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Updated Aug 22, 2014 at 01:00AM EDT by Random21.

Added May 17, 2009 at 12:57AM EDT by james.

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You’ve just lost The Game.


The Game is one of the simplest distortions of game logic ever invented; by which simply thinking about The Game causes one to lose.

Due to the futility and inevitable loss, The Game could be viewed as a statement of the human condition; that is to say, humankind’s struggle against fundamental laws of nature. THE GAME results in a double negative scenario where trying to not do something is the catalyst for said event.


THE GAME was invented in 1977 by members of the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society (CUSFS) who would regularly meet at the Horse and Groom pub (Kings Street, Cambridge, UK) to drink and discuss game theory.


The members of CUSFS assert that the creation of The Game was a collective effort, but Nigel Goldenfeld and Mark Haslett were probably the most responsible for releasing it into the public. The CUSFS 1977 collective includes:
  • Dr Nigel Goldenfeld – “What’s scary about all this is that it took so long for it to take over the world.”
  • Mark Haslett – “We did not realise what a viral concept it was and I continue to lose from time to time now 30 years on.”
  • Philip Brice – “The idea developed of a game in which you didn’t know you were competing in until you weren’t.”
  • Dr Nick Lowe – “Our meetings are still punctuated, and often opened, with the words ‘Gah! I lose.’”
  • Dr Richard Pinch

Online Apperance

The first known appearance of THE GAME online was on Paul Taylor of West Midland’s blog in 2002.

A major contributing factor to this meme’s virability is the simplicity of its execution. Simply saying “THE GAME” instantly causes everyone within earshot to lose. Whether they are aware that they are playing or not, they have now thought about The Game. Similar behaviour can be observed in a multitude of scenarios because there is always that one person out there who enjoys screwing with other’s minds.

Other Responses

A niche execution of THE GAME has come into being in the form of non sequiturers. Essentially a story will be posted where the only goal will be to capture the reader’s attention. At the end of the story however, the true goal is revealed


You will never believe what happened to me this morning! I was waking up and doing my morning routine, eat breakfast, take a shower, brush my teeth, that sort of thing. When I was about to get changed, I saw something in my window that looked a little strange. I went to look and there he was, a man was staring through my window on a ladder!

Just as soon as he knew I saw him he started climbing down the ladder and I ran for the door outside. On my way out I grabbed the bat I keep under my bed. When I got outside I saw him running down my block and I began chasing after him. We ran for nearly 10 minutes and reached some woods. Then from there we ran another 15 until I lost sight of him.

Lost, in the middle of the woods, chasing a peeping Tom. I knew something like this could only happen to me.

The search seemed over when a bit deeper in the woods I heard the man scream. I ran out there and saw him sitting on the ground a good distance away from me. As I got closer I could see he had gotten his foot stuck in a bear trap! Actually I’m not so sure it was a bear trap because it was a bit smaller but you get the point. I walked up to him with my bat and said the sweetest one liner I could think up on the spot.

“Game over fucker” and I hit him in the face with my bat. He began to sob a bit as he held his bleeding nose, but to my surprise he began to laugh. This startled me so I hit him again and said “what’s funny faggot!” and he said, “read the first word of all the last paragraphs.”

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