Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places

The Go Game experience is obviously incredible for a lot of reasons, but my favorite reason is that it successfully blurs the boundary between the real world and the game world. I can’t count how many times a team has come back to me at the end of a game recounting an interaction with an amazing ‘actor’ who, as it turns out, was absolutely not a part of the game. The players’ faces inevitably change from shock/horror/embarrassment to delight and laughter as they realize they dragged an unwitting stranger into the narrative of their game experience. As I never fail to point out in a Go Game introduction, “Some of our actors will be obvious. Others…not so much, so please be nice to everyone you meet.”
(Quick digression: I once asked teams a mission about a magazine available in one of those free publication boxes right by the Boston marathon finish line at Copley Square.  The magazine was called ‘The Improper Bostonian,’ and it contained a monthly feature wherein its regular readers would pose for a picture holding up a copy in assorted far-flung destinations. The mission asked teams where ‘the improper Bostonian’ had not been in the past month in multiple-choice format, citing the locations in said feature. Long story short, one team totally ignored the magazine, but found a crazed-looking Boston resident nearby and grilled him about his recent travel habits. Amazingly, they got this mission correct.)
These shenanigans are just as delightful for me as the Game Producer as they are for the players. The stories that emerge when teams accidentally hit on someone besides Agent Hotstuff in the game zone’s local bar…priceless. However, that blurry line between reality and the game doesn’t always work in my favor. A few days ago, I had teams write love poems and deposit them on the windshields of random cars around the North Beach neighborhood. One team got creative and added my personal phone number (a.k.a. the game’s ‘Emergency Help Line’) at the bottom of their note, requesting a call from the note’s recipient. All this is pretty fun and sassy, but par for the course – I’ve had dozens of teams over the years leave my phone number on people’s cars. This time was different because I actually got called.
Voicemail, 6:45 PM, day of the game: “Uh, hi, um, Sasha? I don’t know if I know you, but, um, you left a note on my car. Anyway, my number is (content hidden to protect privacy). Call me back.”
Voicemail, 9:23 PM, day of the game: “Hi Sasha, this is, um, Stanley again, and I’m just, uh, returning your call. I mean, your note. So, give me a call back sometime, uh, and we could get together?”
Voicemail, 10:34 AM, day after the game: “Hi Sasha, it’s Stanley again, and, well, I think we could maybe, uh, meet up soon. You should give me, uh, a call back and we can set something up.”
And so on. I admit, I was initially horrified at these calls, but the voicemails were so earnest and sweet that I decided to save them to my cell phone for posterity.
Here’s what I take away from this: 1) It’s just as fun/embarrassing/delightful/shocking for a Game Producer to be dragged into the fun as it is for anyone else. I’m writing a blog post about the experience, aren’t I? 2) Stanley, I might be taken, but you’ll make someone very, very happy someday.

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