Greendale is the setting of the on-again, off-again Teenagers From Outer Space campaign that I ran for almost a decade on io.com and the Illuminati BBS before it, starting back in 1988 or thereabouts. (Someday I may well start it up again, but who knows?) Given the freeform nature of TFOS, the following is about all the background (outside of the rules) that you would really need to know to play. However, this is more of a historical archive for the old game than a "help page" for a live one.
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If you're interested in how the game progressed over the years, transcripts are available.
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A quiet (sort of) little town in an unnamed eastern state, Greendale sits on the intersection of Interstate 972 (running east-west) and State Highway 101 (north-south). Its location has led it to prosper in recent years, and this formerly bucolic burg now numbers at least 15,000 humans and aliens in its population.
Greendale sits south of a chain of respectable mountains, which decline into gentle foothills before flattening completely into what was until recently farmland. Route 101 north heads straight into the mountains and through them, arriving at the big City some two hours hence (if you travel at the speed limit). To the east, Route 972 soon takes you to the Atlantic Ocean, and deposits you in the shore town of Seaside, almost world-famous for its boardwalks, arcades, and amusement piers. Westbound 972 brings you to the Mall before heading towards parts unknown. To the south, 101 winds about the large lake that marks the town's lower border, before heading to the furthest reaches of the state.
The town itself is roughly a rectangle, three or so times as long east to west as it is north to south. The west-most third of the town is known as the "wrong side of the tracks", a near-ghetto that isn't as bad as it could be because this is a happy and carefree game. The rest of the rectangle is middle-class housing, with a business district that runs along a strip of streets bounded to the west by Rte. 101, to the east by the edge of town, and extending about three blocks to either side of 972.
The town isn't a perfect rectangle. Wrapping around the east side of the Lake are a large number of estates and high-priced condos, the homes of the people who have made a lot of money with the high-tech industries that displaced the farmers who used to live in this area. This area extends southward far enough to make the shape of the town something like a capital "F" turned on its side.
There is a beach wrapping around the north and west shores of the Lake.
Public Transportation: There are, of course, the requisite bus routes, with stops every few blocks. In addition, the City Special Express train line has a station here. This line, which carries commuter and tourist traffic, serves the City to the north, and the Other City to the south. It stops in Greendale every half hour from 6 AM to 9 AM and 3 PM to 6 PM, every two hours from 12 midnight to 6 AM, and hourly all other times. The first stop on the southbound train is Ivyton (see below).
The town is large enough to merit several high schools. Warren Harding High School is in the middle of the "wrong side of the tracks". A Catholic school, St. Vitus' Parochial High School, is located in the east end of town. (Strangely enough, no few aliens are enrolled at St. Vite's, although it is an odd sight to see a hundred-legged octopoidal creature wearing a school uniform that doesn't seem to be able to figure out just what to cover to be modest.)
Just at the north edge of the estates and condos is an exclusive (read "bigoted") private school: The Petty School, named for G. Gaul Petty, founder of both Petty Aerospace Enterprises and the school. Its motto is "A Bastion of Learning in a Dirty and Debased World". Although it is allegedly open to all, it is the only school with an all-human student body. Petty students tend to be rich snobs, obnoxious and, um, petty. Academically, though, it is one of the best schools on the east coast.
All players are students at the fourth school in Greendale: Kefauver Central High School. Located five blocks north of 972 just off of Rte. 101, Kefauver is centrally located and convenient to the business district as well as most middle-class housing. It is doing surprisingly well in recent years, since the famous quadrillionaire Aaram Silvergold decided to send his daughter Tanya there; the resulting influx of money has made it one of the best-equipped and -staffed high schools on the east coast.
Kefauver and Petty have a standing rivalry, which has intensified since Kefauver's academic rating and endowment have begun to approach those of the Petty School.
Warren Harding High School: Hyenas
St. Vitus' Parochial High School: Cardinals
The Petty School: The Buffaloes
Kefauver Central High School: The Hawks
Places of Interest
In Town:The Lake: The lake is large, ideal for swimming and boating. Its north shore is rimmed with a broad, sandy beach. Several large islands (wooded with central clearings) are found in the center. A dirt road extending off 101 South wraps around the bottom edge of the lake and leads to a small bluff overlooking the water -- a favorite parking place for Petty students out on dates.
Greasy Tony's: It looks like it was built in 1949, but it actually was put up in 1972. All stainless steel, glass and aqua-colored formica, it has a strong Fifties feel to it. There really is a Tony, who nearly single-handedly runs the joint; he serves cheesesteaks, burgers, ice cream, fries, and all the other daily requirements of teenage nutrition. The menu proudly states "No Charge For Extra Grease". (Greasy Tony's, by the way, was once a real place near Rutgers University in New Jersey, and this is an exactly accurate description of it; it was torn down in early 1994 and a dorm was built on its site. It deserves to be in a TFOS game.)
