a_bit_of_wit_2: (For the win!)
It's the end...but the moment has been prepared for...

I'm gonna come right out and say this: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little sad about the end of the Character Battles. I didn't think I would be doing these for eight years. I didn't expect to have (and maintain) enough interest--not just from myself, but also from my players--in these things to do fourteen contests in all.

I've explained why I'm calling it quits after this remarkable run; not for lack of interest. Despite all the work that goes into all of these, I still very much enjoy running these. It's because it's time to move on. When I started these in the summer of 2004, many of us were either in grade school, or just moving on to college, and really, still being kids, with tons of free time. Now, here in 2012, many of us who have been along for the ride (myself included) are either still in college, have full-time jobs, are in committed relationships, and some of you have even gotten married and are beginning families. The free time is no longer there. That's true of myself as well; free time for me is at a premium, and has been for a while. And as the level of interest has declined over the past few contests, it's become clear that, while we've all had fun, we all have lives; no longer spending our days and evenings on message boards, forums, instant messenger, and chat, being geeks and nerds. The final realization came just before the first deadline for this contest's submissions, when I saw that I had just eight or so people entered, and it was seriously looking like I was going to have the lowest number of entrants ever, despite the theme of this contest (Final Fantasy), and that I increased the prize amounts.

Real life takes over. We're no longer teenagers. And it's sad, in a way. But, life goes on.

Even so, I've got a lot of great memories from this 8-year run. And how these things evolved; first starting on my own forum, Into the Lifestream, where anyone who wanted in had to fill out a bracket by hand via Microsoft Word. Later, Joshie, inspired by my own forum, created Fantasy World, and the contests ran on both our forums simultaneously. Then they made the jump to my LiveJournal and Joshie's later site, Late to the Party. Finally, I took the contests to Facebook and The Battling Arena. It closed the circle, actually. These contests began on message boards, and will end on a message board.

Some things that stick out: the epic Final Battle in Character Battle 9 between Leon Kennedy and Eddie Dombrowski, in which over 130 votes were cast and Leon won by just a few votes...Peter shattering the record for number of battles won in a row...Ben's unbreakable record of 46 days in 1st place...me winning my own contest in CB3, where the Final Battle was decided via tiebreaker (the only one to do so)...Sarah winning the very first contest when Laguna beat Sephiroth in the Final Battle (and her having the only correct pick), and her also becoming the first multiple-contest winner, when she won CB6: Video Game Heroes. Ron becoming the first 3-contest winner. And of course, the podcasts.

I'm gonna miss these, but I will be looking back at them fondly. Just for nostalgia's sake, let's look back at the winners:

Final Fantasy Character Battle Contest (July-September 2004)
Champion: EyesOfATragedy
2nd place: S. Roth
3rd place: Aeris115

Video Game Villains Character Battle Contest (January-March 2005)
Champion: CloudANDTidus
2nd place: WhorerOfMoogles
3rd place: Tsukinoyuki

Super Smash Melee Character Battle Contest (July-September 2005)
Champion: S. Roth
2nd place: Saya
3rd place: Dragon Mage

Female Gamer Character Battle Contest (January-April 2006)
Champion: Saya
2nd place: S. Roth
3rd place: Diamond

Colosso: RPG Character Battle Contest (July-September 2006)
Champion: Kinie
2nd place: Magus
3rd place: CloudANDTidus

Video Game Heroes Character Battle Contest (January-March 2007)
Champion: EyesOfATragedy
2nd place: Brie
3rd place: Saya

Generation Seven Character Battle Contest (July-September 2007)
Champion: Kinie
2nd place: MusicalRicardo
3rd place: Saya

Battle Royal: Character Battle 8 (January-March 2008)
Champion: Saya
2nd place: C&T
3rd place: S. Roth

Character Battle 9: Silent Evil (January-February 2009)
Champion: CrystalGuardian
2nd place: S. Roth
3rd place: EyesOfATragedy

Character Battle 10: Metal Gear (June-July 2009)
Champion: S. Roth
2nd Place: MusicalRicardo
3rd place: C&T

Character Battle 11: Kingdom Hearts (December 2009-January 2010)
Champion: Jesse
2nd Place: TetsuoTrunks
3rd Place: Nilfalasiel
4th Place: Kinie
5th Place: Saya

Character Battle 12: Second Fiddle (June 2010-August 2010)
Champion: Richard
2nd Place: EyesOfATragedy
3rd Place: Aeris115

Character Battle 13: Into the Legend (July 2011-August 2011)
Champion: Kinie
2nd Place: Arclayn
3rd Place: EyesOfATragedy

Character Battle 14: Final Fantasy/Dancing Mad (July 2012-October 2012)
Champion: Gabriel C.
2nd Place: Brittany
3rd Place: E

So what am I going to do with the slightly more free time I'll have? Probably devote it toward my schoolwork, as I attempt to finally get my Bachelor's degree. Get my career in photography off the ground. Spend more time with the wife. Tackle the backlog of video games that seems to only get bigger. Focus on keeping my health in check.

Will there ever be another Character Battle? Never say never, I guess. The mood may strike me again some time down the road; there are still one or two ideas for a contest I'd still like to run, but I don't feel an overwhelming desire to bring those to fruition. Maybe a few years from now, I might do a one-off contest, but we'll see. As of now, I have no plans to do more. If anyone else wants to grab the baton and continue on with a 15th contest (and beyond, or start the numbering again in your own era), then please, let me know. I'll show you how I do it, and, you know, it'll be nice to just be a participant, for once. Someone else do the work.

Time to bring this thing to a close, I suppose. All that remains is for me to spread my thanks. Thanks to Joshie for being a good sport and letting me host most of these contests on your sites. I hope I didn't inconvenience you too badly whenever I hijacked your site for a few months. Also, more thanks to Joshie and Zack for being the only two people to have played EVERY single one of my contests. You guys need a medal or something. Thanks to the people who have suggested characters, contest themes, and have served as my tiebreakers these past eight years. Thanks to everyone who voted in every and any battle.

But most importantly, thank YOU. All of you who have ever entered my contests. Even if you only entered just one. You know who you are, but if not...

Saya
C&T/Clidus
Kinie
EyesOfATragedy
MusicalRicardo/Richard
Dragon Mage/Seraphi Magus/Magus
Jesse
Link182/Mort
Zack
CrystalGuardian/Ryan W.
Aeris115
MoonSword/Arclayn
Zergplex
TetsuoTrunks
Diamond
E
Sputin
Alyssa
Halflingspy/Wyatt
Fragments/Kat
Kodraenir
CroutonPope/Brie
Chaos
Nilfalasiel
Liam Baden
Zephyrus/Cillaroth
ShadowNaddan
Sumeile/Yoshi
Elmo
Paul Morris
Kim Jones
DaUnknown
Whorer of Moogles/nCS
Biccy
Happy Slappy Jappy/Vivi
Grendel
Chris G.
Lord of Chocobos
Dejah
Tsukinoyuki/Luna
Mari the Great
Qrayzee Star
Annie
Hitman
Sarah Ritchie
Pab
Brookster
WallnutBoy
MateriaGurl
Scott
Reid
Mist-ninja
Doug
Tifa
Kissa
ResFantasyFan
Cooper
Brittany
Gabriel C.
James C.
Danielle C.
Robert H.

You made these contests fun, enjoyable, and worth all the work needed to run them. I hope you honestly had fun competing and playing along, even if you didn't win anything. So many thanks.

And that, as they say, is that. You guys have been great. See ya around.
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