The Game

Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of playing The Game, a weekend-long puzzle-solving-scavenger-hunting-road-rally event. Game inventor Joe Belfiore described it as the "ultimate test for Renaissance men and women" and it certainly stretches the bounds of what one person can take, mentally and physically, over a weekend. Two good descriptions are from John Tippett here and from Snitch here. Wikipedia has an article entitled The Game as well.

Most of my Game experience has been in the Bay Area in various events from 1999 to the present. I usually captain Team Advil in those Games, but have also had the pleasure of playing other Games elsewhere in the country as well as other puzzle-type contests.

Several people have written good histories of the Game, especially John Tippett at A brief summary: Two Florida high school classmates, Mike Martin and Joe Belfiore, ran the first Games for their friends in Florida, inspired by the Michael J. Fox film "Midnight Madness". Joe came to Stanford as a freshman in 1986, and with his dormmates, ran the first "Bay Area Race Fantastique" (BARF) in 1987. Several BARFs followed, and when Joe went to Microsoft in the early 90's, the Game was now hosted in two locations. Persons in the Seattle area continued to run one Game per year, mostly in Seattle (Seattle GC site), and Stanford students continued to run Games in the Bay Area. Matthew Baldwin wrote a terrific three-part article (The Pre-Game Show, The Game is Afoot, and Endgame) based on his experiences in the Mooncurser's Handbook Game.

My first exposure to the Game was reading an article in the San Jose Mercury News about the Microsoft Game of 1997, "Thanatos Society". Determined to participate the next time such an event took place, I emailed every individual named in the article. Game organizer Kenny Young wrote back and said he wasn't sure who was planning the next one, but that he'd keep my name on file.

The next May, 9 days before the 1998 Game, I received an email from Todd Squire, captain of the Grey team, asking for additional members for his team to participate as an investor in a weekend planned by the Institute for the Study of Extra-Terrestrial Visitations in Los Angeles. I bought a ticket from Southwest and met Todd and the Grey team a week later at LAX, completely unsure what to expect.

Next stop ... my experience in ISETV.

John Owens | Game Home Page | Last updated .