Players,

Welcome to the crucible of equality. I’d explain further, but any of you familiar with manga, young adult fiction, or the Waltons’ private island already get the general idea. That said, this year’s socially resonant death game is a little different.

Prior games turned early childhood into horror. We’ve grown tired of that. Finding satirical torment in hopscotch takes effort better spent on more torment. As things stand, Squares spend half their working hours checking playground footage for reflections of capitalism. After Ring Around the Rosie and Monopoly, it’s a writers’ room nightmare.

Going forward, we’ll tap into the pre-made horror of adolescence. A time the healthiest among you have repressed. To survive, you must relive the years that destroyed your lives to begin with.

The first game is Penis. You will take turns saying “penis.” Players quieter than the previous “penis” die. Players overheard by a guard die. Players that fail to say “penis” die.

The second game is Halo: Combat Evolved. First, you will receive a used game console, a laggy dial-up connection, and a controller missing two buttons. Then you must shoot another player, crouch above them, and call them the n-word. Players that fail to do so die. Players that are killed, crouched above, and called the n-word die. Players that use the Needler die.

The third game is Loitering Behind Dunkin Donuts. It takes place behind Dunkin Donuts. To advance, you must successfully inhale three whip-its to impress a blonde neighbor. Players that hesitate die. Players that pass out before their third whip-it die. Players that cry after learning their blonde neighbor has a boyfriend die.

Then we’re doing the prison riot again. That’s a classic. Instead of a food shortage, we’ll spark conflict with the tactical release of past texts. For example, Player 213 may wish to know that Player 77 thinks they are “a dumb bitch with a dumb bitch face.” And Player 141 agrees. Unrelatedly, the controllers from the second game are easily broken and sharpened into shivs.

The fourth game is the Standardized Aptitude Test, or SAT. After three rounds of gaming and substance abuse—in your case, whip-its—you will now answer questions designed to elevate the wealthy. This year’s reading passages are drawn directly from Exeter Academy bookshelves. Players below the median score die. Players caught cheating die. Players that take the ACT instead die. Any player that finds the detective or secret agent that inevitably infiltrates the island receives a private tutor.

The fifth game is The Common Application. You will complete an essay on what the first four games have taught you. Players with a typo die. Players with essays over 650 words die. Players without community service experience die. Players that reference the prison riot, which is spiritually a game but not technically a game, die.

The sixth game is Admissions. Guards will review materials from the fourth and fifth game, and discard them. Then legacies, athletes, and one player from each ethnicity may continue. Players unwilling to take a loan die. Players that fail to pay off their loan die. Players that pay off their loan may leave, live in squalor, and then die.

As for prize money, that’s for earlier generations of the game. The excess of past payouts and celebrations have left nothing for you. Except, of course, for the debt factored into winners’ loans.

Begin.


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