391: Anti-Mindvirus

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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I'm as surprised as you! I didn't think it was possible.
Title text: I'm as surprised as you! I didn't think it was possible.


The Game is a virus-like mind game. The rules are as follows:

  1. Everybody in the world who knows about The Game is playing The Game. (Or: Everyone is playing The Game.)
  2. If you think of The Game, you lose The Game.
  3. If you lose The Game, you must announce that you lost. This is often done by loudly announcing something like "I/You lost The Game," or "I lost."
    This usually causes other people within earshot who are playing the game to think of the game, causing them to lose the game as well, which may cause a chain reaction with people all around announcing that they lost the game.
    Additionally it will make people ask about the game, which will make them new players, once it is explained to them.
  4. Once you stop thinking about The Game, you are back in, and can lose again.

From the simple way the rules are set up, there seems to be no such thing as winning The Game, except possibly by permanently forgetting about its existence. This comic gives you an alternative way to win, by simply telling you that you win and are now free from the mind virus.

An alternate interpretation may be that reading this comic causes you to lose the game, because it reminds you of The Game.

The title text states that Randall didn't know it was possible to win The Game, and he was surprised just as much as the reader.


[The comic is a simple box with text.]
You Just WON The Game.
It's okay! You're free!

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"The Game" is not actually a game *and therefore can have no winners or losers*.

  • A game by definition is a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck

  • If one does view "The Game" as an actually game, then it consists of one simply saying the words "The Game" out loud or via text. "The Game" also requires one to think of the words The Game before speaking them, thus making them the first "Losers" to participate in the game, and once the opposing team has lost (In this case the person who first thought of "The Game") Then the opposing team then by default is the winner, and is not subject to loosing as once there is a decided winner and looser, the game is over. So this means that the originator of "The Game" (a non-game) is the only looser, and everyone else to have participated is forever the winner, as no one can set up matches for a "The Game" competition, as they would also have to be thinking about "the game" meaning the lose as soon as it starts.

You're all free. --Para (talk) 21:57, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

sorry to inturupt para, but some games cannot be simply won see xkcd comic #138

signd summer glau 13:52, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

A game can have multiple losers, so your logic does not work. Based on the description, it seems like everyone is a loser. It is impossible to win. Flewk (talk) 00:30, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

In the branch of social psychology that deals with game design, a 'game' is defined by being inside of the 'magic circle': a space where arbitrary actions are given meaning, and everybody participating in the magic circle voluntarily agrees upon a set of rules by which to play. There are no requirements for a game to have win or lose conditions, just look at Go, which has no official 'end' until both players agree the game is done. For "The Game" to qualify as A game, it must allow for methods by which people voluntarily enter and leave its magic circle. As it does not, it cannot be a game, but is instead is a social exercise. 04:50, 14 June 2016 (UTC)XanKortal

Bringing psychology to a math fight? Cute. Game theory has no care for you silly little humans and your silly little brains. Hppavilion1 (talk) 07:30, 21 May 2017 (UTC)
Oh, and also, I argue that social psychology is itself a social psychology game, and I can just opt out of playing by the rules social psychologists want me to. Hppavilion1 (talk) 07:30, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

It has also been suggested that the Platinum Angel will prevent you from losing the game. - Mike Rosoft (talk) 20:46, 2 April 2022 (UTC)

There's a new what if post 16:09, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

Thank you, here. —While False (museum | talk | contributions | logs | rights | printable version | page information | what links there | related changes | Google search | current time: 21:36) 17:47, 8 December 2022 (UTC)

AAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NO ONE CAN WIN... except those of us who are SMORT! Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 17:00, 12 April 2024 (UTC)