Lose/lose is computer game that destroys your files, reminds me of a few operating systems…

lose/lose is a game about choice and consequence, and by extension what it means to succeed (fail). You play the role of a space captain on a seemingly endless quest to destroy attacking aliens. You receive one point for each alien you kill. You have one life, and if an alien touches you, you will explode. If you manage to kill all of the aliens without dying, you will win the game. There is an online scoreboard which is viewable below. Although lose/lose is a video-game, everything that happens while you play is real. Each alien is procedurally generated out of a file on your computer. When you kill an alien, the file it was created from is destroyed. On the other hand, if you are killed, the application itself will be destroyed.

12 thoughts on “lose/lose – a computer game that destroys your files

  1. This game looks like it is only for Mac (or I could not find a Windows/Linux version on the site). Someone must have a grudge.

  2. I can see why this would be fun (in a vm/new user account), but ultimately it’s more of an art-project than fun-but-cool….
    There was however a funky version of Doom (also for mac) that had all the monsters representing a process, so if you killed the chainsaw demon thing with “safari.app” above it’s head, Safari would bite the dust…
    Bigger the demon, more ram/cpu it was using. Kinda like top, but with a gun :)

  3. Lose/Lose’s central point is essentially a straw man argument. Its statement about violence in video games drains the context out of video games in order to make its point. The ambiguity it tries to establish by linking real data loss with the loss of a virtual (fake/imaginary) life is a poor analogy for the ethical or moral argument it attempts to make. The heavy-handed message that killing things results in them being lost forever is a simplified morality taking nothing complex into account. There is also the implied argument about violence in video games that was almost certainly considered when making this. The long-stated, long-deflated argument that virtual violence desensitizes us to the violence of the real world.

    The fact of the matter is that the video game audiences of today require more context than the video game audiences of the past. They want to know why things are happening. They want to know what the points are of the decisions they make are. They want their games to make them feel something.

    Ironically, every question that the artist raises has been addressed and handled with far more panache and skill by video games themselves. Without any simplified “real-life consequence,” game audiences have felt the pressure of complex ethical decisions (torture or stay ethical and lose many of your powers in Fable 2), the surreal satire of the action genre’s sociopathic tendencies (the GTA series) and even the remorse of lives ended forever (the thousands that still mourn for Aeris in Final Fantasy 7).

    Someone has already brought up the fact that the major question of the role of data as a cherished possession has already been answered; and once again, it was answered by video games themselves.

    So finally I put my opinion in: this piece is not a quality artwork especially when compared to works that have covered the exact same ground as it has, some with bigger budgets, some with the same small budgets. The methods it employs to try and make its ethical arguments are heavy-handed and simplistic. In an attempt to “pare down” the concept of video game violence and distill it to an essential core, the artist has missed the point of video games entirely.

    And at the very last, I offer this speculation: How will the artist feel when the Internet corrupts his work like so many others in the past? He has essentially written a terribly effective trojan horse malware program. A ridiculously simple hack is all that is required to strip or change the warning documentation at the beginning of the game. In an attempt to draw a simplistic analogy for the nature of murder, he may very well have empowered scores of real-world people who are real-life malicious to prey upon the unwilling.

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