From February to May of 2016, I played through the PC game XCOM 2. In the game, you lead small squads of soldiers in tactical missions to defeat alien invaders. If one of your soldiers dies during a mission, they’re gone for good.
Oh, and you get to name the soldiers.
Like everyone else who plays the game, I named my soldiers after my friends:
Unlike everyone else who plays the game, I sent absurdly elaborate email updates to my friends that detailed their in-game exploits. In addition to developing an internally consistent comedic narrative that featured ridiculous caricatures of my friends’ personalities (and GIFs!), these updates contained subtle clues to a mystery that my friends didn’t even realize I’d manufactured until I revealed it two thirds of the way through the story.
Here are a few small excerpts of work from the project: