October 16, 2005 2:15 PM PDT

'Graveyard Games' makes lively debut in Bay Area

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a queen to go with a 10, a jack and a king in the community cards each team shared--we weren't the first team back to the bench. The rules said that in case of a tie, the winner was first back.

After half an hour, a murmur spread across the cemetery. Players perusing the "Last Call Poker" Web site on their wireless Treos and Sidekicks discovered we had a new task: Find a box hidden on the grounds that would lead us on a new hunt.

Within minutes, everyone was running up and down the rows. Someone found the box in a bunch of geraniums and we all began to follow new clues that went roughly like this: Go to a spot northwest or southeast of where you are now, walk thirty paces, look for the tombstone of someone who lived from 1906 to 1913, write their name down. Repeat. Again and again.

We spread out and combed the rows. Here? No. There. Yes! We'd all run to the new spot, read the clues out loud and then move on to the next one.

This went on for a good hour. We finally ended up at the last tombstone, where, we were instructed, we were to make an offering of at least 500 chips to a child who had died at seven, form a circle to pay homage to the boy and then await further clues.

Fitting the real-time nature of the game, those new instructions came live via the Web. Those with Treos and Sidekicks would punch up the "Last Call" site, find a clue, read it aloud and then we'd all try to decipher it.

Somehow, the 500-plus chips we donated actually added up to 666. It had to be fate. Then we formed the circle and sang "Amazing Grace." Then we waited.

It turned out the last clue would be broadcast on the radio. Someone figured out, via the Internet, that the radio station was 101.9--the Web site had spelled out ten, ace, nine--and there was a rush to find a radio that could receive the station. Finally, with all of us gathered tightly around, we got it. One player--by chance, my poker partner--listened on headphones and shouted out the instructions. Basically they boiled down to poetry, thanking us for our participation: "I do love to watch smart, creative people do what I tell them," Lucky crowed from the ether.

After that, it was over. There were beers to be drunk in a local tavern, and strategizing for future rounds of Tombstone poker to be played. Prizes were handed out to those with the most chips and then we all went on our ways, happy to be alive and excited to be on the vanguard of an entirely emergent kind of game play.

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7 comments

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Stay out of our cemetaries!
Hey Dumbasses! My grandparents are buried at that cemetary. I don't think I or anyone else with relatives or love ones appreciate people trespassing or trampling over their graves to play some STUPID game. STAY OUT OF CEMETARIES!!! Who was the idiot who thought this wouldn't offend, anger, or **** anyone off. I am! I plan to call the authorities if I see this in the cemetary.

Way
Posted by wayland128 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Graveyard Games had permission
Hello,

This is Daniel Terdiman, the author of the article. I just want to
say that the organizers of this event had explicit permission
from the Italian Cemetery to hold this event. I would also like to
say that I am very sensitive to people's use of public or private
space and I was extremely impressed with the way that the
participants in this event used the cemetery. There was no left
over trash that I saw and people were extremely respectful of the
site and all the graves. Granted, it's hard to imagine how
something like this could be respectful, but insofar as it's
possible, I believe the group was.

Daniel Terdiman
CNET News.com
Posted by Daniel Terdiman (78 comments )
Link Flag
Disgusting
So now our final resting places are to be treated like football and baseball fields. The so called "game" is sick.

To the author, no matter what permission they had or how they handled themselves this is still disrespectful. This report should be removed to prevent copycats
Posted by capfan12 (101 comments )
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Better Places
I think there are more suitable places for this game to occur. A cemetary is a place to remember departed loved ones, and mourn for those who have left us. It's not a playground or giant game board. It's a cemetary, let's keep it like that.
Posted by smcgui5 (21 comments )
Link Flag
Sick!
I cannot beleive an individual would want to be apart of this sick and twisted game. Graveyards are meant for people to respect their passed away loved ones, not play some game! Jane McGonigal is a sick person. I certianly hope Activision had nothing to do with this.
Posted by (19 comments )
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