When I was a kid, we used to play this weird mental game that was literally called "The Game".

There are only three rules for playing:

  1. You are always playing The Game
  2. As soon as you remember you're playing The Game, you lose
  3. When you lose The Game, you have to announce it (so everyone around you then also loses, and has to announce that they lost, too)

It was a lighthearted, mostly-innocent thing that would start this chain-reaction of mock-disappointment — a playful "How could you!"

I haven't thought about The Game in years — until I read a fascinating article by Packy McCormick called The Great Online Game.

Technically, I lost The Game after reading this tweet. But I also realized something.

Just like The Game we used to play, everyone is playing the Great Online Game.

Unlike The Game we used to play, The Great Online Game actually has real upsides.

That's good, because The Game we used to play should actually be called The Losing Game. It stops being cute after you realize that it's paradoxically impossible to win. It reinforces one story: you lost.

Look, I have nothing against taking a graceful L here and there, but the only possible outcome of playing "The Game" is an unnecessarily negative interpretation of reality which does you no good. The only ways to win are to forget you're playing or not play at all. Why bother?

A new game

How fitting for generation who grew up in a time where it feels like we're stuck — unable to get a house, unable to get a job, unable to start a family, all because we're constantly losing a seemingly impossible game called late-state capitalism — to embrace a game where the where the only way to "win" is to not play?

We don't play that game anymore.

So when I refer to "The Game" from this point on, I'm referring to sequel; what Packy McCormick calls the Great Online Game.

The Great Online Game is an infinite video game that plays out constantly across the internet. It uses many of the mechanics of a video game, but removes the boundaries. You’re no longer playing as an avatar in Fortnite or Roblox; you’re playing as yourself across Twitter, YouTube, Discords, work, projects, and investments.

This is a new philosophy for play, work, and life. To understand this, let's explore the new rules that apply to the Great Online Game.

  1. Anyone can play, anyone can win
  2. More players leads to more opportunity
  3. The rewards for playing are increasingly tangible

Viewing the internet as a game is a pragmatic and optimistic philosophy which rewards contribution and collaboration far more than it rewards competition.

It's time to play a new game.