Defining Battle Royal
It’s an old Asian movie in which teenagers are launched in an hostile island. There can only be 1 survivor. Note that there are thousands of weapons, guns and knifes on the island. The college men and girls have no other choice than to fight until death.
This movie is a beauty of violence, it shows survivalists at their finest.
It shows that when your life is endangered, you are able to hurt and even to kill to save it – ownership principle
This isn’t an anti-conformist or political opinion. This is the truth.
When the situation becomes a zero-sum game, you have no other choice than to kill or get killed.
This isn’t new.
We just don’t experience it daily.
In the past, it was common.
Men from different gangs had to fight to survive. If they didn’t win? They died. The other gang took their stuff and built stronger villages.
The winner won it all.
It’s not the case anymore, we live in an “educated” society in which you can’t knock at your neighbor home, threaten him and take all his stuff.
Nop, it doesn’t work like this anymore.
Our society is backed up by laws.
If you break the laws, you’ll get into trouble. Thus, you won’t take something by the force, you’ll rather earn it than being punished for getting it.
This wasn’t the case in this movie: Battle royal.
To get something, either you gathered it on the soil or you took it from someone else. The second options practically always meant a fight. The winner won it all, zero-sum game.
This practice attracts a lot of people. Proof? Another movie promoting this style got super popular: Hunger games.
As said, we lived like this in the past. I’m pretty sure that this explains why we are all interested in these movies and games which feature this “lifestyle”. While it’s not real anymore, this is an experience that we all want to have: survival against nature, against all.
Hunger games shows this.
An arena in which 24 young people have to kill each other to survive. There’s no other choice. Either you fight or you die. Again, a zero-sum game which promotes survival.
If you aren’t strong enough? You die.
If you cannot fight? You die.
If you don’t know how to gather resources? You die.
In every all cases, except winning, you die.
This scenario is terrible. It means that unless you are the very best from a strength and smart perspective, you will die.
Note that the strongest and smartest may not even win, he is only at advantage.
Imagine a team of two people fighting a single person, the single person need to be stronger and smarter than 2 opponents!
Being the smartest and strongest doesn’t qualify you for a win, it just enhances your chances of winning.
Hunger games featured survival at is finest. It showed thirst, damages and strength on its whole spectrum. This is what is more likely to happen in this case of scenario.
The difference with the original battle royale?
- No guns – in my memory
- Players had the choice at the beginning: Run away or play a risky game to loot some weapons
Battle royale in video games
Now we are left with Fortnite.
You already heard of this game, everyone is speaking of it right now.
You can hear conversations in the bus, at school, at work… even at the gym.
This game is based on the same principal as battle royale: A zero-sum game of 100 which is played on an island. The last one standing win.
The main differences with the movies is that we aren’t the spectators anymore, we can literally play the battle royal.
It’s one of the first game to promote this gameplay: A battle royale in a game.
There are some other games which are based on the same principle but let’s elude them.
In Fortnite you land on a desert island with 99 other players. The goal? Survive and kill. For this purpose, you can find dozens and dozens of weapons at different spot of the island. This promote war between the players to select the chosen one.
The main difference is that you are playing the battle royal, which is much more interesting than being a spectator.
You must ask yourself: Why is he speaking of this on his self-improvement website? I don’t see a correlation.
Patience dear reader, patience. I’m planting the scene.
Now let’s come to the best part of this article.
Why does battle royale matter?
Since the dawn of times we – men – are interested in fights.
Why? Because we are men. Men want to enlarge their territory, they want to conquer.
Why do you think that we are launching mission to the moon and to mars? Because it is funny? Heck no, we are humans, we are conquerors.
You may not experience it on a daily basis depending on who you are.
But never forget it, we are conquerors. Humans are tailored to fight, again and again.
The “problem” with our modern society is that we cannot fight anymore.
Try to throw a punch at a stranger in the street, you’ll get arrested by the police.
We cannot fight anymore.
The sole places which enable the combat to happen are dojos.
That’s where violence meets its partisans.
As a fighter, you must have a relationship with violence.
Some hate it.
Some enjoy it.
But no one is indifferent to violence.
The stronger you are, the more you enjoy it as you know that you can easily win with violence. It gives you a status.
Where does it comes from?
They are all linked.
Being strong means improving your odds in similar games.
Being tough, being smart are also huge advantages even if they aren’t shown like this.
In our game of battle royal, the more trained you are, the more likely you are to win against your opponent.
Let’s say that you are 2 times stronger than every other player. You optimize your chances of winning by being able to beat most players in a one on one fights.
Let’s say that you are 2 times smarter than every other player. You optimize your chances of winning by not taking part in useless fights. Let’s say that you have a ½ chance of winning each fight. The less fights you get in, the higher your chance of winning are. Survival at its finest!
Let’s say that you are 2 times toughest than every other player. You optimize your chances of winning by surviving more efficiently than any other player. If you can find a way to drink well no one else can, then you can survive longer. The longer you survive, the more your opponents will get thirsty and maybe will starve.
Remember, being the strongest doesn’t guarantee a win in this situation.
In fact, it doesn’t guarantee you anything except that you have an advantage in some fights.
The same goes on for every advantage that you can take.
Becoming the player
Now, I want you to imagine being in one of these games.
Not exactly, remember how they all started? A dystopia. Something that can actually happen.
Don’t make this head. A war, a survival scenario and you take part in these types of games.
It may sound horrible, but these scenarios already happened, and more than once.
I want you to imagine that you *unfortunately* have to take part of the game.
What would you do if you didn’t train for it? Well, you’ll get killed in minutes because you aren’t strong, you aren’t tough and you aren’t smart. Not an insult, if you didn’t train any of these in a case of survival, you won’t get near a player who optimized his chances of win.
