The Spectator’s First Annual Hunger Games
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Welcome to The Stuyvesant Spectator’s First Annual Hunger Games! Fed up with the free press, we here at the Capitol stuck all 13 Spectator departments into a big arena together and told them to fight to the death. With only one department permitted to leave the arena alive, the situation devolved quickly. Here is how the Games played out:
Under the watchful eye of President Yu, the News Department diligently reported on the ins and outs of The Spectator’s First Annual Hunger Games. News enforced rigorous journalistic ethics and sourcing practices as they profiled the soon-to-be-dead teenagers and made sure to use ambiguous words like “said” when referring to direct quotes. However, by the time their articles about the contestants were finally printed four weeks later, most of the players had already perished.
The Features Department was annihilated early in the Games by way of arrow wounds. At the time of their death, Features had been singing loudly on the top of a large, conspicuous rock in an open clearing (it was likely due to this vulnerable location that they were shot). Features was found by News in a coma on the ground, having presumably fallen off the rock after being bowed. In Features’s last moments, they attacked a nearby shrub for “rejecting their love” and attempted to lick the News reporters present. They passed away soon after. Final words: “Jared—slayer of men.”
The Opinions Department was, frankly, not a big fan of the Hunger Games as an institution. They wrote several-thousand-word rebuttals to all of the Capitol’s arguments regarding the Games’ purpose but still wound up as contestants all the same. Their Point-Counterpoints about the ethical implications of having a bunch of pubescents kill each other in a bubble wasn’t as impactful as the department had hoped, and they were unable to enact much tangible change. Once the Hunger Games began, Opinions was the first to go. For reasons still unknown to this day, every single department decided to gang up on them from the jump. It turned out the greatest weapon isn’t words after all––a big rock is slightly better.
The Science Department spent much time studying the anatomy of local trees and discovered that the trees were made of wood. Despite the breakthrough, they did not contribute significantly to the Games, though they were at a natural advantage in the wilderness, being acquainted with the local flora and fauna. They had the slogan “WE ARE FUNGHIS,” but nobody understood it. Science had good food supplies, which they kept in a deep cave. They also attempted to build weapons and other hunting contraptions, but that effort was where they went awry. An attempt at a catapult backfired and killed them with one swift pebble to the skull.
Arts and Entertainment
The Arts and Entertainment (A&E) Department was no doubt the underdog going into The Spectator’s First Annual Hunger Games, and they quickly demonstrated why. After taking one look around the dingy stadium, A&E was violently ill. However, things began looking up once the Games began, as A&E had a ball thrifting around the Cornucopia for any snacks and vinyls they could get their hands on. Things began to heat up when the department overheard Layout saying that they didn’t really “get” Phoebe Bridgers. A&E swiftly delivered a fatal hammer blow to the department’s head, ending Layout’s tenure in the Games. However, A&E lost their streak when they stumbled upon a few delicious looking berries that they blended into a scrumptious (but tragically poisonous) smoothie.
Competing in the games completely ironically, the Humor Department was a largely ineffective tribute. Adhering to their policy of never “punching down,” they refused to commit any direct acts of violence on other departments. The other tributes, offended by their implied “down” nature, didn’t extend the same gratitude to Humor and attacked with full force. After Humor attempted to recite a long-winded and rambling joke that didn’t go anywhere, the Capitol police swooped in to put viewers at home out of their misery, killing Humor with a few well-planned roasts (and bullets).
One would think the odds would be in the Sports Department’s favor. The Crossfit champion had been training for this their whole life. They leeched off of Layout’s superb navigating skills to find the best hiding spots. And, in true Sports competitive fashion, they got to said spots first and scared everyone else anyway with their biceps. They weren’t scared of the others’ swords or bows and arrows. How could they be when their six-packs were impenetrable? However, while they weren’t all muscle and no brains, their intellect (or lack thereof) was just no match for the Hannibal Lecter-like mastermind of Business, who, after killing Sports with their grenade launcher, ate their liver with some fava beans. They left the head, though.
