Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg’s cage match challenge has inspired a look back at the history of paintball, a sport that was inspired by the short story “The Most Dangerous Game”.
In 1924, author Richard Connell published his short story “The Most Dangerous Game” in which an American game hunter is shipwrecked on a Caribbean island, where General Zaroff — a wealthy man bored with life and hunting animals — hunts humans for sport.
In 1981, outdoorsman and author Charles Gaines and stockbroker Hayes Noel debated if a person could rely on natural drive to survive in the woods or if they needed to learn environment-specific tactics. To test their theory, they organized a game of “survival paintball” on Gaines’ property.
The game involved players hunting each other with CO2-powered guns and paint pellets. The first player to collect a set of flags marked on a map was the winner. The game was so much fun that Gaines, Noel, and ski shop manager Bob Gurnsey founded the National Survival Games (NSG), which sold a kit including a gun, pellets, and directions.
The NSG quickly became popular, and by 1988, it employed 100 people and made $10 million in annual sales. However, the company eventually went bankrupt due to too many competitors and personal injury lawsuits.
So, what does this have to do with Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg’s cage match challenge?
Well, perhaps the two billionaires could take a page out of the history of paintball and organize a game of “survival paintball”. It would be a more challenging and interesting way to settle their differences than a cage match, and it would be a lot of fun for spectators.
Of course, whether or not Musk and Zuckerberg would be willing to participate is another question entirely. But if they are looking for a way to entertain the public and raise money for charity, a game of “survival paintball” would be a great option.