Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Lose/Lose: The Game That Deletes Your Files
September 23, 2009 9:24 AM   Subscribe

"Lose/Lose is a video-game with real life consequences. Each alien in the game is created based on a random file on the player's computer. If the player kills the alien, the file it is based on is deleted. If the players ship is destroyed, the application itself is deleted." via
posted by Plutor (105 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
So it's malware with a fun interface?
posted by hellphish at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2009 [15 favorites]


It deletes random files on my computer while making happy sounds about it?

Wasn't this called Windows 95?
posted by rokusan at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2009 [52 favorites]


Jesus Christ WTF
posted by Burhanistan at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess it does what it says on the tin...
posted by Pants! at 9:28 AM on September 23, 2009


There's a high score list!

arvernus slaughtered 412 alien(s)

Wow. I wonder if that was a home PC or an office PC.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:29 AM on September 23, 2009


I think I'll go over to my friend's house to play this.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:30 AM on September 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


Wow, this game is really gre;kl[][p@'8724...File Not Found: firefox.exe
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:31 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


So...the best thing you could do would be to lose the game immediately, thereby at least avoiding data loss? I guess you could draw things out a bit by dodging rather than shooting the enemies.

It would work better as a concept if killing the enemies prevented data loss, while sustaining hits or letting enemies get past the player caused data loss. Perhaps lost data would be restored each time the player successfully completed a level, so data loss would only be permanent if the player lost the game.

That way the player would really have something on the line. As it is, "the only winning move is not to play."
posted by jedicus at 9:31 AM on September 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


what
posted by sciurus at 9:31 AM on September 23, 2009


Ah, jedicus, but then it wouldn't be a deep commentary about killing and aggression.
posted by hellphish at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


A strange game... the only way to win is not to play.
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2009 [26 favorites]


One of the biggest problems in creating AIs that actually act like thinking things is the lack of motivation. An AI doesn't *need* anything to keep existing. When you add an element of desire, of need, to your program, (like say, making the power source/charger separate and your bots have to find the charger) you start getting the inklings of problem solving and stratagems after a few hundred generations.

Now take that and add a defense/offensive system, where in the bot has to not only protet its self but also DESTORY something else.

Well, you run that for a couple million generations and then I hope you all like living underground in resistance cells.
posted by The Whelk at 9:33 AM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


jedicus - Aw fuck.
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems like a good game to play using Sandboxie.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:34 AM on September 23, 2009


So does it have any real-life effects that are good? When you blow up other people's ships, does it download pictures of attractive young women or shoot chocolate chip cookies out the floppy drive?
posted by dunkadunc at 9:34 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would like this game more if there were ambiguous tradeoffs — you run some intel op, only maybe some of your files are quietly corrupted, rather than deleted. Or you kill aliens, lose files, but then you get an .mp3 of some random track, or a .torrent. You don't know what files you lose. Did you get what you wanted? Did you get something you liked? What did you lose? Can you even tell what the opportunity cost was, or do you just suffer a slow performance degradation and random flakiness?

That'd make it a much better analogy for war.
posted by adipocere at 9:35 AM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


So...the best thing you could do would be to lose the game immediately, thereby at least avoiding data loss?

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.
posted by rokusan at 9:36 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Goddamn ArtW again. Get. Out. Of. My. Head.
posted by rokusan at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2009


The maker of this game is going to get sued by a group of angry parents, possibly successfully.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


So it's malware with a fun interface?

I don't recall saying "fun".
posted by DU at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2009


Similar, although with less potential for data loss: psDooM, "Doom for sysadmins". Each monster represents a process running on the system, and killing a monster terminates the corresponding process. (Merely wounding it does a "renice +5".)
posted by The Pusher Robot at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


This thing is gonna get hijacked so bad and made to look like some charming bejeweled clone and by next year we're all writing letters to each other and calling on the phone and reading newspaper articles about how sad it is that we longer have wikipedia or funny cat videos.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2009 [38 favorites]


What stops you from creating a new account just for playing this game? Are people so ignorant about user administration and privilege separation that this game actually becomes dangerous? If the game only runs as admin, then that's what you get for doing something like running a game from an admin account.
posted by idiopath at 9:38 AM on September 23, 2009


Not clicking on that
posted by poppo at 9:41 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Goddamn ArtW again. Get. Out. Of. My. Head.

