Gaming the Game

SB: How many times did you show up, during the game and after?

CELIA: Several in the first month, and then I was getting banned from the IRC chat room, instantly. I mean, people HATED celia. I couldn't last a minute. I think I checked in again in October 2001.

SB: Yes. They'd decided you were just a troll.

CELIA: Right, a troll! But it really was funny. Here's one thing that I know I did, which may have been logged somewhere. I made a real trip to D.C. in June 2001, and I gave my flight numbers to someone in the chat room. There were some that would still get excited receiving chats from me.

SB: Did you tell them they were flight numbers?

CELIA: Yep, this was in the part of the game where we were trying to figure out where the slave auctions were. So, i provided my flight info and said that was my only clue. I think after October 2001 — I logged in maybe in December 2001, around the Fellowship of the Ring premiere. And then in February/March 2002. Then it was a long lull until last August and once more in November/December 2002. And now i'm here again, to celebrate my anniversary.

SB: So you were playing along too?

CELIA: Of course!

SB: Did you lurk or participate on the Cloudmakers list?

CELIA: No! Absolutely not! I didn't want to be traced easily. However, I knew I couldn't fool people forever. My 'curve balls' were becoming notorious — and when they wouldn't add up — well, my ruse was fading. I think I jumped the shark when I tried to lead everyone to some capitals in Europe.

SB: But why the ruse in the first place? Were you hoping the PMs would pick up on it or did you just enjoy screwing with people?

CELIA: I think they did pick up on it, and borrowed my creativity. I gave them a scapegoat.

SB: How did they scapegoat you?

CELIA: Let's see …you have hundreds of people participating in a highly innovative marketing project to promote a movie. There are soooooo many layers: Kubrick's last film; Spielberg picks up the loose ends, uses the 'Net to create a 'virtual real world' to actually feel apart of the movie's atmosphere. When the ball started gaining speed, it was almost a frenzy. Who is Janine Salla? What are Mechas? Did you get that phone call? Because of the loose parameters of the Internet — who could you believe? What sources could you trust? So, I just made up this little character to throw everyone off–

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