Seven-year-old to Alexa: Alexa, what’s Russian Roulette?
Alexa: Russian Roulette is a lethal game of chance in which a player places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and pulls the trigger, in the hope that the round does not reach the barrel of the gun and therefore fire…
(Parents walk into room and pause, horrified)
…in which case, your head is blown open, your brains and blood are scattered all over the room, and you’re dead.
Horrified Parents: Honey, why did you ask Alexa that?
Seven-year-old: Because at school today, Janey invited me to come over and play Exploding Kittens. She said it’s a kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette!
When Janey said that, she was simply echoing the words of Elan Lee, one of the creators of an apparent phenomenon that’s been around since 2015.
But I’d never hear of.
Until recently, when the words “Exploding Kittens” figured prominently in the headline of this New York Times article:
“Exploding Kittens” are also the first two words in the article.
All this caused me to pause and think…
The article goes on to say that due to the pandemic, Amazon began prioritizing products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, so “tens of thousands of customers were searching” for Exploding Kittens but couldn’t find it.
What the hell, I wondered, is Exploding Kittens?
I started at the source – explodingkittens.com – and watched a brief but enlightening video. The game is based on a deck of cards. Players take turns drawing from a deck of cards until…
“Whoever draws an Exploding Kitten card explodes, they are dead and they are out of the game.”
Well, that seems pretty straightforward.
If I’m lucky, on my first draw I’ll get an Exploding Kitten card, I’m out, and I can go do something even more challenging.
Change the stale air in my car tires, maybe?
The video goes on to suggest that players can develop “fun or cruel strategies,” and “The longer you play, the more tense the game gets.”
So – so far I can be dead, or cruel and tense.
My next stop was Amazon, where it appears that Exploding Kittens was, in fact, available, and was, in fact, recommended for “ages seven and up.”
There’s also an adult version for “ages 30 and up,” the description of which includes:
- Same Exploding Kittens madness, but with card art much too horrible/incredible to include in a kid-friendly version. Do NOT buy for children, unless you’re ready to have some weird conversations.
- More than 9 million copies sold, breaking records in kids games, adult games and everything in-between.
- A highly strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Basically, if you draw an Exploding Kitten, you lose and you are full of incendiary loser sad-sauce. If you don’t explode, YOU WIN! Congratulations, you are full of greatness!
So I could be dead, or cruel and tense, and “full of incendiary loser sad-sauce.”
And while I’m being all that, the Exploding Kittens creators are being millionaires.
This I learned in an enlightening article from CNBC:
The 2016 article noted,
“Over 2.5 million decks of Exploding Kittens have been ordered in one year at $20 apiece, meaning revenues are an estimated $50 million.”
Meaning that making seven-year-olds dead, or cruel and tense, and curious about Russian Roulette, has been very profitable from the get-go for the aforementioned creator Elan Lee and his co-creator Matt Inman.
But Lee and Inman aren’t resting on their laurels, or rather – their millions. They’ve gone on to create other games including Imploding Kittens, Streaking Kittens, Throw Throw Burrito, Bears vs. Babies and more.
But the one that especially caught my eye – and I’ve no doubt will catch the eyes of curious seven-year-olds – is this one:
Seven-year-old: Alexa, what are crabs?
Alexa: Crabs, also known as pubic lice, are parasitic insects that spread easily during sexual contact. They’re called “crabs” because of the tiny claws they use to cling to hair.
They live on the skin and coarse hairs that are around your genitals, and they feed on your blood. Crabs can cause discolored skin, with pale blue spots developing where the crabs have been feeding continually. In addition…