Last Man is played annually, and the goal is to not learn “The Knowledge”. Which obviously is whichever team won the Super Bowl. You sign-up for the game via Twitter using the hashtag #lastman at the latest 24h after the end of the game. The rules are simple: You are eliminated as soon as you find out the winner. In essence it is the same game that so many people play when they cannot watch a tv show live and are desperately trying to avoid spoilers.

Here is a great video of Jimmy Kimmel talking to a player just last week who was still “alive” from the 2012 run of the game.

Causes of death so far this year:

  • email from treacherous husband I thought I could trust
  • announcement at Theater intermission
  • screaming, drunk sorority girl running past window
  • loud conversation outside window (pub on ground floor)
  • Chris Garrett, grade A jerk
  • celebratory Bagels
  • introductions in a group meeting
  • Twitter saboteur

The Twitter saboteur actually “killed” 8 players in the time span of 2h. The saboteur created a specific Twitter account for the task and went after the last few survivors in the game. FiveThirtyEight is to blame by reporting about it. As of now, 22 players are left in the game.

From a research perspective, Last Man is an excellent example for a pervasive game. In this instance the magic circle is broken in a temporal way – the game is being played during day and night and intrudes into one’s normal life. At the same time we also have a spatial and social expansion – no matter where you go or with whom you talk, everything becomes part of the game. The danger lurks behind every corner, and every group meeting could make you learn The Knowledge. In that way the game has a lot in common with Killer/Assassin – just without someone actively out to “kill” you. (Apart from the Twitter saboteur of course.)

Sadly, non-Americans cannot participate. It is probably too easy. Despite my interest in sports, I don’t actually know who won. I guess I will have to stick with the Wham!-game. You get eliminated when you hear “Last Christmas”. Extremely difficult to avoid the closer we get to the end of the year.

Last Man Whamming
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