Posted by: pandamoanimum | January 25, 2011

A (Personal) History of Hashtag Games…

“Whitney Houston, we have a problem”…

Twitter hashtag pun games are like marmite, by which I mean you either love them or hate them rather than they’re rich in B Vitamins and nice on a slice of toast. Me, I’m a marmite lover and at one time I had quite a taste for hashtag games too.

It was probably about 18 months ago that I first tentatively dipped my toes in the hashtag game pool. Before long I had dived right in and spent many an hour indulging in them. I was able to use these games as a source of brief escapism from the dullness of domestic duties and as a chance to fire up the old grey matter. I’m a stay at home mum; I need stimulation, so these games were a good source (and weren’t going to get me in trouble with the husband!) I played games that completely ranged in diversity. From the sublime to the ridiculous, but all entertaining, like #Failedgameshowtitles (Mock the Weak, The Weakest Lynx) or #Alienporn (Debbie does Daleks, The XXX Files).

Even though the general themes of most of the games were plays on mash ups of films, songs, celebrity names and the like, there was still a broad assortment to engage in. A range like #Sheepfilms (Bleat the Flockers), #Breadsongs (Pitta Sweet Symphony, Naan, I wish I was your Lover) or #Celebdrinks (Magners Magnusson, Lemonade Edmondson).

Often really ingenious games would be thrown into the mix. Some that would be so popular that even some of the celebs on Twitter would deem them worthy enough to partake in. One example I remember was @davesusetty‘s ‘2 Dalmatians’ tweet for #Unseenprequels, which consequently took Twitter by storm.

After playing these games for a while though, I began to experience a sense of déjà vu as I noticed the same ones being replayed and the same repetitive puns being thrown out into my timeline. For example, #Cheesefilms would be played over and over again with Edam becoming a Trending Topic (‘Edambusters’ seemingly being the most obvious pun to, erm, churn out).

Then the games started to take a turn for the tedious. #3wordsaftersex was amusing the first time round, even though there are only so many variations of ‘Your mum’s/dad’s/brother’s/sister’s/dog’s better’ that one timeline can handle. But, like a bout of food poisoning after a satisfying meal, it wasn’t quite so pleasant to see on a second viewing.

The monotony then continued as it became #5wordsaftersex and #9wordsaftersex which, in my humble opinion, were not any funnier just because you had additional words to play with.

#3wordsaftersex:“Are you breathing?”

#5wordsaftersex “Hello? Are you still breathing?”

#9wordsaftersex “Hello? Are you still breathing? Shall I call 999?”

You get the picture.

Soon the games seemed to become, in my opinion, lazy. #Replacearseforheartsongs is the first example of this that sticks in my brain, no matter how hard I try to dislodge it (and believe me, I’ve tried). To me, the whole fun of these games is to have to think about them, to actually have to engage your brain, not to just Google ‘Songs with the word heart in them’ and then tweet Every. Single. Song. that the search produced with the replaced words.

Tell it to my arse. Don’t go breaking my arse. Heart of arse. Quit playing games with my arse….

Now don’t get me wrong, my inner child likes a snigger as much as anyone’s, but the ‘easiness’ of this sort of game turns my inner child into the class swot who puts up their hand  and asks for harder homework.

It was probably around the time games like this became more prominent that I stopped playing. I quietly withdrew myself from what once offered such fun for me as they just didn’t hold the same appeal any more.

A few weeks ago though (hence the inspiration for this blog), my timeline suddenly became clogged with the hashtag game #replacebumholeforheartsongs. I don’t know who the originator of this game was but I’m sure they were as equally proud as I was appalled when ‘Bumhole’ became a Trending Topic. I literally had a Twitter stream full of bumholes (take that as you will) to the point where I felt the need to send out an impassioned tweet plea to find out if there was a way to filter these tweets to a Room 101 type place where I didn’t have to view them. Surely there were superior games out there yet to be played that weren’t so sluggishly trite?

So, that said, I did start taking notice again of the games that cropped up in my timeline and saw that, if you looked hard enough, there was still the odd gem of a game floating about in amongst the banality of repeats and slovenly aforementioned types. I remembered how much of a source of entertainment they had been at one time (what can I say, I don’t get out much) and whilst I haven’t fully taken the plunge, I have gradually started playing now and again, if the pun moment takes me, like #Lessiconicmovielines (‘We’re going to need a bigger coat’, ‘I’m just a Gull, standing in front of a buoy, asking him to love her’) and #Sponsoredliteraryclassics (Big MacBeth , Lidl Women)

I think what it really comes down to, like with all aspects of Twitter, is trying to ignore what you dislike and focus on what you do find fun, engaging etc. Tweeters view hashtag games in different ways. This is just my outlook and something I wanted to get out of my system. It’s certainly not an attack on those who do contribute to the games I dislike, so please don’t feel paranoid and think I’m referring to you. And if paranoia is a problem, I’d just put it down to too much hash in your timeline…


