Healthy Start was originally posted on June 19th, 2018.
This post covers some of the peculiarities of Appletree and the overall setting of AW, and as such, I think it's worth sharing again as a "remix" post. There really isn't much that has changed or needs to be commented on with this post, so I'll just get straight to it.
Is The City really so dirty and polluted? No, and in fact, the air quality is probably better than a lot of cities. What The City is, is bleak and rather hopeless.
Economic depressions usually accelerate the trend of people migrating towards population centers. People move in the hopes of finding employment or lose their employment and find themselves trapped. While conditions have stopped deteriorating for many nations, there hasn't been a whole lot in the way of improvement, either. Politics, unrestricted corporatism, and plain greed continue to preside; measures taken by many governments are often half-measures that do little to actually solve problems. It's a recession without recovery in sight, and the uncertainty, fear, and distrust have stained everyday life for most people.
And then, there's Appletree.
Clean, vibrant, and even hopeful...
...but hope can be a powerful drug...
...and leads to ignoring the truth.
Whichever route you take to get there, Appletree is an interesting place. The population is unusual, with a majority of adults in their 20s, 30s, or 40s, and a relatively small amount of children (for now). It's very much a company town, with the Thornton Institute being the first, second, third, and fourth largest employer, if you count subsidiary organizations as distinct employers. The community is well-designed and meticulously thought-out, making it a nice place to live, but it also has a pervasive artificial aura. It's much like a Disney amusement park; an artificial veneer carefully built into a pleasant illusion. Like a soap bubble, the idea of Appletree pops as soon as you reach out and touch it...
And that brings us back to hope, and people's desire to hold on to that illusion as tightly as they can. With the exception of some of the youngest residents, everyone was born in the outside world. They've experienced it, and they know that they don't want to go back. Those that moved to Appletree in it's earliest days may even cling more tightly to the illusion, simply because they know that it's much worse than what they knew before. The residents don't take a lot of trips out of town, though The City isn't too far away. The occasional visit reminds those that have managed to forget what awaits them away from the Institute and Appletree.
For most citizens, there's nothing standing in the way of them simply packing up and leaving. The idea of leaving voluntarily is an alien concept to most, and even the thought of being forced to leave would provoke anxiety or fear in many. Appletree is something of a prison, though certainly a pleasant one. But unlike the concrete structures housing a few million Americans, Appletree is a prison of the mind... one the inmates don't want to leave.
What it means...
The world of Accidental Woman may seem like something quickly painted in broad strokes with various tropes, but underneath it's actually a pretty complex setting. The setting in fiction is quite important. Imagine a sci-fi flick where suddenly, with no real reason, there's a horseback battle against native Americans straight out of a western. It would completely break any immersion, and probably strip you of your suspension of disbelief.
While erotica is rarely associated with literature, AAA games, or big-budget movies, the same reality holds true. If it were just porn, visual stimulation to fap to, then the same tired (and usually comical) plots would do... But that's not what we're after. Erotica is a story, setting, and characters to build an erotic fantasy and tickle our kinks in a way that simple visual mediums can't hope to achieve. Interactive erotica, H-games, take this a step further. It's a pretty exciting time, all told, as this content grows and evolves. (And you are all a part of making that happen, so thank you!)
For Accidental Woman, I wanted a world that was close enough to the real world to share a more visceral connection than with fantasy or very sci-fi settings. Those settings are great because they give you an excuse to play out a wide variety of scenarios and kinks in a setting that can make them fit... basically without suddenly having a random western stampede show up. But you also sacrifice that connection to reality as a trade-off.
So what if you want to have a world where you can realistically pull off a wide-open range of scenarios and kinks, but you also want that world to be close to reality? And that's why Appletree exists, and why the setting is dystopian. It's also why Appletree is full of such strange things, and yet people act as if everything is normal. It's my answer to the question of how to pull that off.
You can be a dom or a sub, get pregnant a thousand times over, go streaking or peek in on your neighbor, and you can also do the stranger things. You could be a test subject, a captive, or what amounts to a sex slave or bioreactor. You could also be part of the opposite side, managing subjects or forcefully impregnating designated breeders. You could lead a cult or be the victim of one, go on a drug-fueled bender or explore erotic horror.
In a single game.
In a way that fits the overall setting and narrative.
The setting is wide-open to possibilities, and the product of our imaginations.
Appletree is a hell of a place, and I can't wait to share more of it with you.
Fun fact: the population of Appletree is somewhere around 88,000 people.