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Lost Is But a Game

Now that the addictive TV series LOST has come to an end, online chat forums are rife with debate about what the show was really all about. The enigmatic ending has resulted in speculation about all the mysteries left unsolved and questions left unanswered. But where’s the fun in closure? Real life doesn’t have neat endings either. One thing about LOST is certain: the overriding metaphor for the entire show is a game, as LOST is literally riddled with game references. Many people claim the concept for the show itself is based on Backgammon.

Jimmy Kimmel “gets LOST”
There are lots of plot twists and turns that revolve around references to “the rules” of the island and games feature heavily as a visual thematic device. The comedian Jimmy Kimmel recently screened a hilarious parody clip on US TV starring two characters from LOST, Jacob and his nameless twin brother, aka The Smoke Monster (renamed Blacky for the clip), were depicted as being so bored while “trapped on an incomprehensible metaphysical island” for eternity, that they passed the time playing a game called Connect 4 Million! This was a clever parody of Connect 4: a game with very close associations to the character Hurley (he learned “the numbers” while playing the game with an inmate in a psych ward).

It’s all black and white
So, (spoiler ahead) it turned out that Jacob and “Blacky” had been on the island for thousands of years, and had played a mysterious game since childhood that closely resembles the ancient Egyptian game of Senet. According to legend, the winner of this game was forever under the protection of the gods as it served as a talisman for the dangerous journey through the afterlife. There are many references throughout the show to the white and black bits representing the battle between good and evil – another underlying theme of the show.

Sideways world or the box?
Although many of the LOST characters regularly played sporting games throughout the series, such as football, soccer, ping-pong and golf, it’s the board games played that provoke and provide the most clues about what’s really going on. Two classic games featured include Chess and Backgammon – played while stranded on the island, during the sideways present and flash-backs/flash-forwards.

A Risky business
In a flash-back, Locke is seen demonstrating Mousetrap to a child while being stalked by his estranged mother. If you’ve seen the series, you’ll know Locke is about to fall into a deadly trap. On another occasion, he plays what looks like Risk with a co-worker during a lunch break. In one of the most crucial and popular scenes in the whole series, Hurley and Sawyer also play Risk just before they are attacked by Charles Widmore’s mercenaries.

LOST: The Game expansion?
If you’re a huge fan like me, you’re probably going through LOST withdrawals right now, but why suffer when you can get your fix by playing LOST: The Game—a social/role-playing/strategy hybrid German style game. Released in 2006 by Cardinal Games NY, rumour has it that a new expansion is currently in production. Let’s hope they don’t make us wait too long! And if you’re aware of any more games played on LOST, please share!


  1. There was also that great Spanish TV promo that depicted the whole show as a game of chess. BTW – Where can I get a copy of the LOST board game in Oz? They should bring out a LOST version of Risk: Jacob vs MIB!

  2. Unfortunately we only had a limited run on this item. As for where to grab a copy, I would suggest good old Ebay.

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