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Lights Out: A Beginner’s Guide to Playing

Estimated reading time — 12 minutes


To preface this beginner’s guide and rule-book on the game of “Lights Out”, the author discourages any individuals from initiating or participating in this game. With that being said, this guide serves to assist those brave and moronic individuals who will, nevertheless, attempt this dangerous game whether or not they are knowledgeable of the rules, risks, and rewards.



The “Lights Out” game has been referred to by many other names. Some more common names include: “Lights Off”, “Light Switch”, “Room Wars”, or simply, “Switch”. No matter the title you may be familiar with, the rules of the game remain the same. Before we begin an explanation and brief history of the game, the author would like to once again warn against participation. Persons with pre-existing medical conditions, the elderly, children, and pregnant women are highly discouraged from playing. Only those individuals of fit body and sound mind should consider attempting “Lights Out”, and only if said individuals understand the inherent risks.


The objective of Lights Out is a simple one. Two players are assigned either to lights on, or lights out. The players then race around an assigned building switching room lights either on or off. The game ends when either side manages to turn all lights in the house on or off. If the player tasked with turning the lights on manages to illuminate all rooms in the house, that player wins. If the lights out player manages to turn off all switches in the house, that player wins. It should be noted that even though this is a two player game, only you, the reader/participant, are actually playing. What is simply called “player two” will be discussed later in this guide. For now let us move on to a brief history of the game.


The history of this game is an obscure one, to say the least. Although nobody knows the exact origin of Light’s Out, reports of this game being played date back as early as the commercialization of the light bulb. Journal entries from several countries in the early twentieth century indicate this game, or games similar to this one, being played worldwide in the Americas, Europe, and Southeast Asia. A correlation can be found between an uptick in references to the “Light’s Out” game during times of war and famine. This is hypothesized to be the case because of the unique and highly valuable award granted to those individuals who find success at “Lights Out”.

Sometime during the mid-twentieth century the game fell into obscurity. This is not to say that the game had been common knowledge, or popular during its history, but instead, the game fell from relative obscurity into complete obscurity. Very few references to this game exist from the 1950s onward to the present. The author has several theories as to why this may be the case, but for the sake of staying concise, it will not be discussed in this guide. Lights Out has since existed underground in niche communities from Wicca to deep web forums. This guide is intended for members of these communities who know or have heard of this game. Readers who only now know of this game due to this article should stop reading immediately and refrain from pursuing anything related to this game.


The Players

As previously stated, Lights Out is a two player game. If you choose to participate in the game you will be named player one. This is because player one always initiates the game. As player one you are able to decide the play area, as well as make appropriate changes to this area. You are also able to choose which side you will be on (It is recommended to choose lights on, as choosing lights out will find you running around in the dark for the duration of the game).You may also choose the starting location of player two.

Player two, hereby referred to as it, is to be summoned into the room you have chosen. Summoning procedure will be outlined below. It may not be seen by player one but may be felt, often as a cold flash, and sometimes as a hot flash. Reports often site an unpleasant odor of rotting fruit or garbage when player two is present. Player two follows the same rules as player one during the game. However, just as player one has a few advantages during the set up procedure of the game; it has been noted as having its own distinct advantages during the game itself. This too will be discussed later.

The importance of this player introduction is to understand the differences between you and the entity known as player two, or it. Begin to think about the importance of the setup procedure and how it may influence the outcome of the game.


The rules of Lights Out are fairly straight forward. As of the writing of this guide, there exist seven rules. This section of the guide shall be formatted as a set list.

1. The game may only be played between the hours of 12 am to 4 am

2. The play area must consist of a closed off building containing multiple rooms and/or hallways all with light sources and electricity.

3. For a building to qualify as a play area, it must have at least 8 separate rooms and/or hallways.

4. The participant must be alone during the setup of the game as well as the duration of the game. Failure to follow this rule results in an automatic loss.

5. The game must start with an even number of rooms lit and unlit. If the number of rooms is an odd number, a coin may be flipped to determine the status of the final room.