Update, 31 March 2002: Greasy Tony's Lives! I have just found out that the owner of Greasy Tony's movied to Tucson, Arizona and opened up a new Greay Tony's there (at 828 East Speedway Boulevard) -- and later, a sister restaurant in Tempe (at 921 East University Drive). Google "Greasy Tony's" for almost twenty pages of links with references to either the old place in New Brunswick or the new places in Arizona -- including, believe it or not, at least two cameo appearances in some X-Files fan fiction! You can see a picture of the new Greasy Tony's sign (at least) here.
Further update, 10 July 2008: Two pieces of bad news: First, the Tempe location was closed and sold in 2007. Second, Greasy Tony himself, Tony Giorgianni, died on 28 May 2008 of a heart attack. You can see his obituary from the Tuscon Citizen here.
Jake's Junkyard: At the west end of town. Jake Singer, who owns the place, knows some of the player characters. His son Mike, who goes to the Petty School on scholarship, is an ally/friend of several of the player characters.
Fonzo's Pizza: Pizza so good that Fonzo's got five alien apprentices. The sight of at least one interesting shootout so far in the game. Fonzo is known to keep a goop gun under his counter in case the customers get rowdy.
"Beyernstein's One-Stop Pop Shop": A frozen popsicle parlor which boasts 1,373 different popsicle flavors ("No Artificial Additives!") that range from "Watermelon Lime" through "Coconut Chocolate Maple-Syrup Mint" and on to "Tropicana Wouldn't Touch This With A Toxic Waste Containment Team".
Other spots: McDoggies. The Intergalactic House of Pancakes. Lahiere's, a snooty French restaurant. The Phone Company. The local movie theatres (including one still-functional drive-in). Honest Eddie's Used Cars. Woofer's Hi-Fi Shed. Odd Job Trading -- Close-outs, Overstocks, and just plain junk from everywhere across the globe and then some. Four down-home-style alien restaurants. Pablo's Cajun Sushi Bar and Hominy House. Seventeen different high-tech industries. The Greendale Crier ("One of America's Newspapers"). A branch of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, keeping watch for illegal aliens. And, of course, the ACO headquarters.
Outside of Town:White Snows: A state park with some of the best ski slopes in the state, White Snows is situated in the mountains, some ten miles west of Rte 101 north. Recent additions of alien weather-control technology have allowed White Snows to remain open and operating the whole year 'round.
Ivyton: A small, cloistered surburban town, very calm and peaceful. Right in the middle of it is the University, home to more mad scientists and goofy grad students per square inch than anywhere else on the east coast. Site of North America's foremost (and most dangerous) experiments in nuclear fusion, antimatter conversion, artificial intelligence and avant-garde cuisine. 45 minutes away from Greendale by car, 30 by train.
Deadman's Curve: While not the sharpest curve on Rte. 101 as it climbs into the mountains, it is no doubt the most dangerous. A cable and girder guardrail is all that stands between the road and a six-hundred-foot plunge off the side of Wildcat Mountain. It's posted as a 25MPH zone. Yeah, right.
Cooper's Woods: Starting outside the northeast corner of town, extending eastward north of 972, and going northward around the end of the mountains is Cooper's Woods. A convenient forested area in land that is mostly ex-farms, it provides useful cover and hiding places. There might be anything in there, from secret labs to time-warped dinosaurs. It's also a great place to go at the end of a date...
The WTFS radio station and transmitters, off to the northwest.
The Old Franklin Place: A reputedly haunted house at the top of a hill overlooking the road to WTFS.
Lover's Lane: This road branches off 101 shortly before Deadman's Curve and leads to the single best scenic outlook in the mountains: Lover's Point (or Leap, depending on whether you've just broken up or not).
The Mall: If the combined presence of capitalism and consumerism could generate gravitational fields, this huge complex would have long ago collapsed into a quantum black hole. The Mall is always in flux; there is always something new or rebuilt since the last time you visited. Each time you see it, it's like seeing it for the first time. The most recent time PCs got to it, it was a huge, three-lobed structure covering the area of eight or ten football stadiums, with individual sections towering six and seven stories. Twenty-foot plastic letters proclaimed "SEARS" at one end, "MACY'S" at another, and "COSMICINEMA 42-PLEX" at the third wing. A two-hundred-foot geodesic dome of shining, transparent plasteel roofed over its central hub.
But be warned... the Mall is never the same twice...