• The Most Most Dangerous Game Contest -- Results Post

    Well, guys, you did it! You fought, you loved, you lived... And you played the More Most Dangerous Game out to its end. It’s been a long and crazy road for all of us, with some 92 submissions from 92 talented and dedicated authors. We may never know how many judges lost their souls in the process of reading all of these entries, but rest assured, it was probably quite a few. More important than that, though, is the fact that we’re finally done with the judging, and now, at last, we have the winners of the More Most Dangerous Game.

    First up, I just wanna drop big thanks to all of you for making this game possible. Everyone who submitted an entry to this contest, read a story, offered a prize, or judged their butts off reading entries. You guys are the real MVP. You may have to fight each other in gladiatorial combat in order to discover who is truly the more most valuable player, but I just want to tell you all now that you’re all at least most valuable.

    Onto horsewords!

    The Entries

    For those interested in checking out all of the entries submitted to this contest (and I very much recommend doing so, as there were quite a few gems that didn’t quite make it to the final round), you can check out the complete list of entries here.

    Honorable Mentions

    For the entries that didn’t quite make the top ten, but still found a place in the judges’ cold, foreboding hearts:

    Sins of The Father, by Grand_Moff_Pony

    Jake — My fellow judges derided this one for lengthy exposition, bordering on info dump, but that’s why I loved it. It felt exactly like that scene near the end of a murder mystery when the villain is laying out their motives, right before the good guy swoops in and saves the day... except he doesn’t. The ending was pitch perfect for the style it was emulating. It tickles that same nerve that Tales From The Crypt did back in the day, the giddy-yet-unnerving feeling of watching someone lose hope, which is exactly the point of Cupcakes... aside from the torture porn, obviously. Any fans of the horror or thriller genres should give this a read. You won’t be disappointed.

    Arcadia, by Blueshift:

    BP – It dropped out early in the contest for reasons I don’t fully comprehend, but Blueshift’s Arcadia would certainly have made my top ten had things gone differently. This story has a strange vibe—switching rapidly between dark and comedic, but never really mixing the two—that is confusing at best when you’ve just begun reading. As the story continues, though, said vibe starts to seem more and more appropriate. By the end of this story, you’re left with a completed puzzle that you didn’t start out knowing you were assembling, and most everything that at first seemed ridiculous comes out looking brilliant. It’s more than worth your time.

    Beatrix, Harbinger of Annoyance, by TheBrianJ:

    RazgrizS57 — It’s worth mentioning that, as a finalist, this story was just barely squeaked out of the Top 10 by a couple of a points. Its a great comedic twist on Past Sins where a filly Trixie ends up in the care of Twilight, and if Trixie is so arrogant as a mare, then her younger self is, well, unbearably annoying. Shenanigans rightfully ensue when Twilight does her best to restrain this insane filly. While the story could use some mechanical refining, its essence never lets up, delivering bursts of comedy and absurdity on a consistent basis. It may be a bit much, but it’s nothing short of enjoyable.

    Save the Records, by TheBandBrony:

    ROBCakeran53 — There were a few uniquely written fics in this competition, but this was the only one that relied on music accompaniment to really grasp its depth. It was a different look on a post-apocalyptic world, focusing on an aspect of life that many would have forgotten had it not been for the protagonist. Even more so, the music the author links for accompaniment and how he breaks it up set such a good atmosphere when reading. The protagonist’s attitude and outlook on how he shares the records is well done. This is definitely a unique fic in its own regard, and worth a read regardless if you listen to the music with it or not.

    A Darker Shade of Pink, by FanOfMostEverything:

    JohnPerry — This story was exactly what I had hoped for when I read the Cupcakes prompt: a story about Pinkie Pie revealing a dark secret, but one that does so without resorting to blood and guts. The inventive worldbuilding is where this story truly shines, but credit also has to be given to FanOfMostEverything’s portrayal of Pinkie, which feels true to the show in spite of the dark secret revealed. I highly recommend this story to anyone looking for an interesting take on everyone’s favorite hyperactive party pony (who isn’t voiced by Weird Al).