What would you do if you trained for it? You’ll first make sure to clear all the territory near you. You’ll gather as much food and water as possible to stay healthy for as long as possible. Then you’ll have to take down any possible opponent.
Being smart, you already know what to do: Always engage in a fight in which you have advantage. If you see someone with a better weapon than you, either you run away or play sneaky to get the kill before he notices you. Otherwise you are most likely to get killed than anything else.
It’s a zero-sum game.
Either you win all, or you lose it all.
If you trained for this scenario, you have nothing to worry about.
You’ll be ahead of most people who do nothing more than watching TV daily, eating crap and complaining the whole day.
I want you to imagine this scenario becoming real.
Out of a huge crisis, no one is safe anymore. Most people died of starvation and thirst. There aren’t much people left on earth, 90% of the global population was eradicated. Luckily you found a way to survive in your shelter until today. You wake up in a totally different society. It’s not a society anymore. You are here, in the middle of your city. You know that others survivors are out there, running to find weapons to claim their territory and gather food. In extreme crisis time, help isn’t welcomed. It’s one for each and each for one. To survive you will have to fight, to be the last man standing.
It’s a weird scenario that I just made up.
It’s close to the original battle royal. Except that you are alone against the world in this case.
What would give you an edge over your competitors?
Skills. More than benefiting from items and goods, having a lot of skills will surely help you stand out in the crowd.
Being an amazing swimmer will give you an edge. There are plenty of lakes and rivers everywhere in the world. Not counting oceans and seas. Swimming may get you from point A to point B faster than walking and will even give you access to some islands.
Being bigger than the average Joe. The average Joe is… average. Not muscular, skinny fat. He doesn’t lift nor does he play any sport except laying on the couch while watching the TV. Technically it’s not even a sport. Being stronger than him, and as strong as possible will ensure that you will have as much possibilities as you can to apply your will on your environment, which is super important in a survival scenario. Plus, it gives you an amazing in any fights. Usually the strongest wins the fight, not the weakest.
Knowing how to fight. In this scenario you will have to fight for your life. Robbers may try to kill you to loot your food or your weapons. You aren’t safe from a fight. Being big is cool. Knowing how to use your strength at your advantage is even better. Any lesson from MMA to boxing will help you in this case. Knowing how to punch someone, how to handle punches and how to not give up for anything are strong values.
Fasting is a useful skill to master. Chances are that you won’t eat as much as you want playing this game. Food is rare in a crisis environment. It means more fights for the resources. Or simply a fast if you are talented enough. Don’t get me wrong, fasting is a skill in itself. Try to fast for more than 24 hours, if you didn’t train you won’t hold your hunger for more than 16 hours. You don’t believe me? Try it. Being able to go without eating for long amounts of time isn’t a negligible skill in a tough environment.
Trap making. In your survival quest many other will run after you. Not to be nice, but to break you in order to steal all you have, remember it’s a zero-sum game. When you will sleep, and you will, they will come to kill you. You have two solutions. Either you don’t sleep: Impossible. Or you craft traps. The goal of these traps is to defend yourself when you can’t because you are eating/sleeping/not ready to fight. While those may not be lethal, being able to craft some traps never hurts. Plus, it may serve you to catch some animals.
Moving. Dumb? Not exactly. In a war environment, every sound can cause your death. Your position is vital, the hardest it is to discover you, the longer you’ll survive. To do so you must be sure that you can move without a noise. Running will alert other survivors. Walking or crouching is safer. Your life depends on the sounds you make. Moving without giving any information is powerful. Imagine being in this scenario and spotting a fire camp. What would you do? Rush it without making a noise. Surprise can always change a fight.
Knowing the map. By map I mean the world around you. If you have no clue where you can find water/food, you are doomed. Without those you won’t survive an eternity. Having a clear map of your environment in your head is helpful. You will know the shortest path from A to B. You will have the locations of potential shelters, food and water. Plus, you will know how to get an edge over your opponent’s using the terrain. Always have a plan ahead of you.
Cooking and knowing what to eat. In a dangerous environment you will have to care what you eat. Getting sick isn’t an option. You have to care, to taste in order to prevent such a thing. Médicaments aren’t found at every corner, they are rare. If you get sick, you’ll get into trouble as you’ll be weaker for several days or weeks. Being weak isn’t an option in a survival scenario. You’d better care what you eat. Remain healthy by knowing which food is healthy and which isn’t. Know how to build a fire camp and necessities to remain alive.
Surviving: the only real goal
Come back to the reality. Your neighbor won’t try to kill you for a steak. Hopefully. You aren’t in the survival scenario anymore.
Back to the real world.
What did this article teach me?
Surviving is the first goal of each and every human. If we cannot survive, then we have to fight to earn this right at all costs.
We live in a world which features an unlimited amount of food and water for practically nothing at every corner of every street. Groceries shop are everywhere, it’s becoming impossible to starve in a big city, while in our simulation you have to fight in order to gather some foods.
Zero-sum games are mean. They do not forgive any error. We live in our daily comfort and aren’t aware of it.
Most of us wouldn’t survive a single day in a battle royal.
It brings back some old instincts. The law of the strongest.
Most humans are weak. They don’t have muscles. Worst, some are fat. Do you know what a fat person is in a scenario like this one? An easy prey. The stronger you are, the more likely you are to survive.
Comfort isn’t anything. Living comfortably and being rich doesn’t give you any kind of advantage in a survival game. Chances are that those people won’t stand a day if they aren’t mean and lean.
It brings back equality. All humans become mortals once again. Living old would be an achievement in itself.
P.S. There is another movie on the same theme which takes place on a working environment: Check the Belko experience if you are interested.