Sister Love was born in 2004 in City of Heroes. It was in that year that my friend Erwan, who had introduced me to the MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game), the first I played being Dark Age of Camelot, showed me the latest game of this kind recently released in the US, City of Heroes.
That was pure magic. The characters were lively, halfway between drawings and photo-real, the fight were perfectly staged and spectacular, and the poses completely « comic-booky ». The creation system was just extraordinary, everything was customizable with tons of options, and more were to come. The environments had a lot of work in them, there were cars in the street and many bystanders roamed the city, each one of them speaking, some about your own characters! You could do scripted missions, or just patrolling the city and helping folks to defend themselves against various crook types which populated the map. The immersion feeling was complete, and from the beginning of the game you really felt like you were accomplishing worthwhile feats for the town and its inhabitants.
Down times were very fun too, there was a whole bunch of animations, poses and emoticons to pass time. You could make your hero read a newspaper, throwing dice, give notes, whistle, yell, read his emails on his laptop, give a phone call, dance on boom box rhythms (there was also a nightclub!), play rock-paper-scissors, etc…
The game system featured powers activated from a tool box. What was great was that the powers were following the evolution of the character, a level 1 power was still useful at level 50. The casual gamers were not more ostracized than the « hard-core gamers », since a character could take another one under his wing and bring him to one level less than himself. So a newly created level 1 character could play with a level 37 character, which made a sidekick out of him/her, allowing him to perform at a functional level 36! And on the other hand, the most powerful character could reduce his level to the one of a less potent character (becoming a mentor).
Regular events punctuated the sessions, extraterrestrial invasions, or the attack of the Winter King, a gigantic snowman who was appearing alternatively in many places of the map, and who allowed players to offer Christmas presents!
I could write a whole lot of things about this excellent game, the best of its kind I ever played. Upon discovery, I went back home, purchased the game online, and downloaded it all night! In the morning, I was up à 5am to create my first character.
This was not yet Sister Love, but Marianne, also featured in the novel, a close-combat very tough fighter (a Scrapper in game term). Marianne was initially a character from a tabletop roleplaying game, TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes, whom I created for a last-minute player. It was just a variation of Wonder Woman, dressed all in yellow and gold (because I love simple costumes).
Sister Love was my second character, whose name was initially Sista Love by the way, since the name « Sister Love » was already taken by another player. It was only when the European servers opened in 2005 that I was able to create Sister Love, with the proper name, on the French server, Vigilance.
Unfortunately the last City of Heroes server stopped on 2012, November 30, a full year ago. My deepest regret is not having made screenshots of Sister Love herself. I though naively that the game would be here forever…