6. Once the game begins it does not end until one player has turned on/off all lights in the building.

7. Use of any machine or contraption to give one an advantage during the game is prohibited and will result in an automatic loss.


If one wishes to participate in Lights Out then a fair amount of preparation work is needed. Many factors should be taken into consideration for beginning the game. Perhaps the most important factor is the building that will serve as the game space. It is known that the arena must contain at least 8 rooms. What may not be known to some individuals is that there is no limit to the number of rooms a play area may contain. This means that a mansion is within the boundaries of the game so long as all other conditions are met. This too means that a hundred story office tower is viable for the same reasons.

It is not advisable to choose a building with too many rooms; most participants would not have the physical capability to sprint around such large areas for an extended period of time. Because of this it is recommended that player one pick an arena with no more than 12 rooms. This will ensure faster rounds with less fatigue. A room is any area within the building closed off with at least four walls, a floor, a roof, an entrance/exit, and a source of light able to be manipulated. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, and walk in closets. A light source may range from a fixed overhead light-bulb to a standing lamp. An open kitchen does not constitute a room. If a closet does not have a light source it does not constitute a room. If there is a separate building on the property unattached to the play area it does not constitute a room. Many small to medium sized homes fit within this player made restriction. It is advisable that the player picks a place that is familiar to them, be it their own house or a friend’s/family member’s house.

When the arena is decided it is time to prepare the space. Remove all items within the building that may hinder you from easy access to a light switch. This may mean moving furniture against walls or completely removing it from the premises. Door wedges may be used to hold open doors for easier access to rooms. Ensure all light switches within the building are working as intended. Make a mental map of all these switches so that even in the event of total darkness you can still navigate all rooms.

Consider timing yourself as you run from room to room switching lights on and off. If circumstances permit, you may wish to play a practice round against a friend or family member. I cannot offer you advice on how to convince others to play against you but it is an invaluable tool that should be considered.



Assuming you the player have appropriately prepared your arena, it is now time to detail the set-up procedure. It is recommended the reader familiarize and internalize this section of the guide even if this means reading this section again. This is because the set-up of the game is more than half the battle and a properly set-up arena will increase the chances of survival. Though this game requires above average fitness, it also requires a strategic mind. The process of set-up is a complicated procedure. The game will not commence until all requirements of the set-up procedure are satisfied.

The first order of set-up is to choose the time you wish to play. As previously stated in rule one, the game may only be played between the hours of 12 am to 4 am. Many cite the hypothesis of the “witching hour” to explain this window of time. Regardless, it is recommended that you start the game as soon as possible. Previous players of Lights Out report a direct relationship between the time of night and the difficulty of the game. Starting at the stroke of midnight, or as close to it as possible will ensure a better chance at success. If one desires a challenge they may start between the hours of 1 am to 2 am. 2:05 am is the latest recorded time an individual has started the game and successfully completed it. There exist a myriad of individuals who have strived to beat this record; however, there exist no reports of successful completion after 2:05 am. It should be noted that even after the game starts, difficulty will increase as time increases. This means that the game must be completed as soon as possible after commencement.

Another factor to take into consideration is the weather. Though the entirety of the game will take place away from the elements, the weather may still have an effect on the game. Avoid playing during a severe thunder or snow storm. Loss of power during a game will result in a win for the lights out player (commonly it). To this end, also avoid playing in an area with frequent power outages.

Once the starting time has been chosen you must make sure that only you are in the house during that time. All doors and windows to the outside must be shut and locked securely. Once this has been ensured it is now time to choose a personal item. This item must have value to you. Do not worry; this item will not be sacrificed. Place this item in the room you wish it to spawn in. Once this has been done you may switch the lights on or off. If its starting room is left lit, it will be assigned to lights on, the opposite is true if the light is turned out (Again, it is recommended to assign it the lights out). It is now time to set up the configuration of lit and unlit rooms. They may be spaced and shaped in any patterns so long as the fifth rule of the game is followed.

