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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Murder Cop Victim

I had a strange dream last night which reminded me of a game I used to play with my friends as a child. In my dream, I was staring down the barrel of a harpoon in an underwater environment, waiting to be stalked by 5 murderous sea snakes who were out to get me and the other players of the game, unless we got them first.

My childhood game did not include sea snakes or harpoons, thankfully. It was more of a live-action role-playing murder mystery game which my friends and I liked to call Murder Cop Victim, or MCV. To start the game, we'd write M, C, and V on slips of paper, put the slips in a hat, and then randomly draw. If there weren't many people playing, there'd usually only be one M and one C, and everyone else was a V. But if we had quite a few people playing, we'd add a few extra Murderers and Cops.

Nobody knew who anybody else was, and your strategy was different depending upon what role you drew. If you were a Victim, you were wary of everyone, but didn't want to appear that way, lest you give yourself away as a helpless soul waiting to be cornered in a lone room by the Murderer. If you were a Cop, you wanted to figure out who the Murderer was, because you were the only person who could arrest him and save everyone else. If you were the Murderer, you wanted to try to get people alone long enough so you could "murder" them and leave the body without being seen by anyone else.

Make-believe was a very important part of this game. It was very much like a live-action form of the boardgame Clue. You invented a persona, and introduced yourself to the other players as you wandered about the house and tried to figure out how to stay alive, capture the murderer, or kill your victims, depending on your role. The game was most fun when there were enough players to have several Murderers and Cops; that way if you were one of those roles, you could try to figure out who your fellow Murderers or Cops were so you could form an alliance with them and strategize about how to take down your opponents.

Sometimes false alliances were made. Say you were a Murderer, and somebody mistakenly finds you trustworthy enough to reveal themselves to you as a Cop. So you pretend you're a Cop too. Then you get them alone and murder them. Ah, treachery!

It was a great game that we played countless times at sleepovers and on lazy summer evenings. It never seemed to get old. Well, perhaps that's not true. I think we stopped playing when we started losing our ability to sink into our imaginations and role-play effectively, which was so crucial to the game.

It's sad how your ability to immerse yourself in your imagination gets lost as you age. But I'm glad my dreams still maintain some of that adventurous make-believe spirit, even if it does take the unfortunate form of a sea snake. At least I've got my imaginary harpoon.



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7 comments:

Melliferous Pants said...

It's too bad kids these days can't put down their video games and computers long enough to play a little MCV outdoors.

Sincerely,

Future Crazy Ol' Cat Lady, aka Get-Off-My-Lawn Lady

sovknight said...

I've never played a structured game like this, even as a kid. I bet if you had access to a big mansion or house this could be a lot of fun.

I'm still envious that you remember dreams.

Ben Sloan said...

Probably the biggest thing I miss about childhood was the blurred line between fantasy and reality. I can still readily fall into my imagination, but nothing like I could as a child.

The Over-Thinker said...

I really liked being a kid. Games like MCV came in second only to a rousing game of Ghosts in the Graveyard.

Sra said...

Pants: The crazy old get-off-my-lawn cat lady thing has to happen to all of us at some point, right?

Sov: I don't know why you can't remember dreams. Maybe you should try thinking about what you dreamt when you first wake up. Usually if I write about a dream in my blog it's because I made a mental note of it in the morning and that helped me remember later in the day. Sometimes you think you remember when you wake up, but if you don't reinforce the memories by analyzing them, you lose them.

Ben: When I was a child, I used to fly on the back of Falcor the Luck Dragon every time I rode my bike anywhere. I always heard the Falcor flying theme in my head. These days I can't sink so far into my imagination. But honestly? I still hear the Falcor theme every time I ride my bike.

O-T: I never played Ghosts in the Graveyard, though I've heard the name before. I've never really missed being a kid; I've always enjoyed my progression into adulthood, but I'm suddenly a little nostalgic thinking of these things.

Sra said...

Pants: The crazy old get-off-my-lawn cat lady thing has to happen to all of us at some point, right?

Sov: I don't know why you can't remember dreams. Maybe you should try thinking about what you dreamt when you first wake up. Usually if I write about a dream in my blog it's because I made a mental note of it in the morning and that helped me remember later in the day. Sometimes you think you remember when you wake up, but if you don't reinforce the memories by analyzing them, you lose them.

Ben: When I was a child, I used to fly on the back of Falcor the Luck Dragon every time I rode my bike anywhere. I always heard the Falcor flying theme in my head. These days I can't sink so far into my imagination. But honestly? I still hear the Falcor theme every time I ride my bike.

O-T: I never played Ghosts in the Graveyard, though I've heard the name before. I've never really missed being a kid; I've always enjoyed my progression into adulthood, but I'm suddenly a little nostalgic thinking of these things.

The Over-Thinker said...

I really liked being a kid. Games like MCV came in second only to a rousing game of Ghosts in the Graveyard.

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