In the world’s first “Hunger Games”-inspired reality show.
It was only a matter of time before someone decided young adult novels about dystopian societies would make great inspiration for reality television. Honestly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened sooner.
“Game2:Winter” markets itself as a 24/7 reality experience and will be broadcast exclusively online starting in July 2017. The show was conceived in Russia, the same country that brought you the Cold War and the hacking of the 2016 United States presidential election.
In true lawless fashion, it purports to play all the dystopian hits: Murder! Rape! Alcohol and smoking!
The rules of the game are simple: A total of 30 male and female competitors will be dropped into the Siberian wilderness for nine months. There, they’ll attempt to survive using only the 220 pounds of equipment they’re allowed to bring with them.
They’ll battle animals, the elements and each other, all in hopes of obtaining a prize of $100 million roubles ($1.65 million USD). Two thousand cameras spread across the area will capture their every move for posterity.
And, in a fun, “Westworld”-ian twist, competitors must pay for the privilege of putting their lives on the line. Each cast member will pony up $10 million roubles ($165,000 USD) in order to participate.
To future competitors, I say only this: If you’re looking to pay over $100k to get murdered in a forest, you could have just asked. I know so many forests.
Where do I sign up?
The show’s producers are currently accepting applications for participation in this nightmare; the only prerequisites are that competitors must be over the age of 18 and considered mentally sane. As of November 2016, 60 applications have been submitted, including one from an American. The Siberian Times reports that “applicants include professional rescuers, people without special training, professional travelers, entrepreneurs, photographers, jewelers and psychologists.”
And in true reality-show fashion, viewers can vote via the internet to nominate additional candidates for the show. In another nod to “The Hunger Games,” contestants can request donations from viewers, who can purchase items for them through the show’s website.
This sounds dangerous. Is it?
You bet. The region of Siberia extends over 5 million square miles (for reference, the United States is less than 3.8 million) but the territory houses only 40 million people. This is due in large part to the climate: During the winter, temperatures regularly drop to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before the games begin, competitors will undergo training with former GRU Spetsnaz operators, Russia’s version of Special Forces. Players will presumably spend the first three months of competition foraging and storing food and constructing shelters to protect them during the long winter months. Each player will have access to a panic button, which they can use in case of emergencies. There will be no doctors on site, but players who fall ill or become wounded will be airlifted from the wilderness, thereby forfeiting any chance of winning.
Competitors can carry knives; guns are forbidden. They can work independently or in teams, but all must sign waivers essentially giving up their right to sue when things inevitably go south.
Are rape and murder really allowed?
“Game2: Winter” has only one rule: Survive. The province of Siberia, however, falls under Russian jurisdiction and is therefore subject to Russian laws. So while contestants may feel free to murder and assault each other within the confines of the game, they should expect to be held accountable for these crimes by Russian law enforcement agents.
Of course, given the absence of a physical film crew and the fact that the filming site is only accessible via a 30-minute helicopter ride, contestants will undoubtedly get up to all manner of sins.
The show will broadcast all day, every day from July 2017 until April 1, 2018 (an obvious point of irony, as this entire show sounds like a sick joke). Any contestants who survive the winter will share in the $1.65 million dollar prize?—?a pittance, considering everything they’ll have to go through in order to win.