Everyone has an origin story and PWND is no exception.
The peak of fashion, civilization and technology was reached in the Affluent 1980s. The age of excess never ended; it warped into a permanent impulse purchase shopping spree. When customers bought all there was to be bought, crafty corporations were forced to invent new stuff. The consumer instinct drove the market towards bigger, stupider products and over-engineered beyond usability.
Society’s urge to take it to the Maxx wasn’t exclusive to shopping habits. As time advanced, extreme sports became national pastimes and athletes competed in an arms race of escalating extremism: volcano surfing, high altitude swiftboating, shark kissing, speed sharting, democracy in the Middle East, etc. Then The National Bazooka Association introduced Rocket Arena sports. The only obstacle to achieving Radical Enlightenment was the limits of mortality, but a solution to that problem was forthcoming, and from an unexpected source.
Nature’s Butte Natural Beauty Products was developing a radical new laser-assisted facial rejuvenation process. Instead of repairing areas damaged by sun or age, it simply created a brand new copy of the whole body. This cosmetics company had inadvertently created a cloning machine. With their proprietary cloning technology in hand, Nature’s Butte rebranded as LAZER-US Resurrection Pods. The marketing department recognized that those with a broken body were the ones that needed a new one the most, so LAZER-US formed a corporate alliance with the NBA, whose ranks suffered heavy casualties due to all the close-quarter explosions associated with missile-based combat.
Thanks to a compelling promotional campaign and the allure of immortality, LAZER-US was a hit. The specter of death soon vanished from civilization, but its presence would later be missed. People lived life without consequences. The population exploded. Without the possibility of death, audience interest in extreme sports waned. There was no drama in watching players annihilate each other since they would just reappear unharmed 30 seconds later. The novelty of immortality was wearing thin.
That all changed when a scrappy upstart stumbled upon the Bazooka Association. When Hank Harris introduced the concept of humiliating or “pwning” downed players as the primary method of gaining points, the entire dynamics of the game changed. Drama was restored, and the NBA rechristened PWND, and created a worldwide phenomenon.
Even in a world where life is free, honor is everything.