You Laugh, You Lose

You Laugh, You Lose

Part of a series on Online Forum Games. [View Related Entries]

Updated Feb 19, 2015 at 02:15PM EST by MScratch.

Added Aug 17, 2009 at 11:37PM EDT by Tomberry.

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This meme came from 4chan around the summer 2007, according to Google insight and consisted in a simple game: Posting a picture that arouses a specific reaction. One must hold himself on to avoid having said reaction. If one loses to do so, one must reply by posting another picture in order to provoke the same reaction.
Most of the time, it gives birth to endless threads of images followed by replies such as “I lost !”

The first occurance of this stuff to appear was the “You laugh, you lose” threads in which the goal was, as it suggested, not to laugh at a funny picture.

However, from the original ED article dealing with that meme (see link), it appeared that, in the really beginning, the true purpose wasn’t to laugh at something funny but, on the contrary, not to laugh at something meant to be seriously outrageous and offensive.
One more thing to add here is that veterans from the chan, commonly named “oldfags”, usually don’t really like that kind of thread/game.

Here is the earliest instance that can be found on 4chanarchive from the 26th of June 2007:

[ Caution, NSFW content ahead ]

It’s a “You Laugh, You Lose” themed thread based on nerd jokes. It implies that it wasn’t the first one though.

Variations and spread

From that point, threads like these are usually popping at least once a day on 4chan, picturing some asian man on a phone saying “I raff, I ruse ?” as a reminder for the rules, and it spread to websites where messaging systems can ensure to play that game, like forums, other boards and blogs.

Like this one
Or that one
Or even this
Oh my, an entire website for this game.

Variations of this game soon followed:

- You Bawww, you lose for pictures that can provoke drama.
- You Rage, You Lose where one must provoke rage.
- You Fap, You Lose (slightly NSFW) in wich there are usually sexually explicit and arousingly erotic pictures.
- You Cry, You Lose for heart-breaking pictures.
- You Wat, You Lose for images that lead to the “What the heck ?” reaction.
- You Save, You Lose [ Caution, 4chan archive link: NSFW content ahead ] for beautiful (then, save-worthy) pictures.
- You Fall in Love, You Lose for images of attractive persons.
- You Nostalgia, You Lose for pictures that can provoke the “Good ol’ days” feeling.
- You Facepalm, You Lose for pictures of oblivious situations or people, leading you to a facepalm.
- You Smirk, You Lose [ Caution, 4chan archive link: Extreme NSFW content ahead ] a harder “You Laugh, You Lose” mode.

Also, in its evolution, this game allowed to play with both images and videos media, depending on the variation.

In some variations, the first poster can add some state difficulty levels in order to produce a trickier and probably more enjoyable game.

Videos examples of the meme

You rage, you lose

You laugh, you lose

Recent Videos

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Recent Images 34 total

Top Comment


You laugh, you lose actually comes from a game show in Japan (Gaki No Tsukai Batsu) where contestants are challenged to view humorous or amusing acts without laughing. If they fail to hold in their laughter, they usually get punished with a blowdart in the ass or some other humiliating and painful punishment.

See here for example,


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