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Paranoia takes over Kent

Alice Benjamin

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Paranoia is a school-wide game of tag, known to some from previous schools or summer camps as “assassin.” This year, almost half the school (270 kids) registered for the game, which began on Tuesday April 18th and runs through May 8th.

The rules include a tagging zone restriction, which dictates that players can only be tagged outside and with a sticker. The only information participants receive is their own target, thus making them paranoid that they are being followed or chased at all times.

While students found creative ways to tag their targets and avoid being tagged themselves, only 100 players remained three days into the game, on Friday the 21st. The game often forces players to choose sides between friends, and players have been seen walking between classes with a shield of their classmates.

Some players go all out, sprinting between classes to avoid getting tagged or asking friends to bring food back from the dining hall in order to avoid going outside. Others will get his or her target’s schedule from a teacher and follow the target between classes. As an added twist, faculty were also invited to participate later on in the game.

One particular player this year attempted to pinpoint the web of targets, collecting as much information as he could. He put everything together in a spreadsheet, asking everyone he knew who their targets would so he could put the pieces together and inform students who was trying to tag them.

Those who have the most fun seem to be the students who don’t sign up or get tagged out early on in the game. They observe everyone else’s paranoia, while they get to sit back and relax. People will have fun lunging at or chasing people involved in the game even though they themselves aren’t playing.  Once the numbers begin to dwindle, the game only affects a select few, but the few that are left get increasingly paranoid.

The winner is either the last one left standing or the one with the most tags when the game ends. Every decision is left up to the game commissioner, Mr. Jandreau. He regulates all disputes during the game, of which he sees many. Players often get highly competitive and upset with failure, leading to many attempts to argue the illegality of tags.

Overall, the game is a fun distraction for a few weeks during the middle of the spring term. It immerses the campus in a childlike game of cat and mouse as students and faculty alike demonstrate their competitive side. Paranoia is an unexpected part of what makes Kent unique.

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Paranoia takes over Kent