    The Winners

    Tenth Place: 34 points

    Life in the Wasteland, by NorsePony

    Alexstrazsa — When it comes to characterization and worldbuilding, look no further than Life in the Wasteland. NorsePony crafts an amazing world from the ashes of the Equestria we know, turning it into a harsh, magic devoid wasteland that only the bravest can traverse. It follows a wonderful cast of characters, all with different talents and personalities, as they survive a war-torn Equestria on a quest to restore it to its former glory. Overall, it’s a great revisualization of Fallout: Equestria, and in truth, the worst part of this story is that it ends.
    Description: Two hundred years after a war that broke the world, a squad of soldiers travels across a blasted and hostile land on a mission for the future of Equestria. But they encounter a new kind of foe in the Wasteland that could endanger that very future.

    Ninth Place: 42 points

    There is Another Sky, by Lambent Dream

    ROBCakeran53 — Like most everyone else, I was amazed how well this was able to combine two of the prompts, whether it be intentional or not. Regardless, since it was published as a MLD prompt, I must look at it that way, and boy howdy was it a MLD prompt. Ignoring MLD’s obvious flaws, this story was able to take the root values of MLD and spin them in an entirely different way, all the while having the same final outcome. That kind of satisfaction that the protagonist did what he/she felt was right in order to protect the pony in his/her charge. The extra character building near the end only added more depth to just what kind of character the protagonist was before… well, lets just say the inevitable ending.

    Description: In another world, Answer Jim was just Jim: the janitor for a school in Salt Lake City's suburbs. In the current one, he ekes out a living collecting scrap and food, barely holding back the gray that eats the world and everything in it. Even souls.

    But he finds a precious treasure in a box. A brown box in a world of gray. Inside that box is color, and life, and a warm summer breeze. Inside, is a filly who calls herself Celestia.

    She's more than she seems.

    Eighth Place: 60 points

    The Cup Cake Killer, by SaddlesoapOpera

    Obselescence — One fairly prominent criticism of Cupcakes stories and their like is that the Pinkie they portray just doesn’t feel like Pinkie. In stories like these, “Pinkie Pie” isn’t the party-crazy pink pony we all know and love, so much as a criminally insane sadist who merely looks like Pinkie Pie. The Cup Cake Killer is well aware of this problem, and subverts the trope beautifully. To say how, exactly, would spoil it, but rest assured that this story knows exactly what it’s doing with Pinkie Pie’s character, and manages to craft a narrative that both pays homage to its source, and delivers a whopping twist.

    Description: Ponyville is shaken to its core when everypony's favourite pink party-pony is revealed to be a murderer.
    Her friends struggle to deal with the staggering revelation as all of Equestria turns its focus on the little town to learn more about the now infamous Cup Cake Killer...

    Seventh Place: 63 points

    The Mailmare

    Pen Stroke — This story explores wonderfully what a simple thing can do to bring a sense of happiness, a sense of civilization back to a war-torn world. Derpy features well in the main role of this story, and each letter she delivers and receives seems to heal the world around her bit by bit. But I believe the strongest part of the story is when Derpy, at the moment she is about to give up her task, gets a chance to feel what its like to be on the other end of the mail delivery.  

    Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

    Description: Derpy just wants to bring ponies their mail. She doesn't actually believe she can do anything to help stitch an Equestria torn to pieces by war back together.

    She's wrong.

    Sixth Place: 69 points

    Second Singularity, by dayoldspaghetti

    Jake the Army Guy — This is one of those stories that starts off so benign, but quickly turns on you. The jarring scene shifts, at first annoying, become both horrifying and enthralling once you grasp the full context. The story of Lyra’s progression from curious filly to obsessed professor—disjointed as it is—is organic and realistic, and seeing her go all “Doctor Frankenstein” was a real treat. The ending is quite dark, but it perfectly fits with the overall tone. Speaking as a guy who generally hates tragic endings, this was beautifully grim. All in all, an expertly crafted thriller, one that really nails the spirit of this contest.

    Description: All her life, Professor Lyra Heartstrings has passionately sought scientific proof for the existence of "human" beings, a technologically-advanced race of sentient creatures who theoretically ruled the world in a time before ponies.  But now that Lyra stands upon the brink of Equestria's most important anthropological discovery, she's haunted with the gnawing thought that not all projects that begin should necessarily be finished.

    Fifth Place: 73 points

    Plural Possessive, by Aquaman

    JohnPerry — Besides being a superb take on the Past Sins prompt, this story is just fun, plain and simple. Aquaman displays an excellent grasp on comedic timing and offers plenty of laugh out loud lines, but at the same time never loses sight of his characters, making this story surprisingly grounded for all its silliness. Anyone looking to write comedy should take note.

