raised my fist in the air and shouted my new battle cry, “F*#K YOU Akihiko Kayaba!”
One month later we were all still trapped in the game, except 2,000 players were dead (at this rate we’ll all be killed before we get to the 6th floor). Well at least we think their dead, none who died ever came back, so were just assuming (ran out of people who want to test it).
In the aftermath of the first day the beta testers had taken the initiative and grabbed the best quests and farming zones. This left the rest of us a bit behind, especially those that took a couple days to come to grips with the new reality (I didn‘t hold a grudge, would‘ve done the same thing in their place).
I adjusted pretty fast, it only took me one day before I committed to beating the game (spent most of that trying to logout, find another method and talking with others). After almost dying a couple times I quickly realized solo-playing was dangerous. I teamed up with several groups but none for very long (many were dumb asses or tried to boss me around too much).
Moral was pretty low among most players, especially since nobody’s found the boss room yet. To help with that a meeting has been called by top players to come up with a strategy. I’m not exactly a top player but I do consistently grind (nothing else to do aside from wallow in despair). The meeting was organized by a guy named Diavel (pretty sure he’s a beta tester), he announced they had finally found the boss room. There were a lot of arguments, some dumb ass named Kibaou blamed everything on the beta testers and ranted about some other nonsense. Once he shut-up we agreed to form teams and prepare for the assault. I grouped up with some half-decent people (one guy acted like a cat…) and spent the night studying the beta tester info on the boss.
When the assault went down it progressed pretty much as planned, the Kobolds were easy enough to handle and the boss was as expected. However when the Kobold King got low on HP Diavel charged in to attack (that wasn’t part of the plan…). The boss did something unexpected and Diavel died but two mysterious players managed to defeat it. They were a kid with black hair (looks familiar) and a girl with brown hair (a real girl!). In the aftermath of the battle the black-haired guy (his name’s Kirito) revealed he was not only a beta tester but the tester that had made the most progress ever. The common ignoramuses combined these words and called him a Beater (seriously guys, that’s the best you could come up with?). A following argument led to Kirito telling us off and advancing to the second floor (asshole) while the rest of us stood around like morons.
As more time went by the game began to progress much faster (if it didn’t we were in serious danger of half the players dying and the other half giving up). I soon found an interest in being a blacksmith; it allowed me to forge the gear I wanted and make a profit. When not crafting I worked as a freelance player to other parties. I would repair their gear, buy and sell supplies and give them advice from other parties I worked with.
Before we knew it we had been trapped in Aincrad for one and a half years (where did the time go, feels like it went by in three or four episodes of an anime….). My hatred for Akihiko Kayaba grew by the day. At first I thought we’d only be trapped in the game for a few months at most but now it seemed like years at best. To vent my anger I would scream “F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba!” at least once per day, whenever the urge hit me. Generally I would point at the sky when I yelled it, imagining he was looking down on us like a malevolent god. I got a lot of weird stares but they understood (nobody liked being trapped here without end in fear of dying at anytime).
The frontline was on the 56th floor and the boss was proving to be problematic. Previous boss battles had taught all the guilds and top players to be cautious, we slowed down our progress but it lowered casualties significantly. A large strategy meeting was called with all the top players again. A high ranking member of the Knights of the Blood Oath named Asuna (hey, she’s that girl from the first boss battle) advocated luring the boss into the NPC area and using them a meat-shields. I was about to cheer it on but another player disagreed (its not like their people, all they do is repeat the same stuff like “we must save my family.”). Eventually a strategy was decided and the boss was defeated (that fight was crazy…).
Between participating in the battle and getting first dibs on trade after the battle I managed to make enough to open my own blacksmith shop. I settled on the 48th floor and after much deliberation decided to name my store F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba! (Seemed very appropriate). Business was slow but it gave me time to concentrate on quality and grinding. I even started naming my swords various insults toward Kayaba; stuff like F*#k You, Kayaba is an a**hole, Kayaba will pay, Kayaba eats sh*# and a variety of other creative profanities/insults (make what you know….). Most customers only came to look, not believing I would name the weapons this way (ah, poor polite Japanese, they miss the greatness of being blatantly rude). One day a guy in black (isn’t that the asshole from the first floor?) came into my shop and was almost speechless at the naming theme. He stood their almost aghast, staring at the profane names of my merchandise.
“See anything of interest?” I asked him. He looked at me in confusion for a moment before responding.
“Ah, did you name everything like this on purpose?”
I proudly smiled and replied, “Yes I did, helps people show their anger towards the bastard that trapped us here.” The guy in black (Kirito I think it was) politely and awkwardly nodded. After giving him my sales pitch he said he was only looking for a strong sword, not a motivational weapon (as I like to call them). I showed him my best weapons but nothing compared to his Elucidator (that’s like the best sword in the game so far, nobody can make anything that good). After politely excusing himself I returned to my work.
