The Game is a mind game in which players attempt to avoid thinking about the phrase "the game" at all times. Online, people often attempt to trick people into reading variations of the expression "you just lost the game" on discussions forums, image boards and other community sites.
In an article on The Daily Globe, writer Justine Wettschreck stated that The Game originated in "the early 1990s" somewhere in Australia or England. An article by The Canadian Press reported that The Game may have been created by London resident Jamie Miller, who claims to have started The Game in 1996. On August 10th, 2002, the earliest known reference to The Game online was featured in a post published by blogger Paul Taylor titled "The Game (I lost!)", who claimed to have discovered it only six months prior.
The website Lose the Game provides a timeline of events that may have led to the creation of The Game, citing similar games as possible precursors. In 1840, Russian author Leo Tolstoy played a game with his brother in which they had to stand in a corner and a avoid thinking about a white bear. In 1863, Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky described the same game in the book Winter Notes on Summer Impressions." The game later became known associated with ironic process theory in psychology, referring to the mental process causing thoughts to arise when the thinker attempts to suppress them. In 1976, members of the the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society (CUSFS) created a game in which the first person to think about the London Underground train station Finchley Central would lose.
On September 14th, 2005, a site dedicated to The Game was launched at LoseTheGame.com. On April 21st, 2007, a 4chan user placed the phrase "you lose the game" in the mailto field in a post submitted to the /b/ (random) board (shown below).
On March 3rd, 2008, Xkcd posted a webcomic titled "Anti-Mindvirus," which contained the message "You Just Won The Game" (shown below). On November 1st, Newgrounds user Nutcasenightmare uploaded a Flash game titled "
On April 30th, 2009, YouTuber Sir Kristjan of Englandland uploaded a mini documentary about The Game (shown below, left). On November 6th, 2009, YouTuber detonateasplode uploaded a video with scrolling text containing the rules of The Game (shown below, right).
On June 18th, 2010, YouTuber Hank Green uploaded a video discussing The Game (shown below, left). On March 12th, 2011, YouTuber maakatea8 uploaded a video explaining the rules of The Game (shown below, right).
On March 3rd, 2012, FunnyJunk user xenonvsky submitted a picture of a Scrabble board with the phrase "You Lost The Game" placed on top (shown below, left). On October 21st, 2013, a photograph of a cosplayer dressed as a My Little Pony character holding a sign with the Trollface and the phrase "You Just Lost The Game" was submitted to the /r/cringepics subreddit (shown below, right). On August 24th, 2014, a WikiHow article about The Game was created. On April 25th, 2015, Redditor query_squidier submitted a post about The Game to the /r/OutOfTheLoop subreddit.