Clicker games honored, decried


Originally published at:


Idle games distill an inevitable fact of all games. The real resource that you spend to achieve anything your time. Real life time that you could spend doing other things. It’s just as true of Civ 6, Fortnite, Skyrim, Mario Kart, etc. as it is of Cow Clicker. It’s also true of board games and active sports and the rest of your life in general.

Idle games get some mockery for being pointless, but I feel like that’s just people being uncomfortable that they don’t understand why people do the things they do and taking that uncomfortableness out through aggression.


No, that would be “Goblin Clicker”, otherwise known as


I must have put 1000 hours into D2. Jesus.


D1, 2 and “Not Diablo: the Anime Clone”, or whatever the hell it was actually called. Mercifully none of those on Steam, or I’d be able to tell you exactly how many hours. I think I was approaching 2k on Civ V.


I’m not even going to read the blog about this, I wasted enough time on things like this as is (most notably the paperclip AI game).


Has it already been almost 10 years since the glory days of SMBC Theater?

It was a joyous time to be alive.

I will not link to Anti-Idle, for I could have easily done without that one forever.


I am very clearly over the 10,000 hours needed to become a ‘master’ at Plants vs Zombies, and I often wonder what useful thing I might have mastered with that time. sigh


Stay awhile and listen


I just started playing Diablo 3 again. This time on Switch so I can pretend to watch terrible TV shows at the same time.


One day it will all make sense, like a mash-up of “The Last Starfighter” and “Signs,” it will all be for a Reason. That will be day when you receive the calling from botanists to face the undead horde.

Moonflower + Dusk Lobber FTW!


But can’t you extend that to all the other things you could be doing? Or is that just my existential angst speaking?


My new idea is to have a narrative-heavy “idle” game, but without any clicking at all. We’d get actors, that we’d film and… wait, that’s a movie. Never mind.


You’re covered:


Too much clicking.

Seriously though, I’ve been intrigued by anti-clickers like “Progress Quest.” I figure there’s a potentially interesting middle ground, some very game-y game that’s pure simulation, where events unspool with minimal interaction.


I enjoy a good clicker game from time to time, but they all ultimately remind me of this, which was originally meant to be a send-up of the meaningless tedium of MMOs like WoW:

Alas, ClickQuest, which actually got made by some LRR fans shortly after this video came out, is no longer online.


I believe the point of my post was to trigger existential angst.

The style of games has evolved a lot. Generally you start with a lot of things to click and then it gets more and more about management as you go. There are some decent ones on steam, but the greats of the genre are still in html: Kitten Game and Sandcastle Builder.

I spend my free time working on my own addition to the genre, which is currently vaguely playable for a few days.


When I first learned of the existence of idle games, I downloaded a few because I couldn’t imagine what the appeal was. Sure enough, they sucked sweaty donkey balls.


In a way it is Diablo and other such games distilled…
I make no excuses.


I’m more intrigued right now by the “Progress Quest” end of the spectrum, where there’s zero clicking - and adding the minimal amount of interaction required to feel fully engaged, where each click feels highly meaningful, and where there’s simulations going on that produce interesting results.
Though I’m not entirely sure what that is. So far, the interest has simply informed one game I’m working on, a really chill ‘dungeon sim’ where it’s more about watching things unfold rather than managing everything.