Trafficville – full draft written; time to let it sit

Finished first full draft of Trafficville- dystopian cyberpunk fiction re gaming, social media and so on; it is 24,600 words, give or take. Probably merde – I’ll follow Mr. Hemingway’s advice and let it sit in my cyber kitchen drawer for a couple of weeks before I have another look.

The final chapter reads:

Chapter Forty-Three

Q and A


So here’s a sampling of key Q and A we here at Phantom have dealt with during the beta trial and first three weeks of full release (English version only). Feel free to send us more – remember; this game works best with your interactions built in.


Q from Randy in Dallas… If this is meant to be so American I don’t get how come there are no African-Americans in here?

A: I guess you just never played any bits of Trafficville with Benny Goodman, who is Normans’ best friend. He’s just one (the main one) of 17 African American characters written into the mainframe of Trafficville, and he gets a Hispanic girlfriend. Can’t get much more Yankee-doodle than that.

Surely you must have seen at least one darker than average character at some time while you played Trafficville! And no, we didn’t have the police force round them all up, nor shoot them, though that was one reality we did contemplate. Benny does get mobbed by rogue police. We didn’t put that one in – that was outside players messing with the program; we love that Trafficville can take on a life of its own.

Q from Sissy in Duluth Minnesota… How come Adolf Hitler got into the plot; I mean, that was a bit weird?

A: That actually came through one of our beta players and we were as surprised as you to see him walking down Merrie Yngland Drive. But we let it run and it worked out as a game, didn’t it? Had to have good old Norman climb the clock tower, didn’t we, to re-set. Who’d have thought we’d get that lesson in – how easy it is to become a Nazi. We liked what the game taught us with this one.

Q from Wayne in NY… I felt like the game got out of control sometimes; I mean I felt like I was just reacting, not in charge. Was that intentional?

A: Yes, and no. We’ve written so many possible pathways into this (and the lightspeed tech means they’ll run at a natural pace) that we knew the game offered stuff we hadn’t even thought of; it was meant to be like life, after all, unpredictable. We just didn’t know how life-like it could be.

I guess if you’re a real control freak that might get a bit much – but most of our feedback has been that players love that the game doesn’t repeat itself… It is good to just go with the flow… 


Having fun with satire…

I have gotten right into the writing of Trafficville ~ USA… the joy of simply putting words down on paper and damn the critic and editor who sits on your right subconscious shoulder… That will come later.

Another taste: (comments welcome)

Part I: Beta

Chapter One

Report glitches



 (All character names and bios copyright Phantom Gaming Co.)

[Image from; needs to be modified, as not a creative commons image.]

Read [icon]  or listen to  [icon] this text:

Characters do not define nor control your actions in the game. You define theirs!  But all characters require, of course, a foundation matrix. In a way, you’re their daddy or mummy; you make them but genetics (or at least our base programming) has had a bit of a say in what you can do with them…

          Call it engineered biology – and if this sounds like too much crap and “Hey man, we just want to get on with the game”, well, we’re with you. Go ahead and play ~ what you can and can’t do with the characters will become obvious… But hey, if it feels like you’re a god, well I guess we can proudly say we sort of agree with you too.

          So check out the characters below – and play with them. Select characters by tapping screen or with fixed stare and blink on name.

[Insert game play character table…]

What you do with your character[s] is up to you…

Some basic rules:

  • You may select to be only one character at a time.
  • Game play continues with chosen character unless that character perishes (at which time your game score reverts to zero). Or if game reset.
  • Character accrues points via rewards but rewards vary according to character. Basic reward categories are programmed into each character – players actions will determine rewards. Scores may be checked by checking out a book in the library.
  • Complete reset overrides game – all characters and storylines revert to default settings.

SIMPLE RULE – avoid resetting.

The ultimate reward is to take control of the life of your character – rewrite the programming…

*MENU selected via user control; the interactivity of the programming allows the user to determine how the menu is pulled up; this is one of the key interactive features of the game. Users will work out – INTUITIVELY – their own way[s] of opening menu commands.


Autorun  + reset

 (Can be reactivated by climbing the clock tower, or by petting Ms Manx’s dog.)


Awaken and watch.

Demonstration module 1 begins.

A window slides open; the sun is warm and bees hum. The world looks good.

Blink and you are somewhere else…


Two boys enter an empty room


     Richo Novian-Smith gently pressed the self-adhesive wireless receivers to his temples and near the corners of his mouth. He lifted his shirt and pressed some more onto his chest, just above his nipples and then, quite deliberately, slipped his hand down the front of his boxers. ‘You put ’em here too,’ he said. “You’ll find out why…It’s worth it.’  He slid up the leg of his pants and placed one on each calf. His feet were bare and he placed and pressed one tab atop each foot, just behind the toe bones.