Blame jedicus!
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What stops you from creating a new account just for playing this game? Are people so ignorant about user administration and privilege separation that this game actually becomes dangerous? If the game only runs as admin, then that's what you get for doing something like running a game from an admin account.


Please see my above comment. Did we learn NOTHING from our ancestors? NO NETWORKED COMPUTERS.

So after The Great And Last Internet Upfuckening, the only interconnected computers are run by heavy-breathing Linux wizards who limit the whole thing to plain text and lengthy discussions on usability and proper protocol. The armies of the Eternal September shrug and go back to whatever it they did before and whole masses of myspace rants cry out, and are suddenly silenced.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Folks, don't you see? We HAVE to play this game on our neighbor's PC, so we're not forced to play it on our own!
posted by darkstar at 9:45 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is certainly an inefficient way to clear my browser's cache...
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:48 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


HAY I THINK THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS NOT TO PLAY LIKE THAT MOVIE ABOUT THERMONUCLEAR TIC-TAC-TOE AMIRITE
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:48 AM on September 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


So.... is this Windows only?
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:48 AM on September 23, 2009


This would be better with network support - head to head death matches, that kind of thing. Instead of killing your own computer - you kill someone else's...
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd like this idea more if it were grafted on to an online FPS, in deathmatch mode (though I still wouldn't be crazy enough to play it). Respawning would trigger the random deletion of one of your files. A serious penalty for death would make players much more conservative--or more likely to install the game on someone else's computer.
posted by Prospero at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2009


Jinx!
posted by Prospero at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2009


Holy crap that is eyeroll-inducing description on their page.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:51 AM on September 23, 2009


The Whelk: "the only interconnected computers are run by heavy-breathing Linux wizards ... The armies of the Eternal September shrug and go back to whatever it they did before"

Sounds good, when do we start?

who you calling heavy breathing?
posted by idiopath at 9:52 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, the first game made exclusively for VMWare.
posted by xthlc at 9:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


This would be better with network support - head to head death matches, that kind of thing. Instead of killing your own computer - you kill someone else's...

YOU DIE IN THE GAME YOU DIE FOR REAL
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, I wonder how many of the high scorers played the game in a virtual machine. That might be a little fun: load up a minimal Windows install and see how long it takes before playing crashes the virtual machine. Can you crash a modern version of Windows just by deleting files on a running system?
posted by jedicus at 9:54 AM on September 23, 2009


Goddamn ArtW again. Get. Out. Of. My. Head.
Blame jedicus!


I swear, you've been making me feel like Malkovich this week. Soon I'll be running around slapping myself: ITS! MY! HEAD!
posted by rokusan at 9:54 AM on September 23, 2009


Most of the internet is already plain text only and we could do worse than establishing a usability protocol! *breathes heavily*
posted by DU at 9:55 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I once pondered a game called MAFIA. It took your disk directory hostage and then you played some simple gambling game like craps, and you bet your files. If you lose they get deleted. Not nice...
posted by njohnson23 at 9:58 AM on September 23, 2009


Judging from the video, each type of file has a different ship graphic associated with it. The player killed a certain type of ship that would always flash "NEF" after it was destroyed (a RAW image format for Nikon cameras, it seems). Other ships would flash mp4, or mp3, or html, or whatever, and it seemed that the graphics for each were consistent. So a savvy player would have an added dimension to the game: not just killing everything, but killing the right things. From the abstract at the site:

Although touching aliens will cause the player to lose the game, and killing aliens awards points, the aliens will never actually fire at the player. This calls into question the player's mission, which is never explicitly stated, only hinted at through classic game mechanics. Is the player supposed to be an aggressor? Or merely an observer, traversing through a dangerous land?

