Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette has become a popular and dicey phenomenon in American culture. The dangerous game of chance involves passing a revolver with one loaded chamber between however many participants there are, holding the gun to your head and squeezing the trigger. This process has obvious implications and it becomes very clear that being the winner is literally life or death. Russian Roulette has appeared in movies, books, games, and even in real-life scenarios all throughout the 20th century, however, despite the seemingly telling name, nobody knows where it originated.
As the name suggests the largest belief is that it started in Russia in the early nineteenth century. The prevailing legend is that Russian soldiers would force prisoners to play with them and make bets on the outcome, these games were most likely rigged from the start. Other stories indicate that the game originated form an earlier game called cuckoo where one Russian soldier would stand on a table in a dark room and the other soldiers would yell cuckoo as the solider on the table would try to shoot them based on the sound of their voice. This seems more like a very dangerous variation to marco polo.
The government issued Russian side arm from 1895 to 1930 (roughly the time of the origin of the legend) was the double-action revolver Nagant (www.roulette4fun.com). These were ideal for the game. However any revolver will suffice. This game is not intended for magazine fed weapons or automatic weapons of any sort, nor is it advised period.
Despite all the speculation on the origin of Russian Roulette there is no documentation to support these claims. Therefore, the origins of this dangerous duel may very well forever be shrouded in mystery. However, I think that it is very likely that it did evolve from these tales and that this game may have been a torture mechanism for terrified prisoners of war.

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