It’s the semifinals of Internet League Blaseball’s fourth Season. The New York Millennials, down 2-1 in a best-of-five series against the Chicago Firefighters, are looking for a finals rematch against reigning champion Hades Tigers. Millennials’ star-hitter-and-rumored-vampire Thomas Dracaena steps into the box. He hits a ground out to Firefighters’ Edric Tosser.

Time freezes.

You’ve read this story correctly so far, and you haven’t warped into an alternate dimension, either. This is just one event in the wide history of the cultural event of “Blaseball”, a free online “splort” simulation video game created by The Game Band. On the surface, “Blaseball” seems simple: players digitally bet on simulated matches between absurd teams, and use the coins they earn from betting to cast votes on Decrees and Blessings that change the look of the teams and the rules of the game itself.

But “Blaseball”’s lore is where it really shines: absurdist, terrifying, and comedic, the in-game writing leaves a nigh-infinite amount of gaps, which fans have filled in by creating over 1000 articles on the game’s unofficial wiki. Every player is designed, every location is detailed, and every team has a culture. “It’s crazy to see how this has all grown,” said Millennials fan Gary Paiz. “What each individual team has come up with is incredible.” Fans even gather to watch games live in “Blaseball”’s official Discord messaging channel, where they turn glitches into historic events.

For the 29 minutes and 39 seconds the game was frozen, according to fan caches, that messaging channel was chaos. Fans began spamming “Thomas Dracaena hit a ground out to Edric Tosser”, the only information available to them clouding out any attempt at discussion. According to Firefighters fan Jaime Chaney, some fans blamed Dracaena for the time stop. Others blamed Firefighters’ pitcher-with-a-cannon-arm Axel Trololol. Others still blamed the ground itself. The game’s official Twitter account posted about Feedback, an event that indicated two players had switched teams, leading fans to speculate about which two had swapped. Umpires, known for incinerating in-game players, began spamming backslashes, dashes, and encoded Lovecraft quotes in the general and Millennials chats, as if something in the world itself had torn asunder. “Chat was really wildly into it,” said Jaime. “It was hectic, but chill at the same time.”

That’s not to mention the top-of-the-ninth tension. “It was a big game, it was a tense one, and then the whole thing locks up,” said Tigers fan Levi Squier. “Blaseball”’s community had turned a simple bug into a stunning event. “I didn’t know how to feel,” said Paiz. “It almost felt purposeful.”

“Blaseball”’s big moments don’t last long, are almost exclusively determined by random chance, and are frequently horrific. Seasons are plagued by random incinerations, blood baths, and gods in the shape of peanuts. A post-time-freeze Millennials rally brought the series to a Game Five, which began only eight minutes later. Despite the constant cosmic terror, players aren’t allowed a break. The game must go on.

But if nothing else, the fans are in control of the story. As for how to explain what happened on Day 108 of Season Four: “If you were to ask about that, I would tell you Thomas Dracaena hit a ground out to Edric Tosser,” said Squier. — Quint Iverson

Photo: Each Blaseball season is a week long, with games every hour.

Sponsored
Writer | + posts

Quint Iverson is a rising senior at Pacific University, taking a leave of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a major in Film and Journalism who enjoys writing about arts and entertainment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *