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An endurance game is a game where the object is to last as long as possible under some sort of stress. The stress might be intoxication, physical pain, fear, social embarrassment or any other negative sensation. The important distinguishing feature of endurance games is that the object is to outlast one's opponents, rather than outdo them in any test of skill.
Endurance games are common in schoolyards, as they provide a way for children (particularly boys) to establish a pecking-order based on toughness. They are also a feature of hazing rituals in institutions where hazing is common.
Examples of informal endurance games
- Backies - a British schoolyard game involving jumping onto the backs of the rival team.
- Ear pulling - an Eskimo sport.
- Head-punching contests (as seen in the film Atanarjuat).
- Shocking Duel
- Mr Speckle-Head
Resistance to intoxication
There have been a number of gameshows which have included endurance games. This style of gameshow was initially particularly popular in Japan, but there are now British and American shows which use endurance challenges. Endurance challenges on television are rarely intoxication/tolerance challenges - more usually they focus on embarrassment, fear or pain.