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Don't push The Button, the game that isn't a game

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Reddit's April Fools' Day joke, known as The Button, is several days old, and yet people can't seem to stop toying with it. More than half a million people have played a game that's more like a social experiment: Can you control yourself, or will you hit The Button?

The subreddit, which features a clickable button at its top, appeared with a short, somewhat vague post. A timer counts down from 60 seconds. Users with accounts dating before April 1, 2015, may press the button, at which point the timer resets for everyone, and the countdown begins anew. You have only one chance to press the button.

"We can't tell you what to do from here on out," the post concludes. "The choice is yours."

Think of The Button as an answer to Cookie Clicker — a game that rewards not clicking, and one without any winners.

press it

The first time I hit The Button, I did what a good lot of the of the internet does: I acted without reading. There was no joy in this immediate release, and it took a few seconds to realize the gravity of what I'd done. As I frantically tried to click again — more, more, one more hit — I realized that was it. I'd blown it. The Button was Pushed.

Most people seem to squander their single button press at the 58-second mark, the 56 mark or even — in my limited viewing — the 52-second mark. Simple math tells us that, eventually, the timer must reach zero. There are a finite number of accounts registered before April 1 of this year.

THE BUTTON PRESS BUTTON PRESS IT THE BUTTON PRESS IT NOW

For some of us, though, there are second chances. Moments after my disappointment at my own impatience, I remembered a loophole: an alt account. Temptation was mine to succumb to once again.

It's anyone's guess what The Button means. Maybe it is just a funny prank, a way to frustrate users and drain their time in a meaningless, strange game. Maybe it's a social experiment or a commentary, as one Reddit user pointed out, that users "can't go a minute without pushing the admin's buttons."

There's a good chance it means nothing at all — but I'll be damned if I don't want to hit it again. Press it, the button, press it now.

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