Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

Meaning

What does Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes mean?

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes is a popular idiomatic colloquialism, used for expressing that if one is doing an unwise deed, they should never expect a rewarding outcome.



Origin

What's the origin of Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes?

Although the exact origin of the expression is not certain, one of the first documented cases of “Win stupid prizes” in print can be linked to a 1992 issue of the Gauntlet.

Since then, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” rose significantly in popularity, especially in the 2010’s.

Spread & Usage

How did Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes spread?

Image macro memes, depicting Willy Wonka along with the captions “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” started appearing on the web as early as 2012, on sites like 9GAG, iFunny or FunnyJunk.

The popularity of the expression started gaining traction in 2017, when in April the r/WinStupidPrizes subreddit was launched.

It skyrocketed in 2020, when numerous fail video compilations started appearing on YouTube as well as social media sites like Facebook, with the title “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.

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