Planned morning ambushes, surprise attacks, and intense chases have taken the average backyard Nerf battle to the next level. Today, more than 170 students are following tradition and taking part in the thrilling competition known as Paranoia.
Self-organized teams of four to six players are randomly matched up at the beginning of each week and work together to eliminate their opponents via Nerf guns. Whichever team ends the week with more eliminations will earn one point, losers receive no points and in the case of a tie, both teams gain half of a point.
With nobody stepping up to take initiative with Paranoia, senior Victor Kolcan took the reins for the class of 2018. “I set up a Facebook group and made excel sheets to keep track of the game. The last step was just getting teams to sign up through a Google form. I also had to make the rules for the game.”
A condensed summary of said rules are as follows:
- Games start on Monday at 12:01 AM, and end on Sunday at 11:59 PM.
- You may not eliminate anyone on school grounds and this includes the senior parking lot. You may also not eliminate anyone at work or at a house of worship. This includes when they are immediately leaving or entering said place.
- Only authorized NERF or NERF-like guns are permitted. This means no NERF footballs, swords, battle-axes, BB guns, paintball guns, real guns.
- There are no shields in this game.
- HONESTY is essential.
- Dead players are out of the game until the start of another round, and they are explicitly not allowed to eliminate members of the enemy team or act as shields/cover.
- You may not be be shot at during a school-sanctioned sporting event, home or away.
- Do not do anything illegal in this game. Be prepared to pay for the consequences of your actions.
- You are 100% not allowed to criminally trespass on someone’s property. DO NOT under any circumstances enter someone’s home without permission from a human member that resides in said household.
With the heated political climate, particularly around gun control policies, it is understandable why teachers or other community members may feel apprehensive of the games’ premise. An LFHS student states, “honestly, the game has many rules to avoid repercussions such as trespassing, along with many safe zones like churches, work, and school.” “I don’t think the emphasis on the game is really to shoot people, it’s more like tag than it is a shooting game.” adds senior Hadley Seymour.
Taylor Rapperport, a vital member of the team known as the Anchovies states, “It’s fun to plot against your friends and get super into it. There have been multiple times when a teammate would call us and say they were being ambushed and we’d all skrt over.”
Victor included, “My favorite part is all the highlights that players send in when they report an elimination. mostly because they’re usually very funny.”
“Kids these days” are constantly ridiculed for their lack of imagination and inactive sources of entertainment. Rather than choosing to run around outside and explore or ride a bike through town, teens will likely rely on screens to occupy their minds. However, thanks to the enthusiastic senior class, technology has been used to accomplish a level of teamwork and inclusiveness that has never before been possible. “I have played weekly games against people I don’t normally see or hang out with on a daily basis, and it really brings the class of ‘18 together.” said Hadley Seymour. With the availability of social media and shareable Excel and Word documents, Paranoia has had the ability to expand to not just a large group of friends, but a whole community of classmates, ultimately bringing the senior class of 2018 closer than ever before.