When this has been done, write down on a piece of paper one desire that you have. This may be anything from material wealth to love, fame, or knowledge. It is important that this desire not be unattainable or impossible. Raising the dead, time travel, unassisted flight, or future vision are examples of impossible desires. Remember, it must be possible and it must be desired. When you have finished writing this down, place the written statement in the room you wish to start in. Your starting room may be in any room that is oppositely lit from its starting room.

The incantation and ritual is now ready to be performed. Return to its starting room to perform the summoning ritual. The incantation and ritual will not be detailed in this guide. This is to discourage any mildly curious persons from participating in this game. If one really wishes to play Lights Out they may search for the ritual and incantation. It has been covered and documented a multiple of times and exists both on and off the internet. The only requirement to finding the incantation and ritual is patience and a strong desire to participate.

When you have completed the incantation and ritual you now have sixty seconds to find your way back to your starting room. If you are found in a room that is not your starting room (the room with your written statement) the game will not begin and the ritual must be performed again. If the game still will not start then you have done something wrong in the set-up procedure. You may re-perform the set-up procedure as many times until the game begins but it is advised that one wait until the next night so as not to start the game too late.

Playing the Game

You will know the game has started when all lights in the house flicker once. Do not be alarmed, this only happens to signal the start and end of the game. If the flickering persists during the game, that is due to a mechanical failure and not the game.

When the game starts it is time to run. You must run as fast as possible around the arena flicking lights on. Do not stop running until the game has finished. If a room has multiple light sources you only have to turn one on for a room to be counted as lit. Though you must be quick, do not be too quick that you injure yourself. Spraining an ankle, acquiring a concussion, or falling down the stairs will not help your chances of success. It will not wait for you to recover and the game does not stop until it is over.

You will notice the lights from consecutive rooms turning off; this is it. You will not be able to see it but you may be able to sense it. A feeling of unease or dread is oftentimes felt by those who stand or pass through a room containing it. If you should feel this during the game there is no need to panic, it will not harm you during the game. Previous players have noted that at the beginning of the game it may take it anywhere from two to five seconds to turn a room light off. As the game progresses the time it takes for it to turn lights off decreases. This may be because of the relationship between the time of night and the difficulty of the game or it may be it familiarizing itself with the layout of the building. If one starts the game much later than midnight then it will be significantly faster. Past 1:45 am it has been noted as taking less than a second to turn a room light off.


It is ideal to complete the game within the first five minutes because of this increase in difficulty as the game draws out. Though you may start to feel fatigue within the first five to thirty minutes (depending on level of fitness), it has never been reported to show signs of exhaustion. As previously stated, it will only continue to become faster as the game progresses. Any game that lasts longer than fifteen minutes is often a lost cause. Do not let this discourage you however, the longest reported game by a successful player lasted thirty eight minutes.

You will know the game has ended when the lights flicker once again. The entirety of the house will either be lit or unlit. You will know if you have won based on what happens next.

Winning Conditions

Congratulations, you have won. Return to your starting room to find that your written statement has disappeared. You may be tempted to sit back and wait for your wish to come true, however, this is not the case. Whatever your desire, it will not be handed to you. Instead, you will find opportunities in pursuit of your goal that you will not have found before. New doors will open to you and your dream will be more easily attainable than it was previously. This conclusion stems from interviews with several successful actors, CEO’s, musicians, and artists, all alleged winners of Lights Out. Personal accounts from a few historical figures in history also serve to show the conditions of winning.

Again, congratulations, you may rest easy knowing what the future holds for you.

Losing Conditions

Not much is known about the terms of losing Lights Out. This is because those who lose are not available to be interviewed or documented. How is it known that someone has lost Lights Out? This information can be gleamed through any audio, video, and writings of the person prior to participating in the game. If the person has expressed a desire or committed to playing the game, and has not been heard from since, it is believed that this person has failed Lights Out. The vast majority of those who have lost are missing persons. Few bodies have ever been recovered; those that have have been ruled as apparent accidents or suicides.