Let’s face it, the Web Department isn’t exactly known for their physical prowess, which made them an unlikely survivor in The Spectator’s First Annual Hunger Games. Despite this weakness, Web got off to a good start by sticking to the outskirts of the Cornucopia to grab supplies, including small bits of electronics, such as wires, capacitors, and antennas. Web then had to sprint (though it was more like a light jog) out into the arena in order to avoid being taken out by any of the remaining departments. After finding fresh water in the woods, Web got to work creating tools from their scrap pieces. They first built a signal jammer as they hoped that they would be able to block the signal from the Capitol’s tracking devices and escape the arena. Noticing that Web had disappeared, the Capitol sent in Peacekeepers to execute Web for cheating.
The Business Department was the only one willing to kill, even when unprovoked. Empowered by the violent will of the free market, compelled by the invisible hand of supply and demand, and sponsored by Arby’s ©, slayer of men Jared Moser brought the games to a vicious end. Despite being utterly insufferable and unable to shut up about “stonks,” they used their brilliant business acumen to maneuver the complex alliances and unmarketability of the child murder circle. Their greatest enemy and ally was Opinions—they had just read “Das Kapital” and “Atlas Shrugged” and would shut up about neither. They cut a swathe through the competition with their official Arby’s© chainsaw, McDonald’s© grenade launcher, and Taco Bell© quesalupa. Long before the head of the Sports Department went tumbling to the ground, it was already clear who would win.
The Copy Department, calling themself the “copycat,” immediately sought to find a mascot. After unsuccessfully trying to tame a wild cat, they appointed themself the protocol enforcer and traveled around, irking everyone with snide remarks about improper running form and weapons handling. Even with all these attention-seeking efforts, most of the other departments forgot about Copy. However, after a verbal and physical surprise attack in the middle of the night on Science about why their weapons didn’t come from credible sources, Copy met their demise running off a cliff in their getaway.
Going into the games, the Layout Department had a big advantage. Somehow, they obtained the blueprints to the arena beforehand without the Capitol’s knowledge. Once the games began, Layout immediately went to a pre-scouted clearing and began work on a shelter. Of course, Layout was able to create a very aesthetically pleasing house, but it came with some downsides. The noise created by construction led A&E right to Layout’s base area. As they built, Layout tried to put on Phoebe Bridgers’s sophomore solo effort “Punisher” to pass the time but found themselves somewhat underwhelmed by the album. Highly offended and appalled by the Layout’s judgment, A&E bludgeoned the department to death with a hammer.
The Photography Department was physically quite prepared, thanks to hours of carrying heavy camera equipment that made them look like Noah Beck. Using their immense upper arm strength, they scaled the nearest tree to spy on enemies and potential targets. However, as fate would have it, their weak legs failed them, and they plummeted toward the ground. Luckily, they were not spotted and began their search for animals, not to consume, but to pose and decorate for portraits. After stopping to photograph a unique, absolutely breathtaking sunset, Art stabbed Photo from behind. Fortunately, Photo was able to grab their camera strap and strangle Art before they got away, stopping only to take a photo because Art looked “cute.”
The Art Department loved watching the Hunger Games and created fanart of all their favorite past contenders but had a greater appreciation for the natural beauty of the arena than the violence. With their keen eye for detail, they were skilled at camouflage and becoming one with the bushes. They also thought they could “become one” with the berries they found, though sadly, this match was not one made in heaven. Frantically trying to preserve their legacy, they painted a self-portrait on a nearby tree with their own blood. Then, they sought after Photo for a final, gruesome picture and went to the best viewpoint for the sunset, expertly knowing that this place would be where Photo was. Photo turned around, so Art thought it would be funny to stab them. It wasn’t. After being strangled and photographed in a strange series of events, Art decided to accept their end. With a dramatic monologue and scream, Art perished.