When it started to grow dark I figured I should go out to get something to eat but first I would do my new routine of running through the town square while shouting “F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba! (Hey don’t judge, it’s fun and maybe if he hears it he’ll realize he should let us out of the game). I continued this routine for the next few weeks. Along the way I heard about a variety of surprising events, Kirito had a duel wielding skill and soloed a boss (so that’s what he was looking for…) and later married Asuna (lucky bastard…). Other darker news involved the predations of the murder guild Laughing Coffin. Their actions eventually forced the top guilds and players to put them down. I didn’t participate (challenge the top murder guild? No thank you…) but I heard several people died on both sides.
One day while I was doing my routine and shouted “F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba!” into the sky, a passerby seemed greatly shaken by it. The guy was wearing armor from the Knights of the Blood Oath and seemed almost aghast by my statements. He looked around quickly and brought up his menu like he was panicking. Wasn’t sure why he was acting this way so I quickly explained the situation to him. He calmed down immediately and introduced himself as Heathcliff, the leader of the Knights of the Blood Oath (why would someone like him get so raddled from me yelling obscenities?). He started to tell me I shouldn’t swear in public but I cut him off and told him about my shop (I even showed him one of my swords). Heathcliff looked at me like my dad did when I told him I burned down the garage (it was an accident), he sighed loudly, closed his eyes for a second then excused himself (well f*#k you too buddy….). I didn’t think much of it and went home, randomly yelling my catchphrase in defiance.
A few days later I was crafting a new sword and was going to name it F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba 57 (I named a lot of them this….) but when I hit the confirm button on naming it, the menu reset to new sword 1. Confused, I reentered the name and hit enter; again it reset (WTF is going on?!). I tried numerous other insulting names, all failed. Finally in desperation I tried anything insulting without Kayaba’s name, they also failed. I angrily threw the sword aside and looked at my other weapons to compare. When I looked at my weapons names I was horrified to see the same thing, they were all renamed new sword #! (WTF!) I desperately ran around the shop checking every weapon and item I possessed that had an insulting name against Kayaba. They were all renamed! A dreadful thought formed in my mind and I rushed outside to check the sign above my shop. It was renamed New Shop 1! I screamed in rage, pounded my fists on the ground and even broke down crying (hey it was my only outlet). As the sun (or what passes as the sun in this fake world) began to set, I lay on the ground whimpering over my lost naming theme. People looked away and kept walking trying to be respectful. Finally realization dawned on me; I knew who was responsible for this travesty. The rage quickly filled me, giving me the energy to stand and raise my fist into the air. I screamed with all my might at the darkening sky, “F*#K YOU AKIHIKO KAYABA!!! Yelling it once wasn’t enough, I soon found myself running through the streets screaming my battle cry until my voice was hoarse and my throat was sore. I lost track of how long I did it, couple hours at least. Eventually I made my way back home (or new shop 1 as it’s called now…) and passed out from grief and exhaustion.
The Cardinal System of Aincrad’s mental health assistance program looked on in grief as she watched the despair of the thousands of players. From the first day she had been forced to watch helplessly as they suffered and died. Now she saw a poor player screaming obscenities in rage as he ran up and down the streets of floor 48. Apparently he had been naming things various insulting phrases against the creator of Sword Art Online Akihiko Kayaba. Kayaba had become aware of this and used his administrator abilities to forcibly change it. The troubled player had suffered a breakdown as a result and the mental health assistance program could do nothing but watch. It was all too much for her, perhaps she would leave this space and find players that weren‘t overcome with despair….
I obviously took the loss of my naming theme rather hard, the next few days were a blur of despair, hatred and frustration. Eventually I pulled out of it and began to get back to crafting. I discovered through trial and error I could name weapons other smart names like Aincrad Will Burn and SAO is Death (not as good but its something..). Word then came that all the major guilds and top players were being summoned for the fight against the 75th floor boss. They even contacted me, which was surprising because I wasn’t a top player (close but not that good). The expedition was being lead by Heathcliff and the Knights of the Blood Oath (I don’t really care for him for some reason…) but many others were participating. We met a couple hours before setting out to discuss strategy, apparently 20 players scouting the boss never came back (holy sh*#!). This probably meant the boss room locked and teleportation crystals didn’t work, meaning the only good strategy was to overwhelm it with force (that’s a crappy game tactic). Various high profile players showed up, including Kirito, Asuna, the giant blacksmith Agil and that scruffy-looking guy with the bandana (Klein I think it was).
Once we were ready we set out for the boss room, Heathcliff gave a motivational speech and we went in. The door disappeared behind us and we nervously waited for the boss to appear. When it finally came into view we were overwhelmed by its fearsome appearance. The Bone Reaper as it was called looked like a monstrous centipede made up of rib bones. Two players panicked at the sight of it and ran (where are you going?), the monster cut them down with one blow (Holy Sh*#!, those were our main tanks!). We struggled against it with all our might for the next several minutes, I hit it with everything I had but was knocked back. I spent most of the rest of the fight healing up then charging back in when it finally was defeated (wonder who struck the last blow? Oh well, doesn’t matter).
