Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Have you ever wanted to live inside a video game? Have you merely wanted to slap someone silly with a foam sword? Tonight, your time will come. It’s time for SWIL’s annual Pterodactyl Hunt. In the words of SWILie Michael Noda, you are invited to come “for the glory of God, Swarthmore and free pizza.”
For the uninitiated, the Pterodactyl Hunt is one of the largest events produced by the Swarthmore Warders of Imaginative Literature. The Hunt has a relatively long and presumably noble history of a decade or so. Though the Hunt’s mythos is drawn from a wide variety of fantasy books and other sources, the results are decidedly chaotic.
The game is open to anyone who wishes to play and a cape is not required. The players, called hunters, will gather at 7:00 p.m. in the Kohlberg Courtyard. The hunters work jointly, with the ultimate goal to “kill” the three pterodactyls (played by SWILies, of course) by knocking round targets from their large cardboard wings with swords. The dactyls, however, can kill hunters with their water guns by hitting their trash bag shields. “Dead” hunters must return to Hunt Central to receive a new sword. Victorious hunters receive the aforementioned free pizza.
Of course, it’s not that simple. Other monsters abound, such as turtles, orcs, hobgoblins, spondee (baby dactyls) and a few surprises. All must be killed in their own way. Andrew Brown ’07, one of the organizers, says it’s mostly about atmosphere “in the spirit of live action role playing games,” yet “there are a lot of people there to have fun – they like hitting each other with foam swords.” So why should one go to the Hunt? According to pterodactyl Jawaad Hussain ’05, it’s “the most fun you can have before 10:00 on a Friday night.” Mark Handler ’05 says “Keep it simple – kill people.” With a foam sword, of course.