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The 9 Wonders of Perdita

Visual Novel Meets 90s era FMVs

You play as Maxwell Bradley, a young content creator trying to make it big on the internet. Maxwell’s YouTube page isn’t looking too bad, although a meager 1,000 followers is hardly what he’d call an internet empire. His content? True crime, urban myths, conspiracy theories, things that are all the rage with today’s youth. The only problem is that all the good stories have been covered already, and he needs something new. That’s when he catches wind of a town called Perdita and its so-called 9 Wonders: a series of urban myths plaguing the town and each one ripe for discussion. Braving the three-hour trek into the desert and travelling through the mountains and into the crater called Perdita, Maxwell takes to interviewing the locals, filming views and important locations, and just trying to get as much content as he can before returning to the editing room. Most of the “wonders” are anything but; a spot in the valley where compasses don’t work, the sun rising and falling in different places each day, shadows of fish appearing in the sand, most of them he guesses are nothing more than the desperate ramblings of a town on its last legs. With the footage shot, he packs up and heads for home, only to find that the way out of the valley has vanished. In fact, everything besides the valley has vanished. Trapped, Maxwell must find a way out amidst the wonders becoming frighteningly real and a distant rumbling looms ever closer.


Part of Sean's senior project at UCSD, The 9 Wonders of Perdita is a project with an emphasis on narrative. Presented as a visual novel, 9 Wonders will appeal to fans of horror and literature, as well as those with a soft spot for old video game FMVs. 



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Cover Design Prototype

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The 4th Wonder: Shadowy Fish

According to the legend, the shadows of swimming fish will

appear in the desert. There is nothing that appears to be casting the shadows. Reports state that the shadow lazily swims about, before eventually fading away. Many liken the movement to crawling, and judging by the lobed fins, there is speculation the shadow belongs to a Coelacanth or any other lobe-finned fish. Number of fish vary, with most only reporting one, but another story claims three manifested at once. The image to the right was taken by a tourist sometime in the Spring of 2017. The owner of the image claims to have not seen the shadow.

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The 5th Wonder:
Perdita's Lights

If you go camping in Perdita’s wilderness, there’s a chance you may end up seeing mysterious lights up in the mountains. Probably the wonder with the second most number of sightings, just about everyone I’ve talked to here has seen the lights. According to them, the lights, while not overly bright, are noticeable, like stars embedded in the mountains. 

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The 6th Wonder: 
Talking Vulture

Daniel Rodriguez was a mail carrier who passed into Perdita one sunny Tuesday afternoon to drop off that week’s packages. It was business as usual. There aren’t many people who live in the valley, so it was a quick trip. After delivering the last package, he looked down at his phone, and heard a voice call to him from up above. Startled, he looked up, only to find a turkey vulture standing atop his mail truck. According to Daniel, the bird asked him what time it was in perfect english, and before that, he very clearly heard it say “hello”. At the time, he thought someone was playing an elaborate joke on him, and if this had been the only incident, he might’ve been right. Only, Daniel wasn’t the only person who allegedly came face to face with a talking vulture. Susan Smith, a longtime resident of Perdita, claims that a turkey vulture was perched outside her living room window, asking to be let in. There are at least four other stories like this, and with a town as sparsely populated, and visited, as Perdita, it raises some suspicions.

The 8th Wonder:
V.V. Sinclair

If one were to tune into Perdita's local television signals, there's a fair chance they may catch a glimpse of An Evening with V.V. Sinclair, a program broadcasting exclusively within the valley. Hosted by V.V., the show is presented like a late night show. The content is largely nonsense, with V.V. speaking to nonexistent guests and free-associating anything that sounds like it belongs on a TV show. The program has no set schedule and can appear on any channel, but the greatest chance of seeing the show are between the hours of 4:00 and 9:00 PM (PST). The exclusivity of the program implies that the show is being broadcast from within Perdita, though nobody has figured out where and not a single resident has seen V.V. himself. 

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The 9th Wonder:Daghayo

The most illusive of Peridta's nine wonders, the Daghayo is the colloquial name given to a humanoid creature said to wander the desert at night. The origin and meaning of the name is not known. Stories vary, but the most consistent feature attributed to the creature's presence is a harsh stench. Reports claim that the being is capable of changing its shape, taking on the likeness of a deer, albeit with some alarming attributes to distinguish it from the original animal (it is also interesting to note that deer are not native to Perdita). People claim that the entity often goes through people's belongings and trash, with one man even blaming it for the appearance of a scarecrow in his front yard wearing his stolen clothing. That same man, who was the first to offer any kind of description of the Daghayo, also provided a sketch of the creature, which he says stood outside his house for nearly twenty minutes. Aside from this, I've found scarce evidence of its existence. Even the mere mention of it to locals seems taboo. 

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April Trip to the Desert!

Most of the images for the visual novel have been acquired! For a few days, I went out into Borrego Valley with a point and shoot camera and snagged a couple of great pics. These will be the majority of the backgrounds used for the text portions of the visual novel!


(A vulture named Crow?)

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The engine I'm using, Ren'py, utilizes the python coding language. The quirks of the software are intuitive. The majority of the work comes from editing and inserting photos into the software.

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More Updates to Come, Stay Tuned! 

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