It's Me, Dave!
It's Me, Dave, henceforth abbreviated to a more manageable IMD, is a simple, albeit sociopathic, game that requires nothing save a healthy dose of Chutzpah and a willingness to engage in behaviour that may well get you punched in the face.
A game of IMD can involve any number of participants from two up (you could theoretically play it with just one participant, but at that point you're just mad, scary, harassment bloke in the street) and a reasonably large area filled with pedestrians - a shopping mall or pedestrianised street would be ideal.
Playing The Game
Each player takes turns to be the "convincer". One other player should act as a timekeeper, timing the convincer's round. The other players should remain in an area where they can observe the convincer's round without interfering. (A good tip is for the other players to occupy an outdoor table at a coffee shop, with the convincer playing his round in the area immediately in front of them).
The convincer has two minutes to approach a member of the public and engage them in conversation. If this time limit is reached without the convincer engaging anyone in conversation, his turn is forfeit.
The convincer must begin the conversation with the phrase, "It's me, Dave!" Following on from that, he must attempt to convince the chosen pedestrian that he, the convincer, is a bloke called Dave who the pedestrian has met and conversed with in the past. (Perhaps at a social or work gathering that the pedestrian has since forgotten).
A skilled convincer will build on clues offered by the pedestrian in order to construct a false memory that the pedestrian will begin to remember.
Convincer: It's me, Dave! [Said in such a confident tone that the pedestrian can be in little doubt that they have in fact met, previously. The pedestrian will now be feeling that awful mix of terror and shame you get when you meet someone who knows you, but who you just can't quite place.]
Pedestrian: Hi, Dave! Er, wow. It's been, erm..?
Convincer: Yeah, it has been. Wow it must have been, last year, year before?
Pedestrian: Yeah, must have been. It was at the..?
Convincer: [Taking a gamble] ..the wedding?
Pedestrian: Pete and Charlotte's?
Convincer: Of course! That was it. Can't believe I forgot.
Pedestrian: No. Me neither.
And so on.
At some point, the pedestrian will either come to the realisation that they have never actually met the convincer, or will simply decide that they need to make their excuses and get on with whatever it was they were doing before they were stopped.
The timekeeper times the length of the conversation. Timing begins at the instant the convincer finishes uttering the phrase "It's me, Dave!" and ends when the pedestrian ends the conversation and walks away from the convincer. The convincer is allowed to take a maximum of three steps during the entire conversation, but other than that is not allowed to pursue the pedestrian.
Once the conversation has ended, the convincer will return to the waiting group and the next player will take their turn as convincer. The winner is the person who managed to engage their target pedestrian in conversation for the longest time.
There are two main areas of tactics in a game of IMD.
The first area concerns the selection of the pedestrian. You need to select someone who you think might be both susceptible to suggestion and conscious of polite etiquette. (i.e. Someone who you will be able to convince he's met you, and who will then feel a social obligation to talk to you).
The second area concerns the guidance of the conversation to create false memories. You can get tips here from watching professional psychics cast vague, open-ended suggestions to which the recipient can fill in specific details.
One variation is to allow the convincer to use a name other than Dave in his opening line, tailoring the name to the person chosen as the target. (This variation is especially helpful to female players, who may be at a disadvantage when having to begin their round by claiming to be called "Dave").
IMD can be played in teams of two. This can be especially handy with mixed couples, allowing you to target other (pedestrian) couples.
"It's Me, Pablo!"
IMD can be played in foreign countries, in the language of that country. This is an excellent way of testing and improving language skills, although it's probably best to establish the whereabouts of your own country's local embassy or consulate before beginning play.
1No, really. Don't.
Copyright © 2011 Jonny Nexus