The Absolute Game is Skids' 1980 third album (not counting the two different versions released of their second album, 1979's Days in Europa) and was produced by Mick Glossop.
The album continued Skids' progression from a punky sound into a more mellow one - paralleled by many bands of the period. The album has a great deal in common with Days in Europa, but not much with its successor, Joy. Around this time the band was riven by internal rifts and disagreements, leading to various changes in personnel. Soon after the release and tour of The Absolute Game, Adamson and Baillie left the band. A great deal of Big Country's future sound and style can be heard in this album. In particularly on Hurry On Boys, which features bagpipe simulations and real didgeridoo. Joy has a completely different sound from other Skids albums, and some fans consider The Absolute Game to be the last canonical Skids album. This album also marked the first collaborative effort between Richard Jobson and new bassist Russell Webb, who continued to work together in the band The Armoury Show and also on Jobson's solo album Badman.
Initial copies came with a limited edition second disc entitled Strength Through Joy, a collection of material recorded during The Absolute Game sessions but omitted from the album. Its songs apparently feature members of the band playing each other's instruments. Richard Jobson, Skids' lead singer, later stated that this title had been taken from Dirk Bogarde's autobiography and was not based on the Nazi slogan Kraft durch Freude. However, it continued the controversial theme of the first release of Days in Europa, which had also been withdrawn after accusations of Nazi glorification.