When we were considering ideas, we wanted to try and bring light to an often neglected problem; addiction. It can come in many forms, from substance abuse to video games. But one of the most devastating habits for Americans is a gambling addiction. So we wanted to put users of our program into the perspective of those who face this challenge, and raise awareness.

What it does

The Losing Hand is a fitting name for the project, because that's just what it is; a blackjack game with no way to win. No, it's not rigged, no more than an honest casino game is. But when you play The Losing Hand, you aren't staking your money, but rather your legacy. The closest that we could come to taking hard earned money from hackers like us, it taking away our livelihood; our computer files. That's right, The Losing Hand's ante is one computer file, randomly selected from anywhere on your main drive. If you win the hand, any files you bet are given immunity, but if you can't beat the house, that file is deleted permanently, emulating the feeling of regret that gamblers feel when they lose their belongings, their families, and everything their lives build up to before they decided to roll the dice.

How we built it

We discussed what we would feel the most pain from betting away, and we both agreed that our time spent adding to our hard drives was significant enough to feel a sting. With that in mind, we just wanted to make a medium to deliver that feeling, without taking away from the message. So we started making a simple blackjack program in eclipse, and gave it the ability to kill off files at random.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge we faced with this project was our slow start. We had originally planned to try something physical, but we didn't feel that the project would be as successful as we had hoped for. We didn't change our plan until 12 hours into the competition. Additionally, neither of us had much experience drawing with java, so it took quite some time to make a full display, which made our time frame even tighter.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were concerned about not having enough time to work out the small bugs with the program, which would attract more attention than we wanted from our intended "simple" medium. We had quite a few bumps in the road, but it seems that we have smoothed them all out.

What's next for The Losing Hand

We don't intend for The Losing Hand to become anything more than a message and a different kind of videopoker. In fact, it would be very troubling to us if many people started wasting away their files. Like we said, we chose the thing that made us the most uncomfortable. If people started to spread this, we would be responsible for the loss of family photos, game save files, or even non-default web browsers.

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