UBC Rec’s Versus event, though video game-themed, was a nerd's worst nightmare: physical competition. Mario Versus is the latest trial of strength, endurance and who can eat the most ‘shrooms. It's the third year the event has taken place, with a different theme every year. Last year was the Hunger Games, the year before Zombies and this time it's Mario Party.
The teams were randomly selected from a large pool of volunteers, and each group is named after a different character from the Mario universe. There was some downtime at the start, so everyone was given a chance to get to know each other before the brawl began. Halfway through the opening ceremony Bowser kidnaps the princess. Undaunted, the teams race to their challenges, spread out around campus.
The first event was Mario Kart; the track was the UBC fountain. Racers had to push themselves around with chopped off ends of hockey sticks, dodging obstacles and other racers, before switching out with another member of their team. The challenge was not as easy as leaning into your turns while clenching a greasy GameCube controller; expletives were heard and insults were thrown like red shells. Racing conditions were cold are windy, but the intrepid karters were unflinching in their dedication to saving the princess. If drivers managed to find a coin, they could hang onto it for later.
Other challenges and coins were won as the night progressed: in front of Koerner's library was Super Smash Bros., where balloons were tied to players' ankles, and the teams have to pop each other's balloons to win. There are no rules here, just like the video game, except for "don't be a dick,” which is not so much like the video game.
The math building was Donkey Kong country -- some degenerate Kremlings tore up a picture, and the teams have to reassemble the picture to win. The classic Luigi's Mansion makes an appearance as well, where players are tasked with completing various challenges in the dark and fighting ghosts.
The final battle between all the teams culminated at Bowser's Castle, a multiple-part competition. Teams could use their hard-earned coins to buy power ups, without any knowledge of what they'd do. Some power ups helped or hindered others -- and one did nothing at all. The task was simple: win a one-legged relay race while dodging fireballs, solve a puzzle, throw pudding at Boo and kill Bowser with a ton of balls. In the end, Team Toad emerged victorious. The real work here was done by the UBC Rec team though: from leading icebreakers, to guiding volunteers or dressing up as Bowser, they were on point the whole night.