Wikinews interviews manager of site 'Lose The Game'

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jonty Haywood is responsible for the entire site Lose The Game at; a site dedicated to informing the masses about a game called "The Game" which Haywood says is widely spreading and popular game. Wikinews' Gabriel Pollard talked to Haywood via email while constantly losing The Game.

The rules of The Game are simple and easy enough to remember with only three basic rules. While there are variations of the rules spread across Internet just as The Game itself has spread, Haywood plays by these rules:

  1. Rule 1: You are playing The Game.
  2. Rule 2: Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.
  3. Rule 3: Loss must be announced.

One variation of the rules is including a grace period where a player has a certain amount of time in which to forget about The Game ranging from mere minutes to half an hour. However, Haywood says that a grace period is unnecessary.

Haywood says many people are playing The Game which takes advantage of the White Bear Phenomenon. The Cornwall, United Kingdom-resident has experienced people playing The Game on his worldwide travels, he has even experienced an American announcing loss at a cinema in Bangkok, Thailand.

"When I first went to university in Cambridge, a year after hearing about The Game in Cornwall, many people already knew about The Game, especially people from London."

"The number of active players is certainly in the millions, if not tens of millions," Haywood says, based on the fact that he has had 500,000 unique hits to his website, "50,000 members of the biggest Game Facebook group." Newspaper articles, radio mentions and webcomics featuring The Game are more reasons for the assertions of its popularity Haywood says.

"In my experience The Game spreads among a group of friends, eventually reaching the Internet and makes it to a new group of friends, etc.

"In addition, many people play actively by trying to make lots of other people lose The Game, often by initiating new players."

Even though many people play The Game, its history cannot be accurately retold. Haywood first heard of the game in 2001 and while there are some Internet posts relating to The Game that date back to 2002, one person from London with claims to being the maker of The Game says he made it in 1996 with the "aim of annoying as many people as possible." Haywood says this London-origin story is the only claim that has "any kind of evidence". But he does say that he prefers to think that someone "discovered" The Game, and not invented it. "It’s always been there, just waiting for someone to realise that they are playing, and hence lose."

Despite running a popular site about The Game - which has something "big" coming up and will be announced in the next few weeks - Haywood himself gets annoyed and irritated at The Game "all the time" and his losses range anywhere from days at a time to mere hours in between losses depending on the social situation. The Game is still fun to play however, he says, because of the distress you can cause on other people. "Although you can’t be aware that you are winning The Game, it is still fun when your friends lose before you, or more than you. Even more fun is when they lose because of something you previously set-up, or an association you tried to make them make.

"I think it’s a much more interesting game than it may first appear. It’s also very abstract and a little thought-provoking, and it’s good to see lots of young people enjoying it."

And for those who wish to lose less often, Haywood has some "strategies". "One involves trying to feel very annoyed after losing, with the hope that you will subconsciously learn not to lose like this. The other is to hit yourself when you lose, with a similar purpose," he says. "Unfortunately, almost every strategy we have tried so far has backfired spectacularly."


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.