1. DotTheI
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    DotTheI New Member

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    why would you play The Game?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by DotTheI, Jan 2, 2012.

    I'm working on a story that's best described as Survivor: High School. I'm going to offer as many details as possibles since there's so many variables to the situation.

    There's a Game that is played by a handful of students where they have to form alliances, complete tasks, and vote each other off. Eventually there's one winner left at the end. My problem: What is the prize for winning the Game?

    Background: This is a non-sci-fi/non-fantasy story. School administrators know about the Game but do not condone it. The Game is not deadly in nature, but that doesn't mean accidents don't happen. The Game is not a big deal outside of the school/city, that is, it's not a TV show or a national thing. The seniors put on the game and the juniors participate, winning the game means you get the prestigious title for your senior year. It's probably easiest to describe the Game as comparable to fraternity hazing.

    I want the story to be set in three possible scenerios:
    1) A regular high school (the players would all be juniors)
    2) A private prep school (the players would all be juniors)
    3) A college/university (the players would all be freshman/sophomores)

    I have a number of reasons why the students would play the game, it's fun, it's "popularity points", it's kind of looked on as an honor to win, but I can't think of any concrete prize one could obtain from actually winning.

    1) My first thought was that there is a monetary prize for winning, like say the players have to pay to participate and maybe the Game coordinators charge other students to watch certain events and all this money goes to whoever wins (it's high school kids after all, they won't be winning a million dollars or anything.) But if I set it in a private school, I feel all the students would be wealthy anyway and there'd be no reason for them to want to win $1000.

    2) The prestige of winning itself doesn't seem like a good enough incentive with today's disillusioned youth. Although, I do want the story be sort of hyper-reality (think Brick or Charlie Bartlett) where high school is romanticized as the "be-all, end-all."

    3) Someone suggested I have a scholarship be the prize, but that doesn't make any since because it's coordinated by students and played by students.

    I feel like I'm looking at it too closely and I have blinders on, so I just really want to brainstorm any possible ideas on what the prize could be for playing the Game.
     
  2. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    The fact that the game is "coordinated by the students" does limit a monetary prize and obviously makes scholarships etc out of the question. Saying that, you could have every participating player throw in $20-100 which would add up to an not insubstantial amount of money depending on the amount of participants.

    Bragging rights might not be enough, as you mentioned, but then again, why do people dedicate time and effort to max high scores on Xbox leaderboards?

    I'll admit I don't know much about how American schools work and how much they differ from UK schools, but this does sound like something that would be organised by fraternities etc, meaning you'd have young adult participants not younger schoolchildren.
     
  3. Whirlwind
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    Whirlwind Member

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    I think they might start playing for a prize, but then they need to be forced. So maybe they start for fun or to get the girl or whatever, but then when they try and stop a demon appears and starts chopping off heads and tell them if they don't finish, they're fate is eternal hell blablah. Then they have to get out of the situation. And of course kill the devil himself. Just an idea.
     
  4. forgebench
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    forgebench Member

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    Cool idea!

    As far as the prize goes, I'd go one of two ways. Either money (each contestant puts in money to become a contestant)
    or some surprise ending like in The Lottery. Money is the most plausible explanation, along with prestige. It might help to
    build up winning a little bit by showing the previous winner surrounded by women/men, driving a nice car, being the "cool"
    kid in school.
     
  5. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    it woud make more since if it took place on a college campus. most during students in highschool are in class most of the time there in class so it wont make much since. in college on the other hand we have alot of free time, except during finals. you would also get higher student perticpation. as far as the prize goes it would have to be monetary. haveing each student pay to play wont make a lot of money for the prize most college students need as much money as we can get.
     
  6. ClusterChuck
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    ClusterChuck Senior Member

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    I'd keep the admins out of the loop totally. Have this as undeground as possible. Even condemned. But yeah a college frat, skull and bones worthy. The prize? The inner circle of course. The frats hall of fame. And if this is skull and bonesy.. then a silver mark through every CEO and political contact for your entire your adult life. Your 1%ness.

    And someone has to die in a story like this.

    I heard bush killed three puppies and ate a chicken whole and alive his junior year at Yale. True story.

    But that's how I'd do it.
     
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  7. DotTheI
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    DotTheI New Member

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    Well, there won't be a demon, because it's not fantasy, but each character will definitely have their own motivation for playing. One guy will be playing to earn social points, one guy will be a "gamer" kid who wants to prove he's the best at games, someone will need the prize money to pay a debt, ect. I was even thinking of having two characters play (either ex-best friends or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend) just to get back at each other.

    As for the Skull and Bones idea, it was my initial thought to have the game go that route, but something about that just seemed too...done already. I might have to go that route for plot's sake, but I was really hoping I could keep the story more Midnight Madness than Anatomy.

