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Tech by VICE

Kill Windows XP Once and For All in Microsoft's New Browser Game

Clippy will help you defeat the "pestilence on the peaceful developer community."

by Victoria Turk
Apr 10 2014, 4:10pm

Now we’ve bid a heartfelt farewell to the world’s favourite operating system, Microsoft seems keen to turn the outpouring of tearful grief into a spree of gleeful violence with a free browser game, Escape From XP.

The Internet Explorer team at launched the game, which puts the player in the position of “one man, one hero, still supporting IE6 on XP," long after others have fled the system, which is described as “a pestilence on the peaceful developer community.” It’s your mission, as the last brave hold-out, to defeat XP once and for all. 

It’s past its support date, and needs destroying—a playful goal in the game, but a deadly serious plea from Microsoft, who have been trying to wean people off for years with little avail and even now are having to extend their support for governments and businesses that are stuck in 2001.

To achieve the noble aim of XP destruction, you guide a pixelated avatar across the top of IE6 browser windows with old-school key controls in pleasingly retro 2D, and machine gun all the baddie icons that come at you: recycling bins on fire, a hoard of My Computers, and weaponised versions of the Internet Explorer “e.” There are even giant Clippy the paperclips beaming lasers out of their eyes in the background (though there was really no excuse to still be using the office assistant by the time XP came out; he died with DOS).

When you’re overcome by the XP hoards, a helicopter bearing the Microsoft logo sweeps in to save the day and you’re invited to press a big red button to escape from XP. “Let us give you some XP support one last time,” it says. “Hit the button and kiss XP goodbye.” In a beautiful detail, if you hesitate in finally putting the OS out of its misery, Clippy pops up: “It looks like you’re trying to destroy Windows XP. Would you like some help?”

And boom, it’s gone. Despite the mirthful killing spree, it’s all very nostalgic. The game is played within the frame of an outdated desktop monitor (beige!) and starts with the Windows XP start screen and chimes. “This battle is over,” the end screen reads, and says it will continue to support you on the “modern web”—a jibe, perhaps, at all those desperately clinging on, and a reminder of quite how ancient XP now is (by the tech world calendar, at any rate).

The message is simple: XP is dead. Get the hell out of there.