After the battle we took stock and determined fourteen players died in the fight (we won’t last much longer with these kinds of losses), many were depressed by this and moral was very low. While we contemplated our losses I noticed Kirito standing up with his sword ready (what’s he doing?). Then suddenly charging towards Heathcliff and attacking him. Everyone was shocked at this, especially when the icon “Immortal Object” appeared over him (WTF?). Kirito explained the staggering truth of this icon; Heathcliff was Akihiko Kayaba (what!!!). Kayaba went on to admit his identity, I was overwhelmed with fury and struggled to put my rage into action (that god-da*#ed m*#&er f*#er, that‘s why he seemed so shocked at my swearing and how he noticed my shop!). Someone else beat me to it and attacked him while he was giving a tedious monologue about his actions. Kayaba stopped his attack by using his menu to induce paralysis in the guy, then extending it to the rest of us (that’s what he was doing with his menu that day…). Since we couldn’t move, I would assault him the only way possible, with my battle cry! However when I opened my mouth to yell nothing came out. I quickly tried clearing my throat and yelling again. Still nothing, in desperation I tried saying anything but the best I could do was make gurgling noises. I quickly realized Kayaba must have muted us (assh*#e). However I noticed other people were still able to talk, meaning the muting was exclusive to me (YOU F*#KING B*#TARD!). I gurgled in rage as Kayaba continued his exchange with Kirito. Eventually the black swordsman challenged him to a duel, if he won the game was over and we could log out. Everyone cheered Kirito on (I couldn’t because I was muted…) and the fight commenced. After a short but strong start, Kirito’s sword broke and Kayaba countered. Surprisingly Asuna somehow unparalyzed herself and jumped in front of the blow (so the power of love can undo paralysis in this game?) but was killed from the strike. Kirito was too grief stricken to properly continue the fight and was ruthlessly killed by Kayaba (how is that fair?). I struggled with rage at these circumstances, still unable to move or talk. That’s when it happened, Kirito somehow kept going even though being dead and killed Kayaba. They both disappeared, leaving us still paralyzed in the boss room. I was overjoyed at Kayaba’s apparent death but couldn’t help but wonder if he would keep his word (F*#kin better…). After several minutes of uncertainty an announcement was made by the server that the game had been cleared and everyone would be logged out. I watched in quick succession as players began disappearing until a strange sensation washed over me.
When I woke up I was in hospital bed, if could feel the nervgear on my head. As I struggled to pull it off, I couldn’t help but notice how weak I was. Just sitting up was a Herculean struggle, when I looked at my hands I noticed how thin and emaciated they looked (well, I was in a coma for two years). Once the nervgear helmet was off I threw to the ground. Just to make sure, I took a deep breath and yelled with what little might I could, “F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba!” This sudden outburst caught the attention of a nurse who rushed into the room obviously shocked at a coma patient yelling profanities. As the nurse called for a doctor I couldn’t help but smile, it was finally over (pity I couldn’t yell it to him at the end but I did do it earlier).
Two months later
My physical rehabilitation went a lot faster than I expected (seriously I’m mostly better in two months after being in a coma for two years?) and am currently working on finishing my education. There was talk of putting all the SAO survivors in a special school, but I was only six months away from graduating before this, so I was just going to finish it online. Adjusting back to real life was a little challenging; going to the bathroom, not brining up your menu every five minutes and actually physically removing your clothes were some things I had to get used to doing again (damn reality…). I was glad to be out of SAO but couldn’t help but miss it sometimes. Eventually I found out there were other full-dive games out there, many looked interesting. My parents thought I was crazy for wanting to use full-dive equipment again, but the Amusphere was guaranteed safe (no F*#kin microwave emitter in it). After thinking about it for a while I bought one (got a lot of settlement money from the government and Argus) and tried a new game called Alfheim Online. In the game you played as faerie races but could fly. It seemed pretty similar to SAO in a lot of ways but different in combat (and had magic). I played as a Leprechaun because of their bonuses to blacksmithing. One day when I was crafting a sword I decided for nostalgic purposes, to name it F*#k You Akihiko Kayaba! I typed in the phrase and hit enter, the name appeared on the sword’s description and I couldn’t help but smile. Then suddenly the name glitched out for a second and changed to New Sword 1. I was speechless for several seconds as I stared at the name (….what….the….). Then realization dawned on me, which quickly led to overwhelming rage. That bastard Kayaba was responsible for this! I don’t know how but he did it somehow! I gritted my teeth for a second before raising my fist into the air in rage and screaming “F*#K YOU AKIHIKO KAYABA!!!