Why do we assume that because we are given a weapon an awarded for using it, that doing so is right?


If you presented this game without context, the player would assume that the object is to kill everything (and probably delete a lot of stuff from their system in the process). This is the automatic assumption with a video game, especially a simple one like this, that you are a single hero against a world of agressors.

It's an interesting project, and something that's really cool to see coming out of the gaming community.
posted by codacorolla at 9:58 AM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Goddamn ArtW Professor Falken again. Get. Out. Of. My. Head
posted by Pollomacho at 9:59 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Although touching ghosts will cause the player to lose the game, and eating ghosts awards points, the ghosts will never actually fire at the player. This calls into question the player's mission, which is never explicitly stated, only hinted at through classic game mechanics. Why must the player eat the dots? Is the player supposed to be an aggressor pillaging a foreign land? Or merely an observer, inadvertently destroying the dotlike relics of an ancient civilization while the spirits of long dead residents attempt to thwart this destruction?
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:07 AM on September 23, 2009 [21 favorites]


A strange thread. The only way to win is not to post a WarGames line.
posted by never used baby shoes at 10:08 AM on September 23, 2009 [27 favorites]


I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror: No, not the Pr0n!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:09 AM on September 23, 2009


Vaguely reminiscent of that Xbox mecha game that deletes your savefile when you die. Iron Battalion, maybe?
posted by box at 10:17 AM on September 23, 2009


Vaguely reminiscent of that Xbox mecha game that deletes your savefile when you die. Iron Battalion, maybe?

Steel Battalion would delete your save game if you failed to eject when your mecha was destroyed, yes.
posted by jedicus at 10:25 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was hoping this was going to be a game called "Lose/Loose" where it would let me change incorrect usage of the word "loose" with the correct "lose."

I would be able to play that game for hours.
posted by flarbuse at 10:26 AM on September 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


simplify this...

a six shot revolver, one bullet, be nice and take turns

the odds are actually much better....
posted by HuronBob at 10:29 AM on September 23, 2009


So is there a winning move?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:30 AM on September 23, 2009


War! What is it good for?
posted by weston at 10:31 AM on September 23, 2009


It'd be better if it were Space Invaders, and the files were the planet/beach you were defending.

So... perhaps this is an app I shouldn't run in admin mode.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:33 AM on September 23, 2009


A strange thread. The only way to win is not to post a WarGames line.

This reminds of an anti-literacy campaign I've been meaning to start. People will be so afraid of reading something they're not supposed to that they'll just stop reading altogether.

I bet nobody has had this idea before!

(You just lost the game.)
posted by rokusan at 10:39 AM on September 23, 2009


a six shot revolver, one bullet, be nice and take turns
So is there a winning move?


Sure. Play with six friends.
posted by rokusan at 10:39 AM on September 23, 2009


A decade or so ago, in the comic book "Knights of the Dinner Table," Brian Van Hoose, RPG and computer nerd extraordinaire, came up with the idea of a game which deletes the user's files as a penalty for losing, in order to give the user the rush of adrenaline that can only come from real-world, permanent consequences.

Wonder if the author of this game was a KoDT reader?
posted by edheil at 10:42 AM on September 23, 2009


I wanted to make a game a while ago that would read your disk and generate a fort from it, with core system files being at protected center. You would then play against another person over the network, destroying his fort and the files associated with it while he does the same to you. The object being to kill his computer before he kills yours.

It wasn't a very popular idea amongst my friends.
posted by The Power Nap at 10:45 AM on September 23, 2009


This is annoying and Joker mallet. I think that simulated worlds could be a great place to explore various paths around conflict resolution, but everybody tarts it up with a super simplified morality system. When is someone going to make The Wire: the game? In which you try to remain true and loyal to your internal moral code while an external system slowly corrupts your motivations and and poisons your perspective. Huh people where's the indie developer doing that? Complete with 2d line art and really ethereal music, of course. I don't want them to over-extend themselves.
posted by edbles at 10:47 AM on September 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


You could play it in a virtual machine, if you wanted too.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 AM on September 23, 2009


If EA made The Wire: The Game, they'd nickel-and-dime you to death with street fashion DLC.
posted by box at 10:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


As it is, "the only winning move is not to play."