     He gave a pack of wireless tabs to Evan Butler. He watched him put them on. Then Richo slid the new, long-awaited disk into his Phantom Game Machine. Auto-run engaged and, with the sound of a cruise missile’s launch, the game burst in upon the room…


     And you’re playing.


     Stars rush at you, a city assembles, hover cars whiz and buildings materialize. Trees, buses, prams, people of all ages appear – a whirling concoction that asks you to look here first, then there, then there and there and here and you haven’t time to speak or think. And at last it is all there before you…

Then you are back in the room.


     ‘Dude… Cool.’ Evan Butler said. He was – he thought – Richo’s best friend of Richo, and Richo was the richest boy in uptown Trafficville. He was so uptown he wasn’t really there. He had private tutors and didn’t really belong. Somehow, Evan wasn’t quite sure by what means, he’d been pulled into Richo’s world.

     He knew what he had to say now. And so he said cool. And Richo liked to be called dude.


     A 3 D boy walked across the wall. There was no town or confection of people and buses, just the boy. He looked nerdy.

     ‘My name’s Norman…’


     ‘Shit no,’ Richo said. The boy froze. ‘He’s for a fiery chair.’

     Evan laughed. In an earlier incarnation of the game he remembered how Richo had one day set a SIM down in a chair. The dude was smoking.  The chair suddenly burst into flame. Richo hooted.

     The fiery chair became Richo’s great game; he’d build up characters and then burn them up. Richo always did it in a chair. First he made the ordinary house they lived in, then he made the character, then he gave them dumb jobs and mousy girlfriends or nerdy boyfriends (or no boyfriend at all). He gave them bosses that were nasty. They were never bosses themselves. Then something happened and they decided to kill themselves. Usually it was that their girl dumped them or they lost their job or their folks did and they got poor. Richo figured things couldn’t get much worse than that. He always had an overstuffed chair – like the one Richo said he hated at his even richer grandparents’ house – in these poor sap’s houses. It was their aspiration to wealth. They sat down and lit a cigarette (the manufacturers claimed it was real) then somehow the chair would just erupt in flames.

     Richo whispered be gone – did something with his hand. Evan wasn’t sure what. Norman simply dissipated. The room was empty, then…

     She walked in, every teenage boys’ dream. She smiled right at Evan, flicked a blonde tendril away from an eye, and…



     ‘That’s more like it.’

     Evan briefly resented the fact that Richo hadn’t even let her speak before taking control. He was moving his hands and somehow enlarging her breasts, dropping the neckline on the Angora sweater she wore. Evan figured her breasts were perfectly fine the way God or at least the default makers had made them but hey, it wasn’t his game.

     Evan was intrigued. ‘How are you doing that?’


     ‘Are you satisfied with your changes?’ the teenage, drop-dead-hot girl asked them. They both just looked for a while.

     ‘You bet,’ Richo finally said.

     The girl winked at them.


     ‘See,’ said Richo, ‘it responds to my voice.’

     ‘You’re gorgeous,’ Richo told the girl.


     ‘My name is Jenny Sweet,’ she said. She wore a winsome smile. She said nothing more. Boys talked to her, not the other way around. She was simply waiting, not frozen now, just marking time.

     ‘You ain’t seen one percent of what this game can do,’ Richo said. ‘I got my Dad to buy the sales promotion DHT…’


     You know. That new Direct Hologram Technologies© stuff. Anyway I watched all the simulation stuff. This is awesome. It’s got a pre generated story chip with over 200,000 variations in it and there’s a pre-built cast of over 30 characters. And it fits in with your life – I mean, you enter all this information about yourself and stuff, by voice direct you know, so there’s none of that typing shit and the story simulations are for whatever and wherever you want them. But that ain’t the best bit. You can choose different options for the characters and actually rework parts of the story. And then you can save them to the story chip, which has got room for another 300,000 or so variations. And you can build a library of story chip stuff and have them interact.’

     ‘Like the SIMS.’

     ‘Shit no; it’s a hell of a lot better than that. I mean, there’s stories in here and the characters look like they act without you. You have the chance to watch what they do, like a movie, and then you get a chance to change what happens. And you get to play with the character’s lives and, you know, like I just did – you can change them.’


     ‘Yeah. You know, like I reckon that nerdy one, I’m gonna make his life a misery… Then he’ll just want that chair.’

    Evan ventured an opinion, a favourable one. ‘The graphics are way cool.’ He pointed at the girl on the wall screen. She had taken a seat, which had somehow materialised in the cream coloured room she inhabited. And was that pot plant new? Evan couldn’t remember if the room had looked quite like that before. ‘She’s hot.’

     ‘Yeah,’ Richo said. ‘I wouldn’t say no. That’s what these tabs are for’

     He waved his hand again…


We all whirled into the space within his eye’s iris… And we’re all playing.