AUSTIN, TX (GlossyNews) — Around 12:40 p.m. EST on March 22, the coveted Foursquare Survivor badge was awarded to hundreds of people simultaneously. Event organizers attributed the mass distribution to a glitch. Traditionally, the Foursquare staff have been very secretive about how to unlock the various badges, but told participants that the Survivor badge would be awarded to those attendees of Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) arts festival who made it back to the airport for their return flights. The few players who managed to survive called the situation insulting. The release of the badges to other unworthy participants drew angry protests within minutes.
In Foursquare, registered users connect with friends and update their locations via a social networking tool. Points are awarded on weekends and non-business hours for “checking in” at venues. But checking in at the venues is just the first step in an otherwise difficult and sadistic game. Once players assemble at the predetermined location, the brutal bloodsport of Foursquare begins.
The game takes place on a hard surfaced court, usually of wood or asphalt. The court is divided into four smaller squares of equal size. Each of the four squares is occupied by a single player, who is assigned a rank. The rules of game play are complicated and dynamic. At its most rudimentary level, Foursquare operates as a smaller and more vicious version of dodge ball.
Rules vary by location, and part of the challenge is that new rules are provided to players with each game. The rules are not divulged to combatants until seconds before play commences. In recent years, the rules have become more lenient, allowing for no penalties, no rest periods and limited, if any, player substitutions. As a result, the game has degraded into a gladiatorial series of senselessly violent acts. Fans will surely recall the stomach churning rape that concluded last year’s tournament, subsequently dubbed the “Merryville Middle School Massacre.”
During this week’s Austin match, nearly eight teams suffered extreme casualties. The final round of the bout was ultimately cut short when members of Team Texas decapitated a learning disabled member of Team Georgia and used his severed head as the ball.
“Sure, things got a little out of hand,” said Texas team captain Lou Welch, 14. “Almost always do. But after struggling through all that carnage and pain just to find out every loser who got eliminated was also awarded the Survivor badge was a huge slap in the face. I think I’m done with Foursquare. After giving it a lot of consideration, I think I’m going to try my hand at Hopscotch, even though it’s illegal in 48 states.”