Game Review #11/Musings : Breaking the 4th wall?

warning

lose/lose, by Zach Gage

Download (free): http://www.stfj.net/art/2009/loselose/

Wait, not really a review. I’ve never played it, and probably never will. As this warning suggests, this Space Invader-like game erases a file every time you shoot an enemy. You heard right, real computer files in your drive.

lose/lose  effectively breaks the “fourth wall” between the virtual gaming world and the player, by connecting the results of the game to real consequences(files being deleted). When the player dies from the aliens’ attack, the game itself gets deleted.

The destructiveness of the gameplay is demonstrated under user’s consent. You destroy your files on your behalf; but what makes the players voluntarily carry out such an utterly useless and destructive process?

LoseLoseScrren

The game’s official webpage asks us:

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

This brings us back to the nature of video games. Sure, games award you with virtual “scores”, but what does this mean to the player and his/her real world?  What is our motivation for playing video games? Since the deleted files are also a part of a cyber environment, where lies the distinction between a virtual world and a real one at the first place?

(Interestingly enough, apparently some antivirus softwares recognize lose/lose as a malware.)

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