Virtual survivor game born from quarantine

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Deanna Wright

Back in March when students were sent home due to COVID-19, the now-juniors Jack Wilkens and Kristi Bono started discussing what it would be like if their friends and classmates were on CBS’s “Survivor.”

 “I said, let’s do it and we just started planning our own version of remote survivor,” Bono said. 

Wilkens and Bono invited 18 of their friends to play in the first season, which took place throughout quarantine and into the beginning of the summer. 

The season was 52 days altogether with the 18 players being divided into three tribes: tribe Frank, tribe Lloyd, and tribe Wright. These tribes were decided by the two and put into different GroupMes. 

The three tribes competed in different virtual challenges throughout the season. Some challenges included Game Pigeon games against opposing tribes to team work activities. Just like in the actual show “Survivor,” whichever tribe lost the challenge would then go to tribal council to vote off one of their own tribe members. 

“We were only able to do season two because of the overwhelming success of season one,” Wilkens said. “We thought it would just be a funny little social experiment, but they got so into it, and made it so fun!” 

In season one, “Survivor: Quarantine,” players had to pay a $1 entrance fee to play and the winner won $20. However, season two, “Survivor: Double or Nothing,” the players had to pay $2 to play and the winner this time around won $40. 

Unlike the first season, season two had 16 new players with them being split up in two tribes. The tribe names also changed to Hatari and Kamari for the new season. The players are on the virtual island for 39 days this time around. 

Each season so far has had the players create content with confessions or thoughts for what was happening in the game using mini vlogs. For each episode, Wilkens and Bono edited the mini vlogs together to make a comprehensive 10-15 minute episode for the people or friends who wanted to watch but not participate in the game. 

“We often got really good content, lots of comical/creative videos that made the episodes really enjoyable both to edit and watch,” Wilkens said. 

All of the players had dedication and took the game seriously, which made it interesting for the hosts and the viewers to watch  back, according to Wilkens.

“The fun part was pulling off blindsides while being strategic,” winner of season two and junior Morgan McDermott said. 

Even though the host and the players had a great time competing, it could be challenging at times for some of the players. 

“I remember one night we had a double elimination and I had a test the next morning and I had to do the challenge for the night in Tutu’s. My ally went home that night so it was super sad,” McDermott said. 

With the success of both seasons, Wilkens and Bono have already started planning to host another season as early as mid-December and plan to hopefully have up to five seasons all together. Many of their friends, former contestants, fans, and friends of friends are super interested in playing this virtual survivor. 

“I think we plan to change a few aspects for the next season to keep players and fans on their toes,” Bono said. 

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