The Festivus Games: A Worldwide Competition for Novice & Intermediate Competitors
The Festivus Games: A Worldwide Competition for Novice & Intermediate Competitors
FESTIVUS GAMES: A WORLDWIDE COMPETITION FOR NOVICE AND INTERMEDIATE CITIZENS
By Dan Savage
A few years ago I wrote a column called “Don’t Be That Guy” which was a plea not to be that guy who makes fun of someone else’s religion or sexual orientation. (And yes, I’m still not over it.)
But there are some things that just shouldn’t be joked about. Like the Festivus holiday — a celebration of non-conformity, which celebrates the idea that if everyone were like everybody else, nobody would have to do anything.
In fact, many people think that Festivus is a parody of Christianity — but it isn’t! It’s actually based on the ancient Roman festival known as Saturnalia. And while Christians don’t celebrate it anymore, they’re not alone in their love of all things non-conformist.
So why does the name “Festivus” sound so familiar?
Well, it turns out that the word comes from a real event. In 1856, a man named George Niedermeyer created a holiday called Festivus for his newspaper. (He later changed the name to “Niermann’s New Year’s Day.” It’s still around, I think. Maybe.)
The idea of the original newspaper’s “Festivus” was that there should be a national holiday in honor of the ordinary citizen. In fact, you might say that the true father of the holiday was an ordinary citizen himself. There’s nothing average or boring about this holiday, though.
Each year there is a Worldwide Competition for all the novices and intermediates out there. And this year, you are invited to compete.
But there’s a catch.
Each year, the Worldwide Competition is sponsored by a different region or nation. This year’s competition is being held in an area known as the “Terrascape.” The rules are simple: you must travel to this location and compete.
But the reason for the competition — and the rules of the competition itself — are decided upon by the host nation (or regions, in this case). In other words, nobody knows what to expect.
They do know that the competition will be different from what has been seen before at other competitions. This is, after all, a unique year.
And you’ve been chosen to compete.
Nobody knows who is sponsoring this year’s FESTIVUS GAMES, but you have your suspicions. All you know is that the Worldwide Competition is being held in “The Terrascape,” (whatever that may be).
THE WORLDWIDE COMPETITION This year’s Worldwide Competition will consist of a series of events taking place in The Terrascape. You will need to travel there and compete in the events. But the rules are still unknown.
Any information about the competition is located on the back half of this pamphlet.
THE TERRASCAPE The Terrascape is a massive canyon region, located just south of the Grand Canyon. It consists of a network of rugged mountain chains and deep canyons. From space, it looks like a giant skeleton, hence the name “Terrascape.”
THE EVENTS Here are the events that you will need to compete in. They will be held in different locations within The Terrascape. When you check into each location, you will receive further instructions.
You will have one hour to complete each event.
1. ASTRAL SUITABILITY This event will test your knowledge of astral matters.
You must correctly answer a series of questions pertaining to the Essence of Being, or astral energy. For every question you get right, you receive one point. There is a limit of nine points to this event.
2. AERIAL ACROBATICS You must scale a 1,000 foot gorge within a time limit of one hour.
You must also contend with patrolling guards.
3. RUNNING OF THE MOLES This event is similar to the Running of the Bulls in Spain, or the Running of the Deer in Ireland, only this running is done by moles and there is infinitely more at stake.
4. ULTRA VIOLET RAPTURE You must travel into the heart of a recently forming star and shut it down before you are turned into a pile of ash.
This part of the competition will take place in the Terrascape’s Sun.
5. MIND OVER MATTER This event will test your mental discipline.
You will attempt to complete a series of difficult tasks while a council of mystics attempts to read your thoughts and make you fail.
6. FLYING MAMMOTH RACE You must guide a flying mammoth racer around a tricky track within a time limit of one hour.
Competitors in this event will encounter hostile flying beasts along the way.
7. SOUND STAGE You are an extra in a movie.
The director is insisting that you cry on cue. He has been working on this film for years and can’t get the crying right. You must cry on cue to complete this event.
8. TIME FREE FALL This event will take place in the Terrascape’s Gravity Well, where time is dilated.
You will have 1 hour to free fall in a vacuum and reach terminal velocity before you reach the bottom of the Gravity Well within a time limit of one hour. It is suggested that you do not think about the fact that you are inside a giant hole filled with an ever-increasing amount of matter. The deeper you go, the harder you will have to work to resist the force of gravity.
9. WORLD Torso Encounters This event takes place in a chamber filled with strange creatures and a pool of water.
Some of these creatures are friendly. Some of these creatures are hostile. You must avoid the hostile creatures at all costs and touch one or more of the friendly creatures within a time limit of one hour.
