The Escalator Game: definitive rules and regulations

D for Dalrymple: The Escalator GameThe aim of this post is to set out in writing the rules of the world-famous Escalator Game (aka the Escalator Challenge and That Weird Thing Christina Does Underground).

It is to be hoped that this article will become the go-to online resource and definitive* rulebook both for London players and those who seek to introduce the Game to escalators outside Zone 6.


The aim and general purpose of the Escalator Game is to pick a person from the opposite escalator with whom you would be happy to have sex.

The skill of the Game lies in the selection.


Scholarly opinion is divided as to the Game’s origins, but most thinkers agree that it’s probably something that I heard on Adam and Joe a while back and have been dedicatedly ripping off ever since.

From humble beginnings in West London, the Game has lately enjoyed a surge in popularity due to my telling everyone I meet at parties about it. Soon, you too will discover that this is not so much a game as a way of life.


Though traditionally a sport of the London underground, the Escalator Game can be played in any setting wherein there are two or more parallel escalators moving in opposite directions. The escalators MUST be in motion, and they must be moving in opposite directions.

In the event that there are three or more escalators, two or more of which are moving in the same direction, the escalator(s) used to play the Game must be moving in the opposite direction to that which transports the player.


The Escalator Game can be played by and with anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual preference, disability or species.

While traditionally a solo pastime, the Game can on occasion be played discreetly in pairs. Doubles players should note that verbal discussion of tactics is strongly discouraged during play.

Playing The Escalator Game in teams of more than two people is prohibited due to the logistical difficulties that such a situation would necessarily entail. Also, because it’s tacky and disgusting.


1. The first and most important rule of the Escalator Game is that you must, by the time you reach the other end, have picked someone from the opposite escalator to have sex with.

i) Play begins as soon as you step onto the escalator and ends as soon as you disembark.

ii) Play is not affected by the direction of travel.

2. You may make only one choice. Once made, your choice is final and you must have sex with your chosen person. This is completely and legally binding.

3. Choice of a target can only be made while the target is moving towards or is level with the player. Once a target has moved past you, they can no longer be chosen.

i) Retrospective choice is prohibited.

ii) Not even if you turn around.

4. If you reach the end of the escalator without having made a choice, then you have not only lost the Game but caused bad things to happen to your family.

5. If you have chosen by the time you disembark but find yourself unhappy with your choice, then you must accept that you have either played badly or that today will be a Bad Day.

6. If you have made a choice by the time you disembark and are content with your choice, then congratulations – you have won the Escalator Game.


The skill of the Escalator Game lies in the exercise of superlative observational skills and considered judgement. The most successful players of the Game have access to vast reservoirs of intimate self-knowledge, yet natural instinct is more often than not tempered by a deep understanding of mathematical probability in nature.

Intuition must be guided by supreme self-control. Players must resist the often overwhelming urge, dictated by the keen-edged fear of ending up with a minger, to make an early selection. Yet strategy must also be informed by the necessity of picking judiciously and in good time, lest the player be forced to select a person or animal unworthy of their sexual favours at the very end of their escalator journey.


While certain rules of the Escalator Game can be said to be inviolable and absolute (see above), it must be conceded that the Game is still at an early stage of codification: therefore, we will consider suggestions for additions or improvements to play.

Early suggestions include:

“So, right, you’re on an escalator going up, but it’s like rush hour, so there are like two coming down yeah? So in that situation you should totally be forced to pick one person from each escalator and they have to be of different genders. Deal with it.”

“If you’re playing the Game and you spot someone else on the other side and they’re clearly also playing the Game and you make eye contact with them – you should both have to shout ‘I’m winning the Game!’ really loudly.”

“If you’re playing the Game and see someone else playing the Game, that means you have to have sex with them. That makes things interesting, and also charitable – because you might win that way, but they DEFINITELY win that way. Hur hur hur.”

All reasonable submissions will be considered. Please post below.

A cursory glance at YouTube reveals the already grave dilution of the Escalator Game’s rules. Further proof of the continuing need to end the speculation, debunk the myths and eliminate the schisms that threaten to corrupt this noble sport.

EDITED at 22.42 on Monday 3 September for grammar and lols

About Christina Kenny

Christina Kenny is a music journalist based in London.
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2 Responses to The Escalator Game: definitive rules and regulations

  1. Escalator Sex Isn't Always A Game says:

    My version is that if you don’t pick someone to shag by the top of the escalator, you have to shag the last person you pass on it. It is better that way.

  2. Christina says:

    Compelling – and this is certainly the way that I play the Game.

    But I didn’t make choice compulsory because it seems a bit prescriptive. You should always have the option to lose, for example.

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