Blink and you lose: try the intense stare-off challenge of staring at strangers online

How long can you stare at a stranger without blinking? That's the object of Stranger Video. When you visit the site and give it access to your webcam, you get paired with a stranger that you must stare at. The first person to blink loses.

I was nervous to try it, but I worked up the courage and clicked the button. It told me to close my eyes until I heard a chime, which I did. A three-second timer started and then I was looking at the cropped face of another person. Naturally, my eyes started burning and I had to fight the urge to keep them open. The other person had more fortitude, and beat me.

I played several more times, and started getting better at forcing myself not to blink. After a few rounds, I started winning about as often as I lost.

The creator of the game, eieio, said they were inspired by the awkwardness of acknowledging someone from a distance in a hallway and initially wanted to make a game about that experience. The idea evolved into "Stranger Video" after discussing eye tracking and the concept of staring at strangers. The creator intentionally avoided making it too game-like to preserve the experience of a fleeting connection with a stranger.