There’s a pixelated goose dragging my cursor all over my computer screen and every time I try to close the program that unleashed it more just pop up, threatening me with bad jokes and a chorus of honks.
This is the unnerving magic of game designer Sam Chiet’s Goose Desktop, a riff on last year’s popular animal mischief simulator Untitled Goose Game. Released yesterday on the indie storefront itch.io, the game dumps a goose onto your computer to mess with you until you just can’t take it anymore.
While popping up windows with stonk memes to shame you into closing Excel doesn’t ultimately lead to anything more nefarious, my Windows security still treated Desktop Goose with caution, flagging it for potential viruses, and with good reason.
Desktop Goose is ultimately just an engine for funny pranks, but losing even the slightest control over my computer immediately made the Goose squad tracking mud across my screen feel more real than a standard video game antagonist.
I wasn’t even certain how I could shut it off at first. There’s no option to close Desktop Goose when you right-click the icon, and the folder it’s stored in doesn’t have a readily available option for uninstalling it.
“Holy shit, you actually opened the readme. Good for you!” the game’s “read me” text file begins. It turns out even turning the game off is a tug-of-war, requiring you to hold the escape button for several seconds as a meter drunkenly stumbles toward filling all the way up.
Eventually the geese go scurrying off the edge of the screen. I’m afraid of what they’ll do to me if I ever let them back out again.