Anyone who has ever played a video game—whether in an arcade, using a gaming console, or on a PC—knows how a good kill can get one all excited and pumped up. Games that involve killing certain entities give us the thrill of being in such an exhilarating situation, without suffering any serious consequence. A certain Mac OS X game called Lose/Lose has been getting attention for its rather controversial effects.
The game, created by Zach Gage, somewhat resembles the format of the popular game Space Invaders, wherein the player is represented by a spacecraft and the goal is to kill the aliens placed all over the screen. Gage’s game, however, has a different twist, which has been causing quite a stir.
The new twist in Lose/Lose is that the aliens in the game—the ones that the player must kill to stay in the game—represent random files in the user’s system. Whenever the user kills an alien, the file the alien represents is deleted. Should the user refuse to kill the aliens, he/she will lose and the game itself will be deleted.
This interesting consequence of the game is clearly stated in Gage’s website where the game can be downloaded.
Gage describes his creation as a means to answer the question: “Why do we assume that because we are given a weapon and awarded for using it, that doing so is right?” Curious intentions or not, however, the game presents high risks and may be very easily abused. A user who may have acquired the file without knowing its effects may end up with a large number of deleted critical files.
The file has thus been classified as a malware and is now detected as OSX_LOSEGAM.A. The game tests the users’ killer instinct: the user is placed in a situation where he/she is handed a weapon and told that his/her survival depends on his/her ability to kill his/her prey. This usage of natural human reactions to trigger certain actions may be a form of research to some but what we see it as is this: a social engineering technique.
Mac users can get protection from this and other threats by using the Trend Micro Smart Surfing for Mac.