|64th Hunger Games|
|Winning District||District 6|
|Preceeded by||63rd Hunger Games|
|Followed by||65th Hunger Games|
The 64th Games were initially panned as being inordinately dull. Critics placed the blame on two factors: poor game-planning (the effects of the Arena's natural hazards placed so much physical strain on the competitors that it completely undermined all interpersonal drama) and the apathy of the Tributes themselves. The Careers fell to heat exhaustion almost immediately following the bloodbath at the Cornucopia and were killed by amateurs who'd been waiting on the outskirts. In the days that followed, most of the rest of the Tributes fell one by one to dehydration or starvation, being ill-equipped to survive in a hot, arid climate without any shelter from the sun or obvious water or food sources.
The Tributes who did survive—from Districts 4, 5, and 6—felt little desire to keep fighting in the heat. The Gamemakers attempted to stir them into action using brushfires and wild animals, but only succeeded in killing off more of them without inspiring any further battles.
Only one Tribute discovered the maze of hidden shelter lurking underground, and that was the eventual victor: Jesse Pinkman. After accidentally falling into a decrepit mineshaft, he realized that he could hide in the cool tunnels to wait out the hot days, then emerge under the safe cover of night to retrieve water from cacti and forage for food without wearing himself out. While the others were too weak to move, Jesse remained in mostly peak condition, save for a rattlesnake bite, which he was able to treat quickly with a gift from a sponsor.
What Jesse didn't realize was that he was being slowly poisoned by the very shelter that saved him. After breathing in coal dust for over a week, he developed an increasingly severe cough that indicated black lung. Not only that, but he was inhaling a steady dose of carbon monoxide. He eventually began to hallucinate, and when he crept out into the night to discover the remaining Tributes huddling around a fire, he mistook them for monsters and bludgeoned them all with a piece of drywood. Jesse was by no means a strong young man, having scored only a 4, but they were too weak to even lift a hand to fight him off. He emerged victorious, wild-eyed and splattered with their brain matter.
This Arena was a desert with very little vegetation, no apparent water sources, and only small wild animals such as snakes, birds, and kit foxes. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, hot air remained trapped in the valley, with temperatures reaching 134°F (57.1°C). No shade trees existed to provide a shield from the sun. Although cacti and shrubs did grow, many were poisonous or painful to touch. Fire also erupted and spread quickly through the dry grasses. A network of underground coal mines led to the mountains and provided hazardous shelter, but only one Tribute managed to discover these. Gamemakers later stated that they had been hoping for most of the action to take place within the mines, and were disappointed when the Tributes failed to take the hint and go exploring.
- Although at first considered an embarrassing failure, reviews for these Games quickly turned around thanks to the unexpected twist at the end, when gentle fifteen-year-old Jesse Pinkman suddenly eschewed his sweet image to heartlessly murder the remaining Tributes, including the female from his own district.