Oberlin Blogs


July 12, 2014

Peter D'Auria ’14

It is a light and balmy evening. In the atrium of the Lewis environmental center, a black tie event is being held. Well-dressed people mill about, clutching drinks. People make polite gala conversation. In your super-cool Millennium Falcon T-shirt you are v. underdressed--yo, that person is wearing pearls--but luckily someone has taken pity on you and lent you a suit jacket.

Some guy has gotten drunk, and periodically blurts out inappropriate comments about other guests. But he is restrained/ignored/avoided. Later you will wish you listened more carefully to what he was saying.

It is the 50th anniversary of the Oberlin Mythological Society. The president makes a short speech. 50 years is a milestone, she says, especially seeing how OMS has been going through some rough patches recently. Rough patches? As a very new (two-days-old) member of this prestigious society, you are intrigued. But the president does not expand upon this topic. This is a day for celebration! Hence the black ties, the pearls, the extravagance. And hence the guest appearance: in honor of the occasion, the OMS 50th anniversary bash will be graced with the presence of none other than ultra-famous mythologist/author/heartthrob Alonso Bari.

All hearts in the room beat faster at the mention of Dr. Bari. He is, people whisper, a beautiful man, a magnificent man. Such charisma. Such brilliance. Such...pulchritude. What is his field of study again? Isn't he working on translating that ancient indigenous language? All eyes in the room drift to the doors, hoping to catch the first glimpse of his stately figure. He is due at any moment.

You are, as per usual, totally baffled.

Suddenly! The room is filled with a chorus of chiming, buzzing, ringing. Hmwhaaa? It's the sound of cell phones, all going off at the same time. Baffled, guests reach for their phones, frowning at them. (Your phone has remained still and silent this whole time. Evidently nobody cares about you.) What has warranted this storm of alerts? You crane your neck to try and see.

And then a collective wail rises up from the crowd. You are not the only one who is lost (thankfully). People look around frantically at the bawling guests. What? What is it? What's the deal?

A stricken guest turns to you, and in a pained yell, informs you of the deal:

"Dr. Bari has been murdered!!"

Ho dang!!

And thus you and your team of amateur sleuth-students are plunged into a tortuous mystery, full of myths, ancient prophecies, jello shots, murder, cool dancing, and time travel.


For the lay person who knows nothing about the game: This is Obiegame, a once-a-year (spring semester) interactive mystery/story organized by a shady student organization, in collaboration with Oberlin townspeople and faculty.

The basic steps are thus: you see posters on campus, or hear about it from someone you know. You find some friends who are interested, or perhaps you are recruited by interested friends, and form a team. Your team signs up, following instructions to do so. The game begins. You receive an email, or some sort of communication, or something happens that sets the game in motion. The plot begins to unfold. If you are in the right place at the right time, you will witness events performed by Obiegame actors (such as the Oberlin Mythological Society 50th Anniversary Bash). Some teams are eliminated, others continue on, based on how well they solve the mysteries/riddles, which get harder and harder, until only one team is left. You neglect your schoolwork and become wholly obsessed.

Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well...it's not. Not only are the mysteries themselves hard to solve, it's hard to figure out which mystery to solve. The other teams are cunning and sinister and will attempt to lead you astray. I know personally of some teams that constructed a fake character and email address and sent out emails to other teams with false instructions, like telling them to attend a meeting in the cemetery at midnight. Not gonna say who did it. It happened, though.

What exactly does one do in the game? A multitude of things. Here is a list of several things that occurred last game (I can talk about it here in such detail because each year's game is wholly different and there cannot be spoilers for next game, probably):

- The translation of a prophecy, written in an ancient language, in the French house lounge at 1 in the morning (kudos go to teammate Josh, who knows a lot about linguistics).

- The invitation of our team to an orgy, with the instruction to wear all white. (What happened at this orgy, I cannot reveal. All I will mention is that it involved an extremely intense game of flip-cup.)

- The actual forcible removal of Teammate Jake from Manuel's Barbershop by a "barber" in a goofy hat (I swear this was related to the game).

- The demonstration of a super cool dance at the 'Sco to prove our worthiness of entry into a semi-secret society.

- Hours and hours spent in the Art Library, Mudd, Wilder, etc., trying to solve riddles, many (most) of which were not necessary to solve.

- Murder by poisoned jello shot (acted, nobody actually died, I think).

- Complete neglect of all school-related other activities.

Are ye not sold?? Do it, yo. I recommend it most highly. The plot of the game is mega well constructed, the scenes and events witnessed by players are defs believable and often highly creepy, the puzzles mad difficult. The whole thing is unbelievably addictive, not only because you are solving puzzles and figuring out a mystery, but because it adds a whole wonderful layer of plot to your otherwise routine life.

And yeah there is a prize, though what exactly I can't say, because we didn't win. We were so close, though, for real. It still eats at me. SO close.


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