    Description: The plan, he thought, was perfect. Instead of returning to the mortal world as a shade of his former self, King Sombra would transmute his soul into the body of his greatest foe, using her influence and power to destroy Equestria from the inside and take vengeance on the Princesses that stole his beloved empire.

    There's just one problem: after her fight with Tirek, Twilight Sparkle changed her address. This turns out to be a much bigger problem than Sombra thought. A Dinky-Doo-sized problem, to be precise.

    Fourth Place: 76 points

    Happy Birthday, Dear Twilight, by Pascoite

    GAPJaxie — I never thought I would like a Cupcakes story. I hate gore, I hate abusing our little ponies, and I hate stories that equate mental illness with slashers. And it’s for all those reasons that I love Happy Birthday, Dear Twilight. This is a story that is acutely aware of how powerful its subject matter is, and like a chef with a concentrated spice, uses only the lightest touch to great effect. I felt the horror and pain of the characters, and the story managed to surprise me at several points with its unique take on the premise. Excellent reading for Cupcakes fans and wilting flowers alike.

    Description: Pinkie has a secret. So far, she's kept it from everyone, but Twilight can tell that something's wrong with her. So she offers what vague support she can… until Pinkie takes her into the basement to show her.

    Third Place: 77 points

    The Motion of the Stars, by Carabas

    Professor Plum — While Fallout: Equestria featured a lot of dark, plenty of grim, and twists in ways that things weren’t meant to twist, what some people miss about the story is, at it’s very core, it’s about hope.  “The world’s dead, but we’re not, and we might just be able to fix things”.

    TMotS nails that feeling perfectly, as well as an interesting world, and damn good characterisation of Rarara and Best Filly.  11/10 would pone again
    Description: Once upon a time, Equestria burned in the fires of war.

    Now it falls on two sisters to reclaim what they can.

    Second Place: 80 points

    A Diamond and a Tether, by PatchworkPoltergeist

    Burraku Pansa — PathworkPoltergeist’s A Diamond and a Tether was nearly perfect in terms of this contest, to me. Rather than attempting to throw all of its weight into a clever interpretation of the contest prompt, the effort here went into improving the original story that inspired it. Most every flaw from the original My Little Dashie has been excised, most every contrivance given a larger meaning and worked into the plot—and all of this while keeping the focus on the (better developed) emotional conflict. Whether you liked MLD or you thought it needed improving, A Diamond and a Tether delivers.

    Description: Heiress Lucy Burdock knows life has a way of surprising you.

    For example, she wasn't expecting a little pink pony for her birthday. She certainly didn't expect it to start talking, either. It was cute at first, but it kinda feels more like taking care of a little kid than a pony. Lucy's never really been great with kids... but she can make it work!

    Can't she?

    First Place: 86 points

    A World Without Kindness

    RazgrizS57 — I believe a story is only as strong as its characters. No matter how lovingly crafted a world, rarely can one ever stand to support itself. This is a story that not only provides great setting and atmosphere, but its characters are rich and very much themselves, despite the story twisting them with its altered universe. It’s a dreary, unsettling world, spun off of a what-if where the Mane Six initially failed to stop Nightmare Moon, and I had face thrust into my monitor the entire time, eagerly waiting for it all to unravel. Seeing Flutterbat given real use was just icing on the cake. This is the kind of story I live for; it’s a thrilling adventure that is well deserving of our top spot.

    The war between Nightmare Moon and Princess Celestia has destroyed Equestria, leaving the few survivors to struggle to survive in a dying world of eternal twilight. Fluttershy, twisted by the war, now ekes out an existence in Everfree forest but even that life is under threat. Twilight Sparkle is coming, leading the last army of Dawn, and she will let nothing stop her from retrieving the Elements of Harmony and saving the world; not even old friends.

    And the winner of our random Derpy plushie: Chill, by FloydienSlip! Congratulation! A winner is you!

    And with that, I think we’re just about done here. Thanks again to all of y’all for participating and making this dream possible.

    Congratulations to everyone who won a prize, and to everyone who entered this contest in the first place. Your sacrifice to the dark gods from the Netherbeyond is greatly appreciated.

    See y’all next time!

    —Obselescence withdraws coolly