The following is transcribed from a conversation between my friend, identified as SK, and myself, identified as GK.
SK: I want to tell you about a game I have been playing with my buddies at college called “Beerio Kart”. It’s a drinking game that involves the video game “Mario Kart” and is super competitive. So the basic objective of the game is to be the first player to finish the race while at the same time finishing his/her beer. However the catch is that you must completely stop driving and drop your controller while you’re drinking the beer as it is illegal to drink and drive. So the game becomes pretty strategic because of this rule.
GK: So what’s the best strategy for this game?
SK: It really depends. I usually do all the driving first, so I know how much time I have to chug the beer. However, I have friends who will chug at the very beginning so they could play from behind the whole race and get the best items in the game because of it. There are also people who will take stops after each lap to drink the beer at a steady pace while keeping up with the other opponents in the Mario Kart race. I would say my strategy is the best, but to each their own.
Background: The informant knows of this game from college. He says that his roommate during his freshman year taught him the game, and that they would often play with the other guys in his dorm. Due to the fact that the new Mario Kart is on the Nitendo Switch, up to eight people could play at once. The game serves as a fun way for the informant and his friends to compete with one another while drinking.
Context: The informant and I discussed this game over Face Time.
My Thoughts: This game, in my opinion, serves as a great way to compete with friends while at the same time expanding the entertainment of Mario Kart even further. The courses start to get boring after a while, so adding a whole new aspect to the game really spices things up. It also illustrates the rise in popularity that video games have taken amongst the college demographic. For the longest time, I always thought video games were mainly played by children, and when they were played by adults, that those people were weird. However, with the creation of platforms such as Twitch, video games being played by older people have become more acceptable in society. I also believe that the multiplayer aspect that the Nintendo Switch offers makes the game more appealing to college students living in a dorm because they can compete with one another easily.
Informant – “Kilachand Hall is supposedly haunted. That’s where the honor students live. It used to be a hotel. The most famous resident was a playwright named Eugene O’Neill. There was also another famous writer there who won a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer or something. I don’t know. But anyways, O’Neill died in this hotel. And BU bought the building and turned it into a dormitory. Strange things have been going on on the fourth floor ever since, cause that’s where he lived. Apparently he died there. Lights inexplicably dim. Elevators stop working and open on the fourth floor for no reason. There are knocks on the door when no one is outside.”
Informant – “I heard it on my college tour. It makes me not what to live there haha.”
Eugene O’Neill did in fact die in Kilachand Hall (formerly known as Shelton Hall). I think this legend is popular because it is a reminder that a famous person died in the building. It adds panache to the idiosyncrasies of an old building.
The informant is an 18-year-old college student attending university in Hawaii. She was born and raised in the Bay Area, California, but has a great deal of family living in Hawaii who she visited frequently when growing up. While I was on a hike with the informant in San Ramon, California over spring break, she was describing her dorm to me and began to tell the story of how it came to be haunted.
“I live in a dorm called Moki Hana on campus. I first heard of the ghost from my RA, he told us about it on the first day we moved in. There’s a closet on my floor on the side of the bathroom with a sink in it that is used as a janitor’s closet. In the 80s a freshman hung himself in that closet, on my floor, and his ghost haunts the tower. The Resident Assistants have to stay in the dorms over the summer and one night one of them felt a really sharp pain on her chest and couldn’t get up, and she refused to sleep in the dorms for a few weeks. You’re not supposed to sleep with your feet to the door because it’s a way for spirits to enter your body. Also nobody will go to the bathroom during witching hour because they don’t want to encounter him. I just try to be respectful when I’m talking about it, especially if I’m in the dorms. Anywhere on campus or in the local vicinity they call the dorm ‘Moki Haunted.’”
In this ghost story, a tragic event that actually took place in the Moki Hana dormitory, the suicide of a freshman student, is transformed into a persistent haunting that affects any student who lives in the dorms. Upon hearing of this, I was reminded of previous conversations that I have had with the informant in which she has emphasized that Hawaii has an extensive history of spirituality, and I believe that this coupled to the sense of isolation and unfamiliarity that many college freshman face when moving to an island away from home serves to amplify the fear instilled within the students who are placed in Moki Hana dorm. The informant’s Resident Adviser may or may not believe in the ghost, but I think that his purpose in informing the freshman who live in the haunted dorm about it is in part to make them aware, but moreso to provide a sense of unity among the residents and as a way of initiating them into the dorm, as for the year they live in Moki Hana the common fear of encountering or upsetting the ghost of the student who committed suicide there will function to bring the residents together.