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.
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.
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”.
- Reddit.com – r/WinStupidPrizes