Pogo Game

Main Piece

JD described a game called Pogo, where all participants take turns in a circle claiming, “I can pogo from X to Y” (filling in an arbitrary X and Y). After each statement, the person running the game will tell them if they can or cannot do it. The game continues until everyone realizes the pattern that allows them to pogo from one place to another. JD learned this game from his friend PJ from Las Vegas, who “knows a bunch of these games.” JD also mentioned, “it’s more fun once you’ve figured it out to not say but to demonstrate and watch other people struggle.”

Some selections from our rounds:

JD: “Okay. I can pogo from this roof to Cy’s fire pit.”

CT: “Okay… I can pogo from the Empire State Building to the ground.”

               JD: “You can.”

BM: “Can I pogo from this roof to the fire pit?”

               JD: “No.”

JD: “Okay, okay. I can pogo from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.”

After a long while of us not getting the pattern, JD made it very obvious by starting to repeat “okay” many times before speaking. The answer was that you have to say “okay” before you speak – this and only this allows you to pogo from X to Y.

Informant background

JD is a student at the University of Southern California. He is from Las Vegas, NV.

Performance context

This story was told during a folklore collection event that I set up with a diversity of members from the USC men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. We were in a classic folklore collection setting: sharing drinks around a campfire, in a free flowing conversation.


These interactive riddle games are often constructed so that the answer appears more complicated than it actually is. They often involve pointing out concrete objects, people, or places, so that the guesser’s attention is diverted to those specifics, while the real answer is something more abstract about the words used or delivery of the speaker. This paradigm shows up across almost all of the question-and-answer riddle games I have experienced.