- What is The Game?
- The Game is an abstract mental game with millions of active players.
- The objective of The Game is to avoid thinking about The Game.
- Play is continuous and never stops. You are either losing (when you are thinking about The Game), or not losing (when you are not thinking about The Game).
- Players who lose The Game (by thinking about it) must tell other people that they have lost.
- How do I play The Game?
There are two common interpretations of Rule 1. The first is that everyone in the world is, always has been, and always will be, playing The Game. The second is that people start playing The Game once they know what it is. The Game is played all the time; you cannot quit, pause or take breaks.
Most of the time, playing The Game does not require any active input and you go about your life as normal. However, according to Rule 2, every time you about The Game, you have lost. Loss is temporary; once you stop thinking about The Game, you stop losing, but you will lose again the next time you think about The Game.
According to Rule 3, every time you think about The Game, and hence lose, you must tell other people that you have lost. Some interpretations state that you must tell as many people as possible, while others only state that you must tell whoever you are with, or talking to, at that time.
An example of play is as follows. After you stop browsing this website you stop thinking about The Game. Tomorrow, you meet a friend who tells you ''Hey! I found an awesome Flash game I think you'd like.''. This makes you remember reading about The Game on this website. As you have thought about The Game, you have lost, and you must tell your friend something like ''I lost The Game!'', or ''Crap, you made me lose The Game!''.
- What are the official rules of The Game?
It is unlikely that the true origin of The Game will ever be proven, and as such there are no official rules. As The Game spreads mainly by word-of-mouth, there are numerous variants and interpretations. The three rules stated on LoseTheGame.com represent the core rules that are most commonly played. The most common additional rule played by many people worldwide is that of 'grace periods'. This is a specified period of time (usually 10-30 minutes long) during which you cannot lose The Game after you have already lost.
- What happens when I lose The Game?
When you think about The Game, you lose The Game, and you have to tell people that you have lost. Some people refuse to announce their loss after thinking about The Game, and as loss is a purely mental event, there is of course no way to prove whether somebody thought about The Game or not. This makes The Game a game of true sportsmanship; a personal mental challenge. If you cheat, you are only cheating yourself...
One interpretation of The Game is that you do not lose when somebody else announces their loss. Following the core rules however, every time you think about The Game you lose, regardless of what made you think about it. Usually when somebody loses The Game amongst friends, the original loser is 'blamed' for making everyone else lose. When friends start to associate the same things with The Game, such loss triggers will often cause them to lose The Game at the same time. This is sometimes described as 'drawing' or 'tying' The Game, but, of course, everyone still loses.
- How do I announce my loss?
Exactly how loss is announced is not specified, and as such it can be done in countless ways. Anything is deemed acceptable so long as it makes anyone you are with aware that you have lost The Game. The most common such phrases are 'I lost' or 'I just lost The Game' usually accompanied by an expletive or two. Sometimes an expression of frustration is all that's needed to make people know what's happened. Some people have developed sign or body language to announce their loss at times when silence is required. Check out the wall of our Facebook group
for lots of people losing The Game!
When you announce your loss to people who do not know what The Game is, they are likely to ask what it is out of curiosity. Some people play that you must explain the rules of The Game to anyone who doesn't already know, whereas others play that you can warn them about The Game first, and then let them choose whether they want to know or not.
- Can I think or talk about The Game without losing?
Once you begin to lose The Game regularly, you may find youself in some curious psychological situations that are hard to interpret within the rules of The Game. For example, you may discuss The Game so much that you sometimes enter such a discussion without realising that this means you should have lost. But whether you have lost or not depends on what is really meant by 'thinking about The Game'. For example, it could be interpreted as 'thinking about the concept of The Game itself' or 'awareness that you are a participant playing The Game'. If you think or talk about The Game, but don't realise this means you have lost, and hence don't announce it, does this mean that you are unknowingly cheating? The only interpretation that would prevent such cheating is the seemingly paradoxical interpretation that you only lose The Game when you realise that you have lost it...
Another interesting situation occurs when somebody asks about or discusses The Game, without yet knowing what The Game is. If someone asks 'What is a hexagon?', are they thinking about hexagons even though they don't know what one is?
- How do I win The Game?
