As Fin du siècle grows in complexity, Scott agrees with Anna Gregoline's suggestion that it needs a reference site just to keep track of data, but he is too busy to write the whole thing himself. For once, he adopts a web fad in all seriousness, installing WikiMedia at his domain to run "FINcyclopedia," an interactive, player-edited reference site for all names and concepts in the RPG. Scott contributes content with what little time he has, and player Kris Weberg composes a lengthy article about his own character, but mostly the wiki lies dormant for weeks at a time, not unlike the game that inspired it.
A Birmingham mental hospital is the setting for a landmark moment in Fin du siècle, the first time a departed player returns to the game. Amir H. Sufyani had been written out for inactivity, but he misses the RPG, and he convinces Scott to give him another try on the condition that he has to explain in-character how his character was staying in a nuthouse. In the same post, the game gains another new player when Jeremiah Poisson creates a character from another dimension trapped on Earth with the group.
After more than a year of work from Scott, the site transforms again, this time at a new domain: goo.tc. Redesigned to allow for greater personal expression by members, the movie reviews can now be submitted by anyone, and there's a new section for member blogs, Exquisite Corpse. The new "memberrank" system makes the most prolific members the most prominent, and a "friends" feature shows who knows who and what your friends & family have been up to on the site lately. The colorful new design provides a real boost to the site, with a flurry of new activity and new members.
Even though Thorough Movie Reviews has been opened to member-submitted reviews instead of being an outlet exclusively for Scott's opinion of films, the feature gets little use: The only member-submitted review after launch is Aaron Shurtleff's favorable write-up about the Korean film Oasis. The lack of activity confirms Scott's suspicion that his idiosyncratic system for reviewing films would be too complex for other members to bother filling out, and he makes plans to simplify the process in hopes Aaron's review won't become the only one ever submitted.
In Exquisite Corpse, Scott blogs about his distrust of astrologists, psychics, hypnotists, and other services he calls "Normal Paranormal" after some local friends mention partaking of them. One of these friends, Denise Krecicki, emails Scott a long and thoughtful defense of the subject, especially acupuncture, chiropractic, and feng shui. The two discuss each other's points back and forth for weeks, gradually developing a mutual fondness. Their debating leads to dating, two friends become a couple, and once again real life is affected by what happens on the site.
A few days before the website's tenth anniversary, Scott launches a commemorative special feature with its own unique, horizontal page design: "The History of goo.tc" describes one hundred of the site's milestone events in chronological order, with a particular emphasis on the intersections between online and offline, or how activity on the site affects "real life" beyond the Internet and vice versa. To further the notion that it is a living history, Scott writes every paragraph in the present tense, and commits to adding ten more items each year thereafter on the site's late-October anniversary. Although the special page design eventually disappears and the content gets integrated into the rest of the site design, the feature lives on, and eventually there are as many items added on the subsequent anniversaries as in the original set.
Unable to give the game the attention that it needs to flourish, Scott retires Fin du siècle with a final end-of-the-road post. The characters disband their adventuring party, with further solo adventures and life stories wrapped up in summaries that satisfy their arcs, such as Kerry Gilhoulie exploring the Dark Continent, Nigel Hawthorne battling vampires in San Francisco, Wo Jin sacrificing himself to defeat a powerful monster, and Charles Collins winning a Pulitzer for his return to journalism. Though the game has lasted more than three years, and it didn't end with a campy New-Years-Day conversion to the year 1900, Scott is still disappointed that the game has reached a premature end. He promises himself that he'll revisit the setting in a future campaign someday, but not online.
November 26, 2000: Intrigued by a video game that lets you collect cards and play them in a 3x3 grid, Scott turns the rules around in his head until he feels compelled to make his own version. Read more...
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