Or hack it, Kobayashi Maru style.
posted by emeiji at 10:53 AM on September 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Nintendo made The Wire: The Game, you'd play as Mario McNulty, and it would be like Super Mario Sunshine, except set in Baltimore.
posted by box at 11:00 AM on September 23, 2009


This reminds of an anti-literacy campaign I've been meaning to start. People will be so afraid of reading something they're not supposed to that they'll just stop reading altogether.

Oh, like playing Call of Cthulhu.
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I quite simply don't believe this is true.
posted by jefficator at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2009


That is, the game is a social experiment, not a real thing.
posted by jefficator at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2009


One file at a time? Amateurs, Myth II formatted your hard drive when clicking Uninstall, over a decade ago.

Not to mention Myth made you watch all your veterans get slaughtered time and time again while a soulless voice announced "Casualty".
posted by ersatz at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I tried playing a blackjack version of this where whenever someone busts, you rip their cards up. It got real messy, real fast.

In other news, my ban from Las Vegas will be up in two years, seven months, and eight days.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:06 AM on September 23, 2009


this must be what the computer repair guys at Circuit City used to play on the machines they would "fix."
posted by shmegegge at 11:10 AM on September 23, 2009


I'll shorten it by a step:

Strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Oh damn it!
posted by Naberius at 11:15 AM on September 23, 2009


box: If EA made The Wire: The Game, they'd nickel-and-dime you to death with street fashion DLC.

Sold to you in-game by Poot.
posted by ChrisR at 11:17 AM on September 23, 2009


Peoplepeoplepeople. That movie has more than one line. Look.

"Number of players: 0"

See? Now you try.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:37 AM on September 23, 2009


Shall. We. Play. A. Game.?
posted by matt755811 at 11:38 AM on September 23, 2009


My favorite line is

PLEASE LOGON WITH USER PASSWORD:
posted by Plutor at 11:42 AM on September 23, 2009


Mr. Lightman: This corn is raw!
Mrs. Lightman: I know, isn't it wonderful? It's so crisp!
Mr. Lightman: Of course it's crisp! It's raw!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 11:43 AM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one to actually try it? (I couldn't play it -- it's Mac only.)
posted by Zed at 11:49 AM on September 23, 2009


This reminds me of that version of doom that let you manage your processes Each process spawned as a different monster, and killing that monster did a kill -9. Wounding it just nice'd it, I believe. The best part was getting the monsters to shoot each other, or just unloading with a rocket launcher and crashing your box.
posted by heathkit at 11:50 AM on September 23, 2009


the only interconnected computers are run by heavy-breathing Linux wizards who limit the whole thing to plain text

Dave Langford has written a number of stories along these lines.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:51 AM on September 23, 2009


The Wire: The Game

Can I at least customize the in-game soundtrack so the opening song is always the correct Tom Waits version? I'd pay $44.99 for that.
posted by rokusan at 11:51 AM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Myth made you watch all your veterans get slaughtered time and time again while a soulless voice announced "Casualty".

That voice still chills me in memory.
posted by rokusan at 11:52 AM on September 23, 2009


Mr. Mckittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:53 AM on September 23, 2009


Wasn't this a Knights of the Dinner Table strip, like, fifteen years ago?
posted by kafziel at 11:56 AM on September 23, 2009


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

I'm really embarrassed that I had to look this up. (Yes, I googled before I read the whole thread.) At least I recognized it as something...right? right?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:59 AM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


An AI doesn't *need* anything to keep existing

Just make sure AI's need love. Seemed to work in "All Flesh is Grass."
posted by rr at 12:01 PM on September 23, 2009


