Following Elimination, winner Kyra Xue looks back

On April 1, Gunn’s annual Elimination came to an end with junior Kyra Xue as its winner. While Xue did not participate in Elimination in previous years, she remained competitive and enthusiastic. In the end, she survived  throughout the game’s entirety and had the most eliminations: 23. “Elimination was really exciting for me because I didn’t play in freshman year and my friends had always told me about how fun it was,” Xue said. “Also, it was just a fun game for me to take my mind off schoolwork [and] other stressful activities. [Playing the game] was definitely a nice break in my day.” 

Senior Special Events Commissioner Sofía Little organized the event in the weeks leading up to March 1 and helped maintain an enjoyable environment for all players as it unfolded. “Elimination is a month-long game in which anyone can participate,” she said. “Students have to hold a plushie [at all times], follow certain rules and eliminate people. Whoever has the most kills and is alive the longest wins.”

Due to COVID-19, Gunn’s last time Elimination game was played two years ago. Since then, Little recalls making minor changes to adapt the format of Elimination this year. “[In previous years, Elimination] used to be whoever was alive the longest would win,” Little said. “However, [the game] would always stay way longer than normal. Now, whoever has the most kills and is alive the longest wins. Another thing is that we changed some of the regulations [and] just made things a little more interesting this year.”

It was just a fun game for me to take my mind off schoolwork [and] other stressful activities. [Playing the game] was definitely a nice break in my day.”

— Junior Kyra Xue

The first week’s challenges were relatively easy for players to abide by as they only had to hold their plushie with one hand. As the month continued, however, the challenges got increasingly harder. “The first couple of weeks were more chill because the ways to stay alive weren’t that difficult,” Xue said. “I wasn’t really that motivated to win or anything, I just wanted to enjoy the game. As time progressed, it definitely became more competitive and I was more [interested] in the game because I was still alive.” 

Xue recalls one of the more difficult Elimination missions was to keep the plushie touching a wall at all times during the day, besides during classroom instruction. “On the wall day, it was hard to stay motivated to keep touching the wall for the entire time,” she said. “[The shoulder day] was hard because my arm got a little tired, but at the same time I realized that it was actually a really good opportunity to get more kills.”

In order to ensure that she stayed in first place by the end of the competition, Xue learned multiple strategies to help her along the way. A major tool Xue recommends is to outsource information about your targets through friends. “Having connections and talking to your friends [is a good strategy] because they might know things about other people,” she said. “You have to strike a good balance between talking with other people and also being secretive enough so that not everyone knows who your target is.”

You have to strike a good balance between talking with other people and also being secretive enough so that not everyone knows who your target is.”

— Junior Kyra Xue

Besides sharing information, Xue also worked with her friends to stay alive longer. One example consists of a time where Xue remained on campus until late at night on the day where players had to stay under an overhang at all times. “I was walking out of advanced vocals to get my bike from the bike cages,” she said. “[The cages] aren’t under an overhang, so as I was walking there, someone jumped out and tried to tag me. I had to sprint under an overhang and I [remember thinking], ‘What do I do?’” 

Both players remained under the overhang, waiting for the other to give in. “I called my friend because I was really motivated to stay alive,” she said. “I stayed under the overhang and my friend came to school at 9:30 p.m. to bring me my bike. Then, I just biked home. My friend was trying to protect me, and it definitely was a team effort.” 

Despite having a positive experience with Elimination and enjoying its community aspect, Xue is happy that the event is over. Next year, she plans to play again while using the various strategies she learned this year. “It definitely got a little tiring towards the end, but I’m excited to play next year as well,” she said. “Elimination was a great opportunity to meet new people.”