TOMS RIVER, N.J. — Palpable excitement is building in the quiet corner of the Manchester Township Middle School library as four promising eleven-year-olds prepare for the final rounds of the Bloons Tower Defense 4 World Cup.
“Wait, am I in trouble?” said competitor Brian Fisher, in a recent post-game interview. “I was just trying to, uh, learn about monkeys? And this freaking thing popped up. This freaking game, I think. I think it’s a virus or something. But actually I’m learning a lot, like, about how monkeys are. Like how monkeys have to use a sniper rifle to defend their habitat sometimes. So it’s cool, actually. You don’t even need to tell Ms. Leiberman about this.”
Hannah Brice, one of the three fans in attendance, insisted that this year’s event would be bigger than ever.
“Fisher and Gilligan have really changed up the meta this year,” said Brice, taking a swig from her juice box. “I’ve never seen someone use the Monkey Buccaneer to neutralize lead balloons like that. It’s a revelation. And in tandem with Fisher’s signature Glue Monkey Gambit? I mean, the game is just never going to be played the same way again. When he introduced that strat back in ‘19, I was like, ‘wow, I think I like-like him!’ But he’s a whole grade above me, so I guess I’ll keep on dreaming.”
Saul di Nappoli, one of the event’s key organizers, expressed his excitement for the eSport’s growing popularity.
“It’s a real game of skill, like chess or… I don’t know, bedding a woman,” said di Nappoli, ruffling one of the players’ hair. “Not that any of these stinkers would know anything about that! Yeah, they probably don’t even know what sex is. But they sure do love that balloon game, I’ll tell ya’ that much. And you know who else loves that balloon game? A whole bunch of people on the internet, apparently. Or maybe they just like watching the kids. I don’t know. It’s all technically above-board, though, so there’s no need to involve Ms. Leiberman.”
Debra Leiberman, the Vice-Principal of Manchester Township Middle School, seemed concerned about the event’s logistics.
“Oh, is that horrible man in our library again?” said Leiberman. “Oh dear. Oh, goodness. Excuse me.”
The Bloons Tower Defense 4 Finals is scheduled to take place during 4th period, assuming Justin Gilligan can be excused from chorus this week.