    Maybe I can use the alumni idea, or just add another sense of pride to winning by mentioning how all past winners are now doctors, lawyers, politicians, ect. ect.
     
  8. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    I think ClusterChuck has hit the nail on the head here. Great suggestion.
     
  9. Dyes
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    Dyes New Member

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    hey this is actually really interesting and id love to read a book like this. I agree with Cluster Chuck, his ideas are great but more for the college perspective, i also agree with DotTheI's suggestion, the various backgrounds and inner demons of each character would be interesting to read about. Personally i think if your going with high school, money and bragging rights are a perfect prize, being in high school myself, i can imagine how that would be. =) Another idea for the prize is the ability to host and or kinda control the games senior year. You could also have maby a judging team, of like elite students who have won the previous games and now judge them, a prize could be joining them. Idk, but if your going for the older people, like college, i think Cluster Chuck's idea is the way to go! XD
     
  10. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I actually like the idea of there being no prize except fame and notoriety. It'd highlight how obsessed young people are with image, and the reader would keep thinking, God, I wish they wouldn't do this awful risky thing -- there's not even a prize, which could add suspense and anxiety.
     
  11. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Damn your poor/troll choice of title! I lost the game! Argh!

    In order not to get banned for being off topic, I think a simple monetary prize would be enough. How about this:in the weeks leading up to The Game, everyone is asked to chip in money. The amount of money is their choosing. This will then go to the prize fund. And the bigger the prize fund is, the more people will join and the more the spectators can watch as they struggle with tasks and stuff. Or there's a rich kid in the school who's "sponsoring" the event and will chip in money or give out computer games or something. If almost everyone in the school is obsessed with a single game, say Runescape, high level Runescape accounts could be a prize.
     
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  12. BrandonLe
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    BrandonLe New Member

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    I'd think that maybe everyone should chip in some money, and then they get enough money for an award; if you set it in a Private school, they could all afford that... And they'd maybe get their name engraved on something for it?

    Also, on the game thing; most games have memberships, which you need to buy in real life with money. That'd be more common if it's for the public school...
     
  13. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    It seems like this story idea sounds like something that would happen at a college frat as a crazy means of initiating people into their frat.
     
  14. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    I have a few idea's but I really think it depends upon the age group of the audience and how dark you want to make it. Prom king or queen in a fixed election perhaps, with an underlying prize that is only revealed to the winner. I do like the inner sanctum idea; it certainly seems natural - but it could certainly get darker and fresh with added elements. My mind immediately went to a sex escapade with the (high school) girl of his dreams, offered as the inner sanctum orchestrates 'prize by force'. The winner, who's desire for her stems from real affection, struggles with the obvious violence vs not only his desire, but ostrazation from the inner sanctum and real and probably violent consequences for being seen as a liability to this very powerful organization whose alumni stretch through multiple generations.
     
  15. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Personally, I don't think you even need a monetary or material prize, considering how important popularity -- or even just plain old acceptance -- is to a lot of high-school aged students. If doing well in the game means "coolness," then to a school full of insecure teenagers, that's enough. Let's face it: while most people grow up to be nice and of good character, most people also go through a phase in middle school and/or high school where they're willing to resort to backstabbing, two-faced-ness, gossip, etc. to feel like part of an accepted crowd. Right?

    It wouldn't have to be as black and white as "play or you're cool; if you don't, you're not." What if, for instance, a character feels a sense of loyalty to two close friends, and one is in the game group while the other is protesting it? There's ways to play around with stuff like that to come up with different types of conflict.

    If you want to go beyond popularity and peer pressure, what if the senior kids organizing the game have some kind of ties to the authority -- say, what if one of them is the principal's son, or even a non-student undercover cop sent to rat on drug-abusers or something. Participation in the Game could keep players guaranteed to stay out of trouble: if they play, the law will overlook their transgressions.
     
  16. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Would about a conspiracy for a reason? You get a ticket on your bed or something, and you have to participate, because if not, they will make your life hell or something like that.
     
  17. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    I remember a short story called the Lottery which was in a darker but similar vein.

    That's a good idea, there can still be a reward but entry is not optional.

    I do still like Cluster's idea: "And if this is skull and bonesy.. then a silver mark through every CEO and political contact for your entire adult life. Your 1%ness."
    THAT seems like a reward people who really go for!
     
  18. Dragon Boy
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    Dragon Boy Member

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    I would let the winner of the game be part of the most famous clique. This group could include some trendy kids who are respected and feared by their peers and even some teachers which would get them some special privileges ( There's also alot of potential to develop the leaders of the aforementioned group as they could act as the masters of this game ).
     

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