The Game is a social phenomenon and an anti-memory game, the objective of which is to forget its existence. It is spread mostly by word of mouth, leading to a number of variations, but all share the same basic rules:

  1. Knowledge of The Game is the only thing required to play it.
  2. Thinking of The Game causes a player to lose.
  3. A losing player must announce the loss.

Different versions of the game exist, in which details are specified, such as allowing a short grace period (10-30 minutes) after losing to forget about the game again, at which point, they resume playing. Template:Citeneeded The Game has no end; players may lose repeatedly.

According to the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, the Game is played mainly in the United States and the United Kingdom, but also in Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Belgium. Despite its reported prevalence this is the only mainstream report of The Game.

The Game is a special example of a meme because its rules represent the fundamentals of memetic replication.


The Game has no set rule defining a "winning" player, but participants can measure their performance by comparing how often they lose relative to their opponents. Thus, strategy in these games consists of attempts to make one's opponents lose while minimizing one's personal losses. Students in the United Kingdom playing The Game have been reported to leave messages on blackboards and pieces of paper for other players to later come across.


The origin of The Game is uncertain. The earliest mention on the Internet currently known is August 2002, [1] although some players claim to have been playing for much longer. The earliest known Internet mention where a date can be established with certainty is a Usenet news posting from December 2003. [2]

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