When the masterminds behind I love bees and Disaffected! band together to design a game, you know it's going to be good. This past weekend, Jane McGonigal (42 Entertainment) and Ian Bogost (Persuasive Games) premiered Cruel 2 B Kind, a self-described game of "benevolent assassination," during the Come Out & Play Festival in New York. And according to players, it made for a chaotic--yet oddly convivial--Saturday afternoon in Times Square.
In the tradition of street games like Assassin, Cruel 2 B Kind pits players in a "kill or be killed" scenario. Unlike Assassin, however, your weapons and weaknesses are not super soakers or water balloons, but random acts of kindness. Dennis Crowley, founder of dodgeball.com, was one of over 100 players signed up to participate. At the start of the game, Dennis and his teammate received a text message with their weapon, "spectacular day!" and their weakness, which was "to be cheered on in a big way." Teams aren't told who their targets are - only that they will react to a particular act if it's their weakness.
Because the game is set in Times Square, players can have a difficult time telling the difference between tourists and targets. "The area is filled with tourists with maps," Dennis says, "and players holding [game] directions... It's very hard to tell the two apart, so you get a lot of us yelling 'have a spectacular day!' at tourists who look at you and are like, 'um, ok...'"