10. TRAINING SIMULATOR This event takes place in a large domed room. On the other side of the room is a wide variety of switches and levers. Every switch or lever you pull or push will trigger a different event somewhere else in the Terrascape. Some of these events may help you. Others may help your opponents. You do not know what is a switch or a lever, what does what, or what will happen if you throw the switch. You must figure it out and push or pull the correct switch within a time limit of one hour. 11. THE BOILING POOLS This event takes place in a large domed room. There is a pool of scalding hot water at the center of the room. Surrounding that pool is a circle of icy cold water. There is a small platform encircling the pool at each degree of heat. You must reach the other side of the room within a time limit of one hour by traversing from platform to platform, but each platform is attached to the next by a chain that only supports a certain weight. Each competitor will be weighed before the start of the event; if your total weight exceeds that of the chain, you will fall into the scalding hot water below. Every second you spend on a chain platform will accrue more weight, and eventually the platform will give way. 12. TREACHEROUS TERRAIN This event takes place in a large domed room. There are many different types of terrain in this room, such as gravel, sand, grass, water, mud, ice, and more. Each competitor starts out on dry land with several objects and supplies scattered throughout the room. Some of these objects and supplies will be helpful. Some will not. You must collect as many supplies and objects as you can within a time limit of one hour. 13. HUNGER GAMES: REBEL BREAKOUT This event takes place in a large domed room. There are two grids of squares, one above the other, that make up the floor of the room. The top grid has an entryway in it, closed off by walls on all sides. The bottom grid has several entries closed off by walls on all sides. You will be placed in the top grid; your goal is to reach one of the entries in the bottom grid. Unfortunately, this room contains a large group of gaster troops and other monsters which will not make this task easy. The gaster troops are organized: each one patrols a specific area, and if they see you, they will attack. You must sneak about and move quietly while these patrols are elsewhere. If a gaster patrol encounters you, you will be unable to continue in the challenge.
Time Limit: 1 Hour
1. RANGE In this event, you will use a weapon of some sort to hit a target from a distance.
You may use any weapon available to you.
2. HUNTED In this event, you and several other competitors will be released into a large room with many hiding spots and places to navigate through.
Some of the other competitors are infected, and will go after the uninfected. You must avoid being infected, trapped, or killed.
3. OXYGEN In this event, you and several other competitors will be put into a special room.
After a period of time, an alarm will go off. After this alarm, you must run to one of the marked containers throughout the room and take a breath from it within 30 seconds. When you breath in from the container, a green gas will come out.
If you do not reach the container and breathe in the green gas, you will take damage.
4. SECRET In this event, you and several other competitors will be taken one at a time into a different room.
There, you will be shown a table with several items on it. You must choose one of these items and remember what it is. You will then be lead out of the room and asked a question.
Regardless of your answer, you will be brought back into the room with the items. You must then choose the item that you saw before from the same pile. If you pick the correct item, you will be able to continue.
5. STRENGTH In this event, you and several other competitors will be put into a large room with several objects spread around it.
You must pick up an item and kill everyone else with it in order to continue.
6. WATER In this event, you and several other competitors will be put into a large room.
This room has no floor, and is filled to the top with water. There are several small islands with items on them spread throughout the room. You must swim to one of these islands and claim the item there in order to continue.
7. FINALS In this last event, you and the final competitor left standing will compete against each other in one last event.
This event varies every year, and is different for each competitor.
The following are a list of events that the competitors may be chosen to participate in:
1. ENDURANCE In this event, you and several other competitors will have to hang from a bar and not let go.
The last competitor to not let go of the bar will be eliminated.
2. SPEED In this event, you and several other competitors will be put into a large room.
There are several doors in this room, but only one of them is unlocked. The objective is to get through the door before anyone else.
3. POWER In this event, you and several other competitors will be put into a large room with several items available to use as a weapon.
You must kill all of the other competitors with any means necessary in order to continue.
4. WITS In this event, you and several other competitors will be put into a large room with no light.
You must solve a puzzle in order to escape, but the solution may not be as obvious as it seems…
5. ENDURANCE PART 2 In this event, you and one other competitor will be hooked up to several IV’s of something.
One of you will be hooked up to something that will keep you awake. The other will be given something to make them fall asleep. If the person who is asleep falls asleep, they will be eliminated.
If the person who is awake falls asleep, they will be eliminated. If you are awake for a certain amount of time, you will be able to continue.
1. You may not injure, kill, give food, offer help with a task that would give you an advantage, or do anything else that may harm another competitor in any way.
2. You may not sabotage another competitor in any way.
That’s about it. The competition will begin in the morning. Good luck!
You walk into the building, where you are greeted by a large room. Standing around the room are several T.V’s, all hooked up to a central computer system.
All of them are paused at a specific time, all of which show a face. Each picture fades out as another one is given light, and another face takes its place. Each time their face fades in and the others fade out, you can hear a short clip of a voice.
“Ali Saad, age 27, criminal record for assault and armed robbery. Lives at home with parents.”
“Karla James, age 19, Student at Ancora College. Was arrested for drug posession two years ago.”
“Peter O’Neill, age 46, arrested three times for assault. Unemployed.”
“Matthew Thompson, age 23, works at grocery store. No police record.”
You stand there, watching as the different faces fade in and out, some last longer than others before either their picture fades or another one comes into focus.
The woman who entered with you stands next to you.
What is this place?”
You ask her.
“This is the Task Force headquarters.” She responds calmly.
What’s the Task Force?”
“It’s a branch of local law enforcement that isn’t quite legal. We’re responsible for finding and capturing the State’s most wanted. To do this, we employ various tactics, including some that may put us at odds with the law.”
Who are you?”
“Sergeant Alice Drake, in charge of the Arson Squad of the Task Force. You must be new.” She says, finally turning to look at you.
The image of a man with a pale face and red, hollow eyes appears on one of the many screens.
“This… is the Pale Man.
He’s suspected to be behind several arsons in the city over the past few years. He’s very dangerous. Our operation is to find him, capture him, and put him away for good.”
You turn your attention back to the screens as they each start to show images of people, each seeming to fit a specific theme.
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