Dan Mangan: Robots Need Love Too
posted by rokusan at 12:02 PM on September 23, 2009


From what I hear, they're working on a sequel where each alien you shoot physically corrupts a bit of your RAM. You know you've won the game when the background tune (something about bicycles, I think) grinds down to a dead stop.
posted by Spatch at 12:11 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey guys, hey! This remind me of WARGAMES!
posted by autodidact at 12:16 PM on September 23, 2009


A proper video game analog to the plot of the movie War Games would be a background process that deletes a random file on your computer every time someone dies in Iraq.
posted by idiopath at 12:18 PM on September 23, 2009


My copy of Fallout 3 did this to my 360.
posted by yeti at 12:37 PM on September 23, 2009


Meh. Wake me when someone makes a video game that is wired directly to an array of car batteries and tiny, adorable kittens. With webcams.
posted by webmutant at 1:51 PM on September 23, 2009


Webmutant, I smell a grant application.

And burning hair.
posted by rokusan at 2:03 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Webmutant, I smell a grant application.

And those moron Teabaggers claim the NEA is just a bunch of artsy-fartsy frivolity, bah!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:17 PM on September 23, 2009


And when my computer goes, nature will start again. With the bees, probably.
posted by chimaera at 2:19 PM on September 23, 2009


How many aliens are on each enemy ship?
posted by Eideteker at 2:43 PM on September 23, 2009


To come full circle: "The game is rigged, but you cannot lose if you do not play" - Marla Daniels
posted by arruns at 3:27 PM on September 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Minus: You shoot things and random files on your computer get deleted.

Plus: If you run into something and die the game deletes itself, limiting the damage done to your filesystem.

Thus, if you must play this, it's best to die immediately. At least in that case the program is kind enough to remove itself and limit further damage.

This reminds me of a Windows 3.1-era game called Inner Space, that salvaged icons off various programs on your hard drive and used them to represent resources in the game.

Someone above raved about the idea, and I'm all for interesting ways to design games and provide unusual restrictions for the player and all that, but really you just KNOW this is going to get passed around to unsuspecting people as a practical joke by idiots and jerks. This game is indistinguishable from a trojan.

box: "Vaguely reminiscent of that Xbox mecha game that deletes your savefile when you die. Iron Battalion, maybe?"

Or any roguelike?
posted by JHarris at 3:53 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm still kind of wondering if it really does what it says it does. Someone try it on a virtual machine.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:22 PM on September 23, 2009


This oddly reminds me of Doom as a Sysadmin tool....just less potentially useful.
posted by samsara at 4:24 PM on September 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This was the intended 2nd link...a little more information on the project :)
posted by samsara at 4:26 PM on September 23, 2009


Sweet, the Doom/Sysdmin reference is gaining on WarGames. Come on guys, you can do it!
posted by pompomtom at 6:32 PM on September 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'd play it if a robot slapped a pretentious artist around the face when you won.
posted by w0mbat at 8:10 PM on September 23, 2009


Someone try it on a virtual machine.

Fine, fine. I have an old XP box running several instances of XP on MS Virtual PC that I need to format anyway. If I have time I'll download this tomorrow.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:12 PM on September 23, 2009


Almost as cool as this.
posted by zerodark at 9:03 PM on September 23, 2009


I'm still kind of wondering if it really does what it says it does. Someone try it on a virtual machine.

I think it's just a video*

*not responsible for anyone's data loss if it turns out not to be
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:32 AM on September 24, 2009


This is a really cool idea, but you don't need real life consequences to make a game about these kind of decisions. Far Cry 2 comes to mind, as well as games like Demon Souls and Eve where the danger of loosing a lot of progress lingers throughout the game.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 7:32 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mister Potatohead! MISTER POTATOHEAD! Back doors are no secrets!
posted by cereselle at 10:10 AM on September 24, 2009


« Older Microsoft attempt to recreate the magic of the Son...  |  "All of which is a long way of... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments