Life is a series of identity cards

Nerve is a game where you take on the role of either a watcher or player.

Players have to accept or reject a dare. But if they refuse, they are out of the game, and Nerve will take their money [including their online identity].

Watchers are anonymous spectators who can decide the dares for players to perform. Dares are created and voted on anonymously by watchers in a twisted form of democracy. Players must act or risk losing everything, or die, trying…….

Being a watcher, you take on the role of a spectator, like when you’re at a sports game or watching theatre; however, you can directly affect the player’s life through deciding the dares they perform or anonymously intervening in the players challenges.

There are no limits to the dares because it can involve murder, assault, stealing.

Also, footage and evidence are swept under the authority figures’ awareness, like local police, because Nerve can infiltrate the security of platforms that hold identity data because of the given rules below.

So the story begins with Vee, a high school graduate, on a journey to prove to her friend, Sydney, that she is not timid about life. 

Her anger is fanned over a crush that she barely even knows whom her friend tries to talk to for her. Her friend Sydney had made a point about how Vee won’t ever be a player because she lives life by the rules and through comfort.

Vee is an introvert, Sydney is an adrenaline junkie. So Vee, following her emotions, takes off on a bike and screams whilst Melanie Martinez’s SOAP plays in the background. And she feels infuriated, wanting the embarrassment of the day to wade away. Remembering Sydney’s words, she logs onto the dark web onto Nerve; even though formerly she advised Sydney that the game looks dodgy, she wants to make her point. 

The rules of the game are:

  1. All dares must be filmed on the phone
  2. There are two ways to be eliminated. FAIL or BAIL.
  3. Snitches get stitches

Players who follow the dares and complete it will receive cash and fame but are on a never-ending journey to keep playing with no exit until death or leaving, where leaving means that you lose everything.

Nerve has access to all the player’s identities and accounts and mines in this data to formulate dares. Nerve can wipe off a player’s bank account if it pleases and operates on a dark web. If life was a series of identity passes and cards stored online, Nerve’s tentacles could reach it and rid it.

Nerve continues and has no end because any individual user with the game on the phone is the server, making it difficult to shut down the game. However, it is difficult for players to quit Nerve without any consequences, so they must keep playing if they want to hold on to their lives and have a time limit to accept the dares.

With the era of online content creators, the goal in these platforms is to create followers and traffic, which will help content creators to build an income. Unfortunately, this creates an environment where people want to post stuff to receive instant gratification from likes and followers. It is a quick segue-way into the good life perceived by users.

Bearing in the mind of the context of Nerve where the society is like ours, with poverty being a moral failing and merit justifying the material wealth you have, Nerve takes this to an extreme and creates toxic environments for content creators to live in.

TikTok Challenges Meets Nerve

NERVE bears resemblance to TikTok in two ways. The TikTok Challenges and the Video format of watchers and creators.

Of course there are other mediums like TikTok who have this resemblance to Nerve. But none are so successful as TikTok with GenZ in our cultural consciousness.

Perhaps it can be a knee-jerk reaction to state that TikTok is causing NEETS and GenZ trouble and going into the E.R. because of the challenges that they choose to participate in.

Given that TikTok somewhat advocates for a democracy, where videos with most views, means money pouring in for the content creator and more traffic. People are addicted towards creating a community or challenges to connect with others. Likewise people are addicted on creating engaging content. However because it is a public arena, people can find themselves getting hurt without using their wit. And as they say do things at your own risk as a content creator, no one told you to hurt yourself or others. The platform isn’t the problem, but the current risk factors in our environment and our motivations can create a dangerous situation.


A 14 year old boy in Sydney, Aiden Higgie suffered from burns, due to following a honeycomb recipe on TikTok. He placed it in the microwave, in a cup and when he took it out the mixture exploded in his hand. The mixture burnt his skin to the nerves, and he may need a skin graft as well as a year to recuperate.


A student filmed herself slapping a teacher and is now facing charges and may spend time in prison.


Some creators have posed their silhouettes in red light in the dark, but some people have found that editing the filter meant that they could see whether someone was naked or not, so some creators may have been exposed.


A challenge where a person lies or stands on a road that has open traffic, with a sheet over them to stop the traffic. A women became hospitalised after doing this challenge.


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