There’s something about 8-bitfiction that makes you feel like you’re reading the tweets of a friend, someone who you can tell your deepest darkest secrets to. It certainly helps that their tone has always been polite — they address their followers (and anyone who DMs them) as “friends”. The account was founded in 2010 by friends who liked to insert poetry onto old NES video game stills, but it mainly blew up on Tumblr in 2013.
While the hype surrounding 8-bitfiction has simmered down since then, it has always been in the background, delivering sincere and uplifting content that makes it seem like they always just get us.
With a steady following of over 80,000 on Twitter, it might seem strange that they still choose not to reveal their identities. But who’s to blame them? Anonymity is and will always be their thing — the strongest quality that makes them so relatable.
Recently, many of us were shocked when the people behind the account sacrificed a bit of that tightly kept secret in order to take a stand on the issue of Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The revelation that the people behind the account are Filipino became the talk of crowded cafeterias and break rooms almost as quickly as the news of the burial spread.
This week, we caught up with one of the folks behind 8-bitfiction to talk about staying anonymous in the age of influencers, getting to openly tweet about sisig and Ang Bandang Shirley, and choosing to engender love and honesty in an age of negativity.
Hey, friend: The group behind 8-bitfiction originally started superimposing words on screenshots of old NES games back in 2010.
You’ve been more open about revealing your nationality lately. What made you decide to share that detail about yourselves?
My parents, grandparents were at EDSA ’86. It is my turn to fucking stand up for what is right. See you in the streets. #MarcosNOTAHero
— 8-bitfiction (@8bitfiction) November 18, 2016
This came as an impulsive action born of waking up hungover to news that a dictator had been buried beside heroes. I am of the opinion that this should not be. I figured that if I was able to urge even a few of my followers to join the rally at the People Power Monument, then that would be worth losing a bit of our anonymity.
8-bitfiction started as a group of three — has that changed recently? Have you added new collaborators over the years or have your roles shifted in any way?
In the past, I had different friends helping me out before we started working on separate projects. You might notice that the old, old posts had a different tone. Nowadays, there are still three of us: the judo techwiz, the superhero professor, and, I, the silly writer.
Have you noticed anything new about the responses to your posts and tweets after you hinted at it?
Yes, we get to speak to our countrymen about our country that I adore, in a language that I love. My favorite part about all this is that I have been able to tweet about sisig and share local music from bands that have shaped who I am like Ang Bandang Shirley.
Still at it: 8-bitfiction continuously serves up sincere and uplifting content that makes it seem like they always just get us.
2016 was hard for a lot of people. There was a lot of negativity floating around the internet. As an account with a following that’s recently taken a stand on an issue, do you find it hard to strike a balance between posting your normal content with your personal thoughts on serious issues?
Not at all. I find that even those who disagree with our beliefs do it nicely. Our stand on every issue is that of love: if something harms people, the environment, or is just blatantly unjust, we are against it.
That said, we avoid commenting on every single news article that incurs our wrath. To be constantly mad at the world is so, so tiring. We do that on our own personal timelines and our everyday lives.
Instead of bickering with trolls online, I choose to engender love and honesty, that people may have it in them to share love and smiles with others too. Love is a disease, it has been said, and I aim to make an epidemic of it.
Instead of fighting with trolls online, the folks behind the account choose to engender love and honesty.
It’s really quite admirable, especially in this age of influencers and viral content. How important do you think anonymity is in this way?
Perhaps a persona created under the veil of anonymity is unfettered by the muck and mud of real life. You cannot google 8-bitfiction and find the mess that is our real lives. Thus, you are able to conduct yourself as the sort of person you want to be. It is a strange thing, how the persona I created for 8-bitfiction — one of shameless sincerity and love — has begun to bleed into who I am as a person. I hope my friends do not find it odd that I keep on telling them that I love them.
You’ve chosen to remain anonymous despite gaining a significant following over the years. Why so?
Mostly because we are shy. And there is a certain mystique, I guess, to not knowing where all the sappy words come from. Also, friends more life-savvy than I have asked me not to tell, and one should always trust a good friend’s word.
If you’ve noticed that 8-bitfiction’s pieces have taken on a more yellow hue recently, it’s because their writer recently met a lady who’s fond of the color.
Do you have any plans for the account this coming year in terms of content?
Maybe things you can wear to a night out, and maybe things you can read on a slow day.
Your description has always been “mush, smut, and sadness.” Lately, you’ve been posting more uplifting tweets. Is there a reason behind that shift in tone?
I met a lovely lady recently. She likes the color yellow, and I like making her smile.
Lastly, do you have any advice on how to stay positive given the current social media climate?
Always, always be kinder than you feel.