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Appendix C

Appendix C

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Published by albrackin

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Published by: albrackin on Sep 12, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The main storyline of the “Deus City” ARG was written long before I ever knew what anARG was. In 2003 I began my coursework at UT-Dallas, at which time I took a classentitled “Screenwriting” that would change the direction of my whole program. The classhad one assignment: Write a fully submissible screenplay. At the end of the semester Ihad written the first version of a movie screenplay entitled “Deus Ex Machina,” set in anindeterminate futuristic Orwellian cyber noir “corporate bordello” in which the “CorporateSenate” has direct control over the government, and tracks everyone with asubcutaneous tracking chip. The main character was a 1930’s film noir “Sam Spade”style detective who hated the technological world he lived in, and was thereby able tosolve crimes by using the older forgotten methods of yesteryear.Three years later I hit upon the idea of using this story’s setting, characters, and generalplot outline as the backbone for an online interactive story, and “Deus City” was born.The storyline below is told without regard to the specific player created elements of thegame versus the
created content, if for no other reason than in attemptingto define that blurry line the story itself would become ridiculously complex if not entirelyunfollowable.The fictional “Deus City” ARG’s story officially began in 2006 when an insignificant blog(the first
) appeared in the seemingly infinite sea of blogs that some call theblogosphere. The writer, not so surreptitiously named “Brackin” was an
versionof myself who was working as the project leader of a team from the University of Texasat Dallas to make contact with themselves exactly one week into the future using whatthey called a “Space Laser.” The team’s progress and pitfalls were chronicled by myfictional counterpart “Brackin” on his blog, including the test fire of the laser as acountdown appeared on the team’s website at www.deuscity.com for the project’sattempt at making contact with the future, an address chosen seemingly at random bythe team’s entirely fictional technical supervisor nicknamed “Foo.”At the appointed time a “live” video was broadcast on the project’s site via allegedYouTube placeholder files, thus showing the experiment. Foo was mysteriously absent,claiming later that he was locked in the server room, but it was hardly noticed, for at theappropriate firing time, the experiment went horribly “right” and the team received their first message from “Mustafa Tang Fujimoto,” CEO of “Defensecorp,” and the president,and majority leader of the Deus City Corporate Senate in the year 2036, who gives a
144rather enigmatic plea for help, finishing with the game’s catchphrase: “The future iscoming. Can you change it?”The plug was then mysteriously pulled on the project entirely and the team wasdisbanded. It was at this point that the players were first required to choose sides andlend support – a recurring theme of the game - through emails and blog posts playerswere able to discover the status of the team. Brackin is bitter over his removal from “hisproject”, while Foo has re-emerged and is citing foul play for his prior absence, claiminghe was locked in the server room by someone. He reveals that he still has a backdoor into the system and allows players to help him “hack the feed” in order to restorecommunications with the future.Not long after, Foo’s own Blog entitled “Foo-Defiant” emerged, as did more ambiguousmessages from the future which implicated both men as perhaps having ulterior motives, such as those from a new character: The enigmatic “Brother Theophilus”whose pirated video messages predicted doom and apocalypse in stark contrast to theseemingly idyllic Utopia of Deus City being portrayed in the official corporate messages.It was revealed through player inquests that Fujimoto was none other than the futureincarnation of Foo himself, and that there was significant evidence to suppose thatBrother Theophilus was none other than the future Incarnation of Brackin who preachedof a prophecy, a mysterious secret society which he called the “Sodality of Nostradamus,” and a folio written by Nostradamus’s apprentice “James Chavingy”which outlined the nuclear disaster and subsequent apocalyptic fall of civilization in2012 and the beginning of World War III, which was ironically caused by thecommunication from the future of 2042 being cut off inexplicably and a worldwide panicwhich followed it.Believing that the future could not be changed, and guided by the messages from hisfuture self, Brackin changed his name to “Brother Theo” and set off on a quest,doggedly pursued by the authorities and those who would seek to stop him fromreclaiming his technology, while through the help of players, Foo was able to wrestcontrol of the technology back for himself and start his own company, which hesomewhat fatalistically named “Defense-Corp” with the misguided intent of changing thefuture for the better of all. Meanwhile Brother Theo was tracked by players through aseries of clues left by him on his new blog as he found the first of a series of hiddenreal-world folio pages from the “Folio of Nostradamus,” until he was finally forced intohiding, where he did not emerge again except in vague passing for those enthusiasticplayers most loyal to him over the course of the game.Through his newfound corporate structure, and with help from the future, Foo is able togain a firm hold upon the Deus City interface and open the site to players for registrationas “temporal agents.” This marked the conclusion of the pre-game and the start of themain game on the deuscity.com homepage.From this point the narrative became less linear. Players were assigned a district inwhich to perform investigations and were able to go to virtual locations on the site based

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