NIT2000 Game

Memorable Moments from The 1999 Game

In the end, the Purple Team manages only a disappointing fifth place out of a twelve teams. We've still managed to fulfill our overall goal: collecting fun stories. It's impossible to stay awake for twenty-four hours straight, driving around in a van with friends, playing with high-tech toys, banging your heads against impossible clues, sprinting through crowded public spaces, sneaking through abandoned buildings, asking complete strangers ridiculous questions—and not have fun.

Here are some quotes and situations we particularly enjoyed in this year's Game.

  • "Embrace the hate." — Bruce and Jeff's take on how to drive in NYC
  • "Jus' don' lean on it." — Hardware store salesman with heavy New York accent, to Bruce, in regards to a cheap wrench Bruce was considering purchasing. Bruce was deliberating between a very expensive wrench and a much cheaper one. Since Bruce couldn't foresee any need to really "lean" on a wrench, he bought the cheap one. Barely an hour after buying it, we directly tested the wrench's strength ourselves by whacking on it repeatedly with a hammer. We were trying to loosen some stubborn nuts. One of us eventually realized that we were trying to loosen the nuts in the wrong direction.
  • "'Pickle' doesn't really rhyme with 'vertical'." — Bruce complaining about a mime's charades tactics
  • Scaling an indoor climbing wall in street clothes, and discovering that, under the strain of scaling an indoor climbing wall, casual linen shorts can easily tear.
  • Listening to the debate over whether the location of the next clue is worth $500. A SoHo gallery owner told Bruce he would reveal the location of the next clue for this amount, and we were sorely tempted.
  • Performing field repairs on Jan's torn shorts with red duct tape
  • "How do you spell Mr. Scorpion's name?" — Skeptical hotel operator. By a small miracle, when I'd asked a telephone directory service operator for "the hotel at the World Trade Center", they put me through to the Marriott World Trade Center, which turned out to be the correct hotel. We were trying to find a room registered to a "Mr. Scorpion", and were extremely doubtful we would actually find such a person. To our surprise (and the surprise of the Marriott hotel operator), there indeed was a person registered under this name at the hotel.
  • "I thought you all were the A Team!" — visibly impressed World Trade Center security guard, taking notice of us, our radios, and our unmarked van full of equipment.
  • Hearing how Jeff opened a package at the Marriott World Trade Center and found Bruce's clothes inside. This was Game Control's subtle way of letting us know that Bruce had been kidnapped.
  • The surprise on a parking lot operator's face after I'd just given him the key to the van, as I hopped right back in the van and fired up the engine with one of our many spare keys. The parking lot operator was evidently used to treating an individual car key as a unique enabling device for the corresponding vehicle, and hence believed that, if he held the key, a car couldn't be driven away. To his relief, I didn't drive away, but I sure did make him nervous.
  • "Umm... I'm full." — Bruce, when asked if he wanted a sandwich after being
    sprung from his captivity at Lucky Cheng's ("New York's Premier Drag Queen Dance Club"), having spent the past two hours next to a buffet table groaning under the weight of catered food.
  • Thane Plambeck finding a box marked "Poison" near the designated clue location at Columbia University, and taking the empty rat trap he found inside, only to realize that it was a real rat trap for killing real rats.
  • "Is 'Thane Plambeck' an anagram for something?" — Member of another team, upon hearing Thane's name.
  • Triumphantly racing past the White team van on the highway, only to be stopped at a toll booth a minute later while the White team cruised through the EZ Pass lane.
  • Having Thane recognize a page of writing as the Unibomber manifesto, and successfully downloading the full text over the wireless web link, allowing us to bypass the tedium of reading microfiche.
  • "Must... stay... awake.... Must... stay... frosty." — Jan, desperately trying to snap back to full awareness at 7:00 am Sunday. On Team Purple, the term "frosty" refers to the state of being awake, alert, and otherwise capable of participating in the Game.
  • "Mmm... lamb." — Jeff, getting hungry Sunday morning, upon hearing Roger read a verse from the Book of Revelations that includes the word "lamb".

Some teams ran into a little more adventure than they anticipated, triggering crises at the World Trade Center and Columbus University. These escapades were written up in articles by the New York Times and the Seattle Times.


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