Obsessing over Eggs and Bits
I got bored a week or so ago, and started looking up incremental/clicker games on the Apple App Store. I came across Egg, Inc and then later Bit City (by NimbleBit – the same folks who created Tiny Tower).
I got a little obsessive over them, getting pulled into the loop of building and growing and then… when things slow down, restarting and gaining “prestige.”
For those not familiar with clicker games, you need to get larger and larger numbers to advance to the next level. And if gameplay slows down, there becomes less you can actually do beyond just wait until your numbers grow on their own.
To get around this issue, some games introduce what’s called a “prestige” option. You can wipe all your progress, and start from the beginning again – but with a slight advantage called “prestige,” which is typically a percentage bonus. This approach allows you to start the game anew at a slightly faster pace, and lets you advance all over again.
I’ve been trying to think about what, specifically, it is that draws me into these sorts of games. There’s the repetitiveness, for sure. But I’m sure there’s a more specific or scientific explanation as to why something so monotonous provides such stimulation.
There’s an article I saw recently that I can’t seem to track down at the moment. It talked about “loops” we get into, watching videos online, or watching shows on Netflix. I think these games may tie into that theory.
With these games, there’s an initial draw and pleasure in starting… but eventually, they all slow down into this kind of grind, and it becomes less fun. I’ve been scanning the App Store for various clicker games, and most of them just aren’t that appealing – but I seem to have a penchant for this type of game mechanic, as I keep going back to them.
Lately, I’ve been thinking again about trying to code a game in this style. I know I don’t have the visual design chops to do anything fancy, so it may be a bit more abstract and a lot more modest.
Thinking about a game like this is an interesting problem and challenge. Making something like this has been on my to-do list for ages.
It’s about time.
Cookie Clicker: Addictive Game Involving Cookies, Alchemy Labs, and a Horde of Potentially Dangerous Grandmas
Spaceplan: Incremental Clicking Game That Involves Time Travel and… Potatoes
Candy Box: Addictive Text-Based Background Browser Game Involving Candies, Lollipops, and Talking Frogs
Candy Box 2: Sequel to the Text and Time-Based Accrual Game
Drowning in Problems: Minimal, Existential Text Game