The Halloween edition of sf0’s “Journey to the End of the Night” had a massive turn out. Well over 600 people showed up to play. There isn’t a final count as we ran out of waivers and maps for everyone and only 600 of those were printed. But regardless of the limitations, the getting kicked out of venues, and other hiccups, everyone had a great time. And I have to point out the best description of the event (via ombwah): At one point whilst ombwah was pouncing on a fleeing rabbit. A police officer asked me.. ” whats this, a Jump into the street and Die game?
Rather than playing in this dangerous game of dodge traffic and chasers, I spent the evening being one of those chasers to dodge and helping out at Checkpoint 3 (yes the one where we got kicked out of the garage). What follows is my proof submitted to sf0 (photos are also up on flickr as usual):
My evening started late as I scrambled to turn a briefcase into a backpack using only climbing rope and a carabiner. Success finally and I jumped on my bike to race down to Justin Herman Plaza, where a small group of eager players was already forming 30 minutes prior to the actual meeting time. I rolled around the corner to meet up with my fellow chasers. We were briefed, tied on pink ribbons, made plans and then disappeared into the night to stake out good places to ambush players.
Dressed in my white slacks, white jacket, and baby blue t-shirt I looked like an old vice squad officer on vacation from Miami. The nondescript black briefcase that looked like it could be either holding drugs, large sums of money, or divorce papers was a nice addition. Inside the briefcase was 2kg of candy, a pink ribbon, and a video camera. The plan was to pop open the briefcase in front of players and watch them scatter. That was the plan at least.
I locked up my bike and started wandering the streets, briefcase in tow. The first few players I encountered didn’t quite get it. I popped the briefcase, asked if they wanted any candy, they said “no thanks” and just continued walking to Checkpoint 1. One player did go for the offer of candy. After asking about any illegal additives, he reached into the briefcase, brushing the pink ribbon aside, grabbed some candy, said “thanks” and continued on to Checkpoint 1. Absolute failure.
I gave up on the briefcase ploy, tied the ribbon around my arm and just started yelling at people. The bus stop on the corner of the block was packed with people, every single one of them keeping an eye on me once my identity was known. There were many looks of confusions, often followed by a quick sprint away from me from other players. It seems that many of them either weren’t listening when the game was explained or didn’t see my chaser ribbon as I stood in the middle of a crosswalk, players streaming by each side of me as I yelled “I could tag every single one of you right now”. Fortunately for them I didn’t have the heart to tag someone only a few blocks from the start of their journey.
After feeling like Moses in a crosswalk, I decided visibility was what I needed. That meant more ribbons that would make it obvious that I was a chaser. After a 15 minute hunt for my misplaced bike, I headed back to the plaza to grab a handful of chaser ribbons from Sam. I affixed them to every part of my body and headed back out into the night.
I spent some time biking north of Market, and west of Checkpoint 5, hoping I’d run into those players that thought they were being sneaky taking a long way around to different checkpoints. Nope, either I was too far ahead of the pack, or they were taking more direct routes. I headed over to Checkpoint 3 to give them a hand.
While dismounting from my bike in the safe zone of Checkpoint 3, I saw a player approaching. I feinted as if I were going to give chase and he scrambled. Carrying my bike, I half-chased him down the block. He screamed “I’m in a safe zone!” to which I yelled back “Then why are you running?!” Light bulb went off, he stopped and I directed him to Checkpoint 3.
Up on the roof of the parking garage I found two agents pulling players aside, whispering questions to them and then zip-tying bells to their ankles and shows. As I attempted to figure out what in the world was going on, the parking garage security guy came up and told us we couldn’t use the 9th floor of the parking garage. Long story made short, security kicked us out and we setup shop on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the garage. They were cool with this. The one security guy even stood at the doors and helped direct confused players to the line we had going.
Boy was there a line. At on point there were so many players in like that we had to give up asking questions and just started zip-tying ankles, one after another. I have no idea what 30-40 of the players that came through Checkpoint 3 looked like, but I could probably identify them by their footwear. I spent the next couple of hours at Checkpoint 3, watching as friends, familiar faces, and complete strangers came to get their manifests “signed” with a zip tied bell or the occasional sparkly pipe cleaner.
Then it was off to Noisebridge for the after-party where some players had already arrived after traversing the entire course in about 2 hours.