By reading officer reports, one may gleam what has happened to those who lose. One case found a woman at the foot of her stairs, her neck and spine having been broken in several places. It is unclear whether this was due to an accident during the game, or a condition of losing. Another case found the body of a man strewn across the pavement five floors below his apartment. Again, it is unknown whether the man was flung from his apartment after losing, or, faced with the impossibility of winning, threw himself out of the window to avoid the consequences of losing. Either way, those whose bodies have been discovered after an unsuccessful attempt at Lights Out have surely been shown mercy compared to those persons who have vanished.

A popular theory is held within the community as to the whereabouts of those players who have lost. Many believe that those who did not find success have been doomed to become it. These players having been taken, stripped of their form and substance, and forced to eternally play the game. Again, this is only speculation, and nothing has been proven or disproved as to the whereabouts of those who have lost. In the end it does not really matter what happened to those who lost; what matters is that you do not find out.


Lights Out is not a game to be handled lightly. The consequences of losing are severe and quite possibly fatal. The author hopes that with this description of the game, possible players are discouraged from taking part in the game. However, as with many illegal activities, persons will continue to do so despite the inherent risks. In this regard the author hopes that this guide has helped any individuals who have made up their mind to play this dangerous game. There are many more aspects of Lights Out that fall outside the scope of this guide. If one wishes to know more they only need to search for it.

Credit: EdmontoRaptor

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18 thoughts on “Lights Out: A Beginner’s Guide to Playing”

  1. hmm I am a theory person so I believe it’s a chain for those who lose meaning they weren’t ready or were not worthy of seeking their desire through such a dangerous way so the punishment for losing is becoming the player two and will stay that way until another person loses making these unrest people the player two of lights out

  2. This makes me really want to play but being that I’m pregnant I’ll wait lol. I’m definitely looking more into it! If it’s NOT a real game…good job author bc you have my curious mind hooked!

    1. So in looking into this i found a ritual called The Midnight Man which is similar but FAR more creepy! I’ll abstain from playing after all.

  3. So I was thinking. The easiest way to win the game seems to choose lights out and find a way to cause a power outage in the arena. However, it seems like doing this yourself may count as breaking rule 7 resulting in an automatic loss. So, I was wondering if it would be in accordance to the rules if you got someone else to do it from outside the building. The rules do state that you have to be alone and some regulations to how you prepare the arena, but they don’t say anything about teaming up with someone else before the game. Not that I remember at least.

    Anyways, I liked story and found the concept interesting. Still, I’m definetly not trying the game.

  4. awesome story…I know one thing, I am not every playing this freaking game. 8/10 can’t wait to read more from you.

  5. i can’t think of anything to ask for but i would try it because i have no friends and a demon doesnt seem so bad

  6. Let me get this straight. Nothing in the rules say that you have to physically be in the room to turn off the lights. Combine this with the fact that power outages are part of the game. It seems to me that the easiest way to win would be to choose the lights out option and when the game starts just casually trip the main breaker to the building. Now I just have to find the incantation and ritual…..

    1. I believe the rules stated if the power goes out, the game is forfeit, and if you mechanically manipulate the outcome, it is an automatic loss. I looked online and haven’t found anything about the game.

      1. Actually it states that a power outage is a win for the lights out player, which could be the human player. Though a mechanical advantage is still a disqualification

  7. Detective Muffins

    So what if you just stand in one room and keep the lightswitch in place. One room will always be lit, so you don’t lose? Or do you lose when it becomes 4AM?

    1. Game can only be played between 12 and 4am… plus “Don’t worry, the entity will not harm you while the game is in progress”

      I mean.. you probably could do that but eventually the game will end and i suspect that if you haven’t won by that point you’re not going to like the results.

    1. Isn’t that the point of creepypasta? To be completely believable? If commentators are actually asking about its validity, I suppose that means the author succeeded in creating a true creepypasta.

      I rated it 8/10. It’s written believably, but it’s not that scary.

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