If you were one of those people that found yourself spending hours and hours clicking little brown squares of dirt in Farmville because you just had to harvest 72 more turnip crops before you could afford the next field size upgrade, it’s probably in your best interests to stop reading now and forget that you ever saw this article. The rest of your life will thank you for it.
Cookie Clicker is a free, browser based game where you click on a cookie on screen to make more cookies. You then use those cookies to purchase things that allow you to make cookies faster. Sometimes a golden cookie appears on the screen. You click that and you get some bonus cookies, and sometimes they cause your production to be increased for a short duration. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. But I can’t stop playing.
This game has eaten the lives of many people that I know, not just myself. It uses some of the dirtiest Farmvillian tricks to make itself addictive in the way that Candy Crush or World of Warcraft is addictive. You are presented with an easily achievable goal. You must do one thing over and over again to achieve that goal. The goals are then presented further and further outside your reach, but still close enough to be enticing. So you keep playing.
In this case, the goals are cookie making equipment and upgrades. At first you buy more cursors to click for you. Then you start hiring (or buying?) Grandmas to bake cookies for you. Next thing you know you are buying chocolate mines and lunar shipments, time machines and antimatter condensers, all in the interests of growing your cookie empire.
As the game wears on, you can start upgrading things. The grandmas’ rolling pins, the factories, the farms…the grandmas. If you stick it out for a while, the grandmas start to change. I won’t get into too much detail about that, since it is the only part of this game that could pass for a plot. Let’s just say that it hasn’t even started to get weird until you purchase the Bingo Hall/Cookie Research Centre.
The grandmas also send you messages through the news ticker every so often. They start off pretty innocuously: “Give us a kiss.”
“Come see me.”
“We’re nice grandmas.”
It’s too late for me, but I leave you with these parting words, the same that were said to me when I first heard about Cookie Clicker: If you value your free time, do not play this game. As a follow up, when you inevitably start playing, just set up a clicking macro or you’ll break your mouse.