No Smiles Allowed Game and Why You Both Lose and Win in It

And how it works both as a single and a multiplayer game

Victoria Ichizli-Bartels
Gameful Life
Published in
6 min readApr 6, 2022


Photo by Caju Gomes on Unsplash

In this article, I introduce a quirky little self-motivational game in which you both win and lose simultaneously, depending on what you consider the game's goal.

But first, a slight detour in defining a self-motivational game. It might be I am the first to define this term. And here is how I do it:

A self-motivational game is a result of adjusting or approaching your life in such a way that whatever you do feels like a fun game that you are eager to enjoy — both in terms of designing and playing it.

Awareness games

There are many types of self-motivational games. Some of them I identified in this article:

But some new types appear as I continue turning everything in my life into fun games, which means approaching my life utterly gamefully. One of the newer types below is what I think of as awareness games, where I don't fight or judge my upsets and worries but approach them — yes — gamefully.

Here is an article describing one of such games:


In this piece, I want to introduce you to a seemingly paradoxical game that urges you to fight the urge to have fun and instead be serious.

It comes from a game that my children like very much.

I pretend to be extremely serious and tell them not to laugh or smile. That usually results in fits of laughter combined with their vain attempts to straighten their faces and not smile or laugh. My solemn praises of their attempts to be serious make them explode with laughter, at which I playfully scowl and…



Victoria Ichizli-Bartels
Gameful Life

Life gamer, life coach, author, engineer; originator of Self-Gamification — an art of turning life into fun games →