Before I get started, let me just say that, no; the title of this post does not refer to videogames.
It doesn’t refer to board games, sports, or manly shit like Jenga; but rather it refers to the pop culture game that we play at work, henceforth referred to as “The Game.”
For those that are unaware, “The Game” is something we play in the warehouse wherein one person names a fictional character, any fictional character; and the other player responds by citing the name of another fictional character whose name begins with the last letter in the name of the previous mentioned character.
Generally, “The Game” isn’t played to be “won,” rather the objective is to simply keep the game going to stave off boredom.
Despite this, some players choose their “moves” strategically in the hopes of stumping their opponents.
Examples of said tactics are the intentional use of characters whose names end in tricky letters like O, or uncommon ones like X.
Personally, I play by instinct, saying whatever comes to mind; but like I said, there are many ways to play “The Game.”
Anyway, today I engaged in an epic 1-on-1 duel with a coworker, the likes of which I have never encountered up to this point.
We were almost evenly matched, though in all honesty; I’m pretty sure he would’ve beat me if we kept it up long enough.
Because of my opponent’s unfamiliarity with those characters, I took it upon myself to refrain from using them, as I felt it would seem sketchy to constantly cite characters who, in the eyes of my opponent; may as well be bullshit.
This time though, my opponent was extremely well-versed in Japanese pop culture, in fact much more so than myself given his vast breadth of anime character knowledge.
Curiously enough, a huge number of the characters he “played” were actually historical figures of the Sengoku era of Japanese history, all of whom make appearances in videogames like Onimusha and the Sengoku Basara series.
While this doesn’t seem like that big a deal, the reason I feel the need to mention this, is the fact that Japanese names totally change the dynamic of “The Game.”
You see, throughout every other match I’ve played previously, the most common letters played on was N.
O’s, X’s, and N’s are traditionally regarded as the most difficult letters to work from, making N a particularly powerful letter in “The Game.”
The thing with Japanese names that makes them so interesting when incorporated into “The Game” however, is the fact that Japanese names frequently end with A’s, I’s and O’s.
Think about that for a minute, how many O’s or I’s do you know?
That’s what I thought.
A huge factor in how “The Game” works, is that players often acquire additions to their “repertoire” through copying the citations of players from previous matches.
Now imagine you’re involved in an epic, 5 hour match; only to find that many of your go-to characters are now irrelevant given the fact their letters never seem to come up.
You read right, 5 fuckin’ hours.
The match was fun for the first few hours, however by the homestretch both my opponent and I were absolutely beat to shit.
Seriously, working an 10 hour day of overtime in a warehouse is enough to wipe me out on it’s own, but that coupled with 5 hours of tearing through the recesses of your mind for one last fuckin’ O name is enough to drive you nuts.
And wouldn’t you know it, that’s just about the truth of what happened to me on the car ride home.
You see, after playing the game for so long, and with such intensity; my thoughts somehow tuned themselves to work from that pattern.
Words, letters, and names from the radio, billboards, and even license plates all caused me to automatically start searching the recesses of my mind for names that began with the same letter they ended with.
I wasn’t trying to do it, it just sort of happened.
It lasted about an hour, and given that my thoughts were somehow working beyond my control; I found myself a little freaked out over it.
Believe me when I say this, the Azn Badger is not one to lose control of himself.
That being said, I don’t see myself playing “The Game” against that guy, for a good long while.
Maybe I’ll play the movie/TV show/videogame title variant of it instead, that’d probably be less strenuous.
Anyway, consider this a cautionary tale for those who might play “The Game” in the future.
Let it be known, too much dorkiness and pop culture will rot your brain…