An endurance game is a game where the object is to last as long as possible under some sort of stress. The stress might be physical pain, fear, social embarrassment or any other negative sensation. The important distinguishing feature of endurance games is that the object is to outlast one's opponents, rather than outdo them in any test of skill.
Endurance games are common in schoolyards, as they provide a way for children to establish a pecking-order based on toughness. They are also a feature of hazing rituals in institutions where hazing is common. One playing an endurance game grants consent to other players' eventual harm to oneself. One child justified hurting others during games which require one to do so, saying, "If they know the game then they know what's going to happen."
Among the Inuit, endurance games, "stress the body and test the limits of the individual's psychological and physical endurance," thereby helping, along with other games, to, "prepare children for the rigors of the arctic environment by stressing hand-eye coordination, problem solving, and physical strength and endurance."
- Ear pulling, an Inuit sport
There have been a number of gameshows or reality shows which have included tests of endurance. This style of gameshow was pioneered in Japan such as Za Gaman — "The Endurance" — and there are now several British and American shows which test the contestants in this way.
- Balls of Steel
- Fear Factor
- I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
- Za Gaman
- Gross, Albert (1986), Endurance, Dodd Mead, ISBN 9780396088882
- Laso, Pau Waelder (2007), "Games of Pain", Leonardo, MIT Press, 40 (3): 239–242, JSTOR 20206411, doi:10.1162/leon.2007.40.3.238
- Downey, Greg (2007), "Producing Pain", Social Studies of Science, Sage Publications, 37 (2): 201–226, JSTOR 25474514, doi:10.1177/0306312706072174
- Hoad, Richard; Moore, Paul (2012), The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges, VeloPress, ISBN 9781934030912