You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.
User reviews:
Very Positive (46 reviews) - 91% of the 46 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (5,006 reviews) - 92% of the 5,006 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 6, 2012

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November 25, 2016 launch and Steam keys for account ownership

Hi y'all, I've had a few requests over the years for a way to bind You Have to Win the Game to your account so it will still appear in your library when uninstalled. Steam doesn't normally support this for free games, but activating a key for the game will have this effect. (Low-cost zero-content DLC will apparently do the same, but I personally don't care for that option.) Unfortunately, this has meant handling these requests on a case-by-case basis in the past.

Today, I made You Have to Win the Game available on This is the first time the remixed campaign and cat mode have been released outside of Steam, and thanks to's flexible payment options, this also provides an automated way to extend Steam keys to those who want them.

You Have to Win the Game is still free as always, but if you pay at least $1.00 on, you'll receive a Steam key that will bind the game to your account so it will still appear in your library when uninstalled.

This probably impacts a relative few of you, but if this was something that bothered you in the past, there is now an automated process for addressing it. :)

As an aside, you may encounter a "product was already owned" error when attempting to activate one of these keys due to the existing complimentary license. Here is an email I received detailing how to go about fixing that:

A little breakdown of the steps I took though, it might help other people:

I tried activating product using the key you sent me; Steam gave the error that the "product was already owned." It was hinting at the YHtWtG entry marked as "Complimentary" in the "Licenses and product key activations" page of my account information, which was added to my account the first time I downloaded the game. Every free product marked as complimentary has a "Remove" button, and can easily be removed from the account. So I uninstalled the game and then removed its complimentary license entry. The game was now removed from my library (after uninstalling) and from my account completely.

After completely removing all traces of the game from both my computer and my account, I attempted a second time to activate the license using the key you provided. It worked this time; no error. Before even installing the game, it popped up in my library, indicating that, yep, it worked. But to be absolutely sure, I reinstalled the game, uninstalled it again, and the game did not disappear, ready for quick and easy re-installing (which, of course, I did :).

So... using the key most definitely does work. If anyone ever has a problem activating a key, it's most likely because of the complimentary license added to the account automatically when a user first downloads a game. Easy fix, the experiment was completed successfully (in all of two minutes). And again, thanks!

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About This Game

Originally released in May 2012, You Have to Win the Game has now arrived on Steam with a more difficult remixed campaign and Playable Cat DLC*!!

You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.

Run, jump, and avoid deadly pitfalls as you explore the ruins of a lost world in search of hidden treasures and rare artifacts!

Experience the thrill of four-color CGA graphics and monotonic PC speaker sounds! Or take a peek at the future of home entertainment with the SIXTEEN-COLOR EGA GRAPHICS option!

Want a tougher challenge? Try YOLO mode! You only live once -- one wrong move and it's back to the start of the game!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP SP2
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 32-bit executable
    • OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or similar
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
Customer reviews Learn More
Very Positive (46 reviews)
Very Positive (5,006 reviews)
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