Below are examples of a few of the games of old I enjoyed playing (ok, the ones I can remember) along with some of my inputs to each that I literally tried to make a hash of…

#Scifidiseases: Hemmorrdroids, Chewbaccaterial Pneumonia

#Popepop: A Town called Chalice, Vaticandyman, Some Mitre Say

#Animalmusicians: Rat King Mole, Pixie Ocelot, Mick Jaguar

#SportsBeatles: Lady Maradonna, Hey Judo

#Bandfilms: The Beatles Juice, S Club Se7en

#Composerfilms: Bach to the Future, Schindler’s Lizt

#Cockneyfilms: For Whom the Bow Bell Tolls, Millwall-E

#Supermarketfilms: Cash Back to the Future, Checkout of Africa, Sparface, Somerfield of Dreams, Troll-E, Waitrosemary’s Baby, Fair Trading Places

#Poeticfilms: A Bard Day’s Night, Raine Mann, Haiku Musical

#Chocolatesongs: Nestlé Lady Lay, Careless Wispa, Hershey’s The One

#Hospitalsongs: Coma Chameleon, Liver Deep, Mountain Stye, Scan you Heal it?

#FilmsmadeScottish: Perth Girls are Easy, Tartanic, Thistle down the Wind

#Vegcelebs: Brussell Howard, Aubergine Pitney

#Rodentsongs: Shrew can leave your rat on, Marmot told me not to come, I can’t gopher that.

#Boozyfilms: Absolut Beginners, Educating Margarita, Schindler’s Pissed

I’ll shut up now. If you made it this far, and you’re not my mum, then I thank you…







  1. When I first joined Twitter, I used it as a sort of microblog (which, correct me if I’m wrong, was the the original intention of Twitter).

    But it was seeing hashtags, and how they were used, that then became the ‘second step’ if you will. Understanding that they were essentially a way of grouping things together made Twitter easy and more fun to use.

    When it comes to hashtag GAMES however, it was an entirely different story. I have ALWAYS loved puns, and I found most of my original tweeps through these pun-based games, many of whom I still interact with daily.

    I’ve had three hashtags of my own trend at number one worldwide (#crapsuperpowers, #friendsweneversaw and #unseenprequels), and it’s amazing to see a silly little thought you have on your tea break being taken up and enjoyed all over the world.

    I love hashtag games, but I agree with what MP has said here. Each to their own and that, but each time #Xwordsaftersex rolls around, or #replaceXwithX, I sometimes find myself looking somewhat nostalgically back to when there were so many genuinely clever tags on the go, that you’d be hard pushed to find any entries for them!

    I’m starting to see people who used to play them all the time, but who went away for a while, joining in with them again-and that in turn makes ME want to join in.

    Maybe Twitter is entering a #hashtagrenaissance 😉

    Dave (thanks for the shoutout!)

  2. Yup. I’m with you here, especially on #wordsafter sex.

    I don’t mention it on twitter, but I don’t half miss the buzz of a really tricky hashtag game. I just lament their passing quietly to myself.

    They were my way into twitter, too. I even started one or two odd ones myself, which was utter joy really. Pure, silly joy.

    My personal favs include: #BadObituaries, #philosophysongs, #swearyStarWars, and #ThingsthatwouldstopGodzilla.

    Can we have them back? Please? I would really like that.

    And thanks for this blog. x

  3. OK, OK, you get to write the foreword. If I could get through this month’s work backlog…

  4. A great read Mandy,

    Hashtags were what got me started really, I joined in November ’08 but the account was mostly dormant until February ’09. I think a lot of people joined on the back of @StephenFry (#seewhatIdidthere) getting stuck in a lift and the subsequent media hype.

    Like Dave some of my oldest friends on twitter are the ones that were hashtagging back then. they are the people who give me a rush if I see a tweet from them after a while. I tend to notice if people are missing for a while, even if I don’t interact with them I miss their style.

    When the old games come round, it is nice to see new faces and some new ideas, we join in, have a go but interest diminishes quicker. That said, you meet some new people and new blood is essential.

    I joined in the bumhole area (you started the innuendo ;-p ), but it was short lived, after ten rapid posts I was burned out and that never used to happen. Also rapid fire hashtaggery seems to annoy more people these days. That may just be a result of me becoming a twitter whore who want’s to follow far too many.

    I loved all your blog and the last paragraph where you talk of getting from Twitter what you want, I agree whole heartedly, many people criticise how others use Twitter. People should of course tweet their opinions, but if they don’t like how people operate, why continue to read their stuff and rant about it.

    I shall be subscribing to 🙂

    Paul x


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