Clicker games are really fun you guys.
But also fun.
Clicker/Idle games boil video gaming down to its barest, most animalistic parts. They’re still just enough of a game that I can’t stop playing them, even as I see the horror of all the time going away for what is essentially nothing.
In these games, you’re presented with an infinite progression of levels, an infinite number of enemies to click on, and a bunch of companion characters you can level up. You click on things to kill them, get money, and use the money to upgrade yourself and your team.
Then you do it again.
Then you do it again, only a little faster.
And the numbers keep going up.
Like to click a lot? You can work on improving your clicking power. Like to just watch the numbers go up? You can focus on powering up your team and then just watch the game play itself.
Most of these games are loaded up with all kinds of incentive-based stuff to keep you coming back and clicking on things. Most of them are free-to-play, and offer purchases that will speed the game up so you can level faster. But there’s not usually a proper endgame…just more numbers to get.
This shouldn’t work. It should be stupid.
But the best examples are still weirdly compelling. Clicker Heroes is great. Ragnarok Heroes is great. Many others are great.
You can easily be playing five or six of these at one time, especially on a smartphone. When you’re not playing, your dudes will still be fighting, and when you come back you get all the gold they earned. And then for a while you feel unstoppable, since you can suddenly jump way up the progression ladder.
These games are the definition of horrible grinding Skinner boxes. Kind of like all video games. But no other genre is so brazen about it.
And I respect that.
If gaming is just going to be a bunch of psychological hooks that keep me coming back, why not be brutally honest about that? There’s something about this hilarious honestly that’s really appealing.
Graphics are surprisingly good in a lot of these games, and even though they’re grindy, I’ve never felt overly-compelled into shelling out tons of cash.
I escape this genre every now and then for the more complex solace of “regular” video games. But I can’t deny the endless compulsion of the never-ending grindy progression ladder of clicker games.
Just don’t try these or you won’t get away. And they might totally screw up your perceptions of other games.