Under most interpretations, The Game can never be won, as the rules include no winning conditions. Some people interpret the rules that you are winning The Game whenever you are not thinking about it. As The Game can never be won, you have two options; to lose as little as possible, or to make everyone else lose more than you!
- Can I keep score of The Game?
Various methods have been proposed for scoring The Game. The simplest is that you lose a point every time you lose The Game. Other proposals involve you losing a point, but everyone you announce your loss to gaining a point, or everyone you announce your loss to gaining one point divided by the number of people (1/n). However, keeping track of scores is often difficult.
We are attempting to launch The Game World Championship. This is a global contest to determine the best player of The Game in the world. Players must take part in a 'thinking match'. Two players compete for the period of one minute, announcing their loss every time they think about The Game. An independent adjudicator records the number of times each contestant loses and the winner (whoever lost the least number of times) is declared. It is within the adjudicator's power to disqualify any contestant believed to be cheating, in other words, if they are suspected of thinking about The Game without announcing it. If you would like to organise qualifiers in your area please contact us
. Regional champions will be invited to compete with each other via webcam and a World Champion will be declared on Lose The Game Day each year.
Our original idea for The Game World Champion was the person who has lived the longest without ever losing The Game. At the time we devised the idea, we named Edna Parker as the champion, as we assumed she had never lost The Game since her birth in 1893. We sent Mrs Parker a letter to congratulate her, but unfortunately, upon reading the letter she lost The Game and was out of the Championship. More unfortunately, Mrs Parker passed away a few months later...
- Will The Game ever end?
The short answer is no, The Game will never end. However, some people do play with additional rules that include conditions under which The Game can end. A number of players believe that The Game will end when a specified famous person loses The Game in public. Common contenders are the British Prime Minister, the Queen of England and the Pope. Check out our strategies page
for ways to make important public figures lose The Game.
A number of 4chan users believe that The Game has already ended. A common belief on 4chan is that whatever is written in a post with a post code ending in triple digits becomes true. Eventually, a user managed to use this to 'end' The Game on 4chan:
LoseTheGame.com takes the following stance with such additional rules. The addition of a new rule to The Game does not change the original game, but creates a new version of The Game. If you think about the original version, you lose the original version, if you think about the new version, you lose the new version. This appears to be the most logical interpretation as both versions now exist, and both specify loss when thinking about that specific game itself. As such, the 4chan version of The Game ended according to its rules, and thinking about it no longer caused players to lose that version. However, thinking about the original version of The Game still causes you to lose (the original version), as it is a concept that does not include the 4chan triples modification. Regardless of such interpretations, 3 weeks later the following post was made:
- What if I don't want to play The Game?
Most players argue that according to the rules, everyone is playing The Game, and that your consent is not required to be a participant. You can of course ignore Rule 3 and not announce your loss every time you think about The Game. The Game can indeed be an inflammatory topic, and it has been banned from Something Awful forums
, GameSpy forums
, asdf forums
, Two Cans And String Dot Com
, Fairless High School
(Ohio), Massaponax High School
(Virginia), Lato Sensu School (Brazil), Keesler Air Force Base
Public Library, Wokingham Youth Club (UK), Southport High School
(Indiana) and LaPorte High School
(Indiana). Do you know anywhere else it's been banned? Let us know
- Can The Game be studied?
LoseTheGame.com devised a method for studying loss of The Game, known as a Gameological Self Assessment (GSA). This involves the recording of the time and cause of every loss. A trial run was terminated after 14 hours due to extremely frequent losses and possible risk of insanity. Cory Antiel, a psychology student from New York, performed a month long study involving GSAs recorded by 12 participants. The results and his conclusions were very intersting, click here for the PDF
- Is The Game a game, a meme or a mind virus?
A game is commonly defined as one or more players trying to achieve an objective, a definition which can indeed be applied to The Game. However, The Game is also a 'meme', in both the modern and original meanings of the word. Richard Dawkins coined the term 'meme' in the 1970s to describe pieces of information that are stored and replicated by human minds. This makes every idea and concept, including The Game, a meme by definition. The Game, however, is an especially interesting meme as its rules represent the fundamentals of meme replication. The Game, by its nature, is thought about and then replicated to other human minds. Unlike most other memes, replication is its sole purpose. As The Game doesn't bring any benefits to those who know about it, but still manages to propagate from mind to mind, it also fits Dawkins' defintion of a 'mind virus'.