By: Daniel Brown

Today marks our universities first Marshmallow Games, a campus wide event initiated by the UPEISU First Year Representative, Halen Sky. Assassin: The Marshmallow Games is the perfect activity for any individual who enjoys stealthily pelting their close friends, their archnemesis’, or complete strangers with small, aerodynamic projectiles (but in a safe manner).

The idea behind this event is fairly straightforward. Those who have registered will receive their target today at 4pm in MacMillan Hall. Their sole objective is to “assassinate” their target with a marshmallow. If their assassination is successful, they receive the target of their victim, and progress like this until they are the last one standing, meaning that this event may last quite some time. There are also awards for “Most Assassinations,” “Most Epic Assassination Caught On Film,” “Best Dodge Caught On Film,” and “Best Costume.” (For the full set of rules/regulations, check out the event’s official Facebook page).

Having originated as an event intended exclusively for First Year students, The Marshmallow Games has been a long time in the making, and a notable amount of work has gone towards ensuring it’s success. When approached via email, Sky made it clear that, “it’s time to think outside of the box,” in regard to expanding levels of engagement, and that she wants to, “…remind people of what it’s like to be a kid again and offer them entertainment that doesn’t involve alcohol or technology.” It is by all means a fresh and innovative way to spark involvement amongst students of all ages, and will hopefully yield positive results amongst those participating. Additionally, it will hopefully yield some hilarious videos of people being assassinated by marshmallow.

Included is the full transcript of our interview with Sky, touching on it’s conception, the establishing of game logistics, and Sky’s overall expectations. If all goes well, UPEI may host many more Marshmallow Games in the future.

Cadre – How was this idea conceived? Is it a part of a bigger initiative, or did you create it?

Sky – Assassin is not my conception, in fact it has been done in many different ways across different campuses. My first interaction with the game was actually through a novel titled “Gotcha” and was (theoretically) played using water as the ammunition and beads to count the amount of targets you’ve eliminated as the game went by. In high school, my friend group also played it with about 30 participants for no purpose other than wanting to. It was in this game that I first saw it played with marshmallows. When I came to UPEI my roommate and I discussed the game and how it would be interesting as a possible NSO activity and I got wind that residence has played it in the past using clothespins. At this point, late in the first semester, I was getting quite comfortable as First Year Rep and was thinking of different events that could be done for first years besides the Gingerbread House Decorating Competition. So, I went to VP Student Life, Nathan Hood, and asked him what he thought about doing Assassin as a first year event. He liked the idea and I started planning it in The Wave, which naturally caused conversation, and soon I had upper years asking me if they could participate. After asking a couple first years I came to the conclusion that it would actually be better to not have an event that isolates first years to solely interact with each other, but rather it would be beneficial and make them feel more like they are a part of the school if it was for everyone.

Cadre – If it was your conception, what was the process like putting together the game rules?

Sky – While this game is not my conception the rules definitely had to be tampered with. As with any game that involves physicality there are risks. Residence had a problem with tackling because of clothespins so I decided to continue with the marshmallows as they are essentially harmless and make a real rule that they are subject to inspection. This is because I had so many people joke about putting things in them to weigh more for throwing. “Safe Zones”, where people are not allowed to be attacked, had to be expanded to ensure safety across campus and a zero tolerance for physical contact had to be established. Personally, I’ve played contact sports my whole life so trying to make it as safe as possible isn’t my usual approach, but I understand that a lot of students wouldn’t enjoy being tackled by a stranger. I also had to add the rule that a witness must be present during an assassination attempt because this game is all over campus and beyond. The reasoning for this is if I have someone email me saying they aren’t out and another person saying they are then I have a third party that I can consult. The biggest change and probably the newest rule that I’ve made is the emailing rule. When a person is eliminated or successfully eliminates their target they must email me to confirm their elimination from the game and/or success. I made this rule because then I can somehow track who is still in the game and update my spreadsheet so that I can know who has who and how many players are left.

Cadre – Going in, are there any potential problems/concerns that you can foresee? How can/are they be/being handled?

Sky – The potential problems I can see in this game are:

1) People hide out and don’t actually try to eliminate their target. I’ve tried to reduce this by introducing two new awards which are Most Assassinations and Best Assassination Caught On Film. Hopefully these will players to be aggressive. I am also prepared to eliminate the rule of one attempted assassination per hour to make the game go quicker if need be.

2) Physical safety. Obviously, I don’t want anyone to get hurt which is why players must throw their marshmallows and can’t kidnap each other.

3) Disrupting studies/workplaces. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble for making a disruption in a classroom, study area, or work environment. This means that classrooms, red zones in the library, and places of employment are off limits.

4) The game doesn’t end. In high school, our game went for about a month if I remember correctly with only 30 people. We are beyond the number 30 in registrations and I foresee a lot of people registering last minute on Friday. In high school we played with the rule of only one assassination attempt a day, which definitely slowed things down. I am preparing to make modifications to the game like the attempt per hour or, if it comes to it, eliminating players who do not show activity after a warning if the game becomes slow. It’s kind of fun playing game maker, I almost understand the Capital from The Hunger Games. Just kidding.

Cadre – What are your expectations as to how it will turn out?

Sky – My expectations are extremely low. I like to set them low so then they have no choice but to be met. I think realistically someone in the game isn’t going to be happy with it and someone is going to run with it with all they’ve got and have an amazing time. It’s a free event and the reason I made it free is because as broke university students we very rarely participate in creative, innocent, and out-of-our-comfort-zone kind of events anymore. I want to remind people of what it’s like to be a kid again and offer them entertainment that doesn’t involve alcohol or technology – it’s just people playing. I expect criticism and encouragement, but more than anything I expect opportunity for growth and conversation around what our campus can offer it’s students – especially without costing either side anything. It’s time to think outside of the box.