Another mindless game

Cookie Clicker is a Web browser game (in a very broad sense of the word) where your objective is to create as many cookies as possible. That's pretty much it.

Overview

As stated, the game is all about obtaining as many cookies as possible. This is done by clicking on the giant cookie on the left of the screen. Every click gives you 1 (one) cookie. Once you have enough cookies, you can invest in several cookie-producing thingies (known in-game as buildings), which will passively give you cookies at a fixed rate.

There are upgrades to every building (changing their base production of cookies), multiplier bonuses to your whole cookie production and your clicking power (cookies per click). The game also has an achievement system. Every achievement gives you some milk, which in turn unlocks more upgrades.

A bit of game mechanics

There are several kinds of buildings. In increasing order of production (cookies per second or cps) and cost they are:

  • 15 C - Cursor: A cursor that clicks the button for you. 0.1 cps
  • 100 C - Grandma: A grandma that bakes cookies. 0.5 cps
  • 500 C - Farm: A whole farm dedicated to raising and harvesting cookies. 4 cps
  • 3,000 C - Factory: An automated factory of cookies. 10 cps
  • 10,000 C - Mine: A whole mine and miners that extract cookies from natural cookie veins underground. 40 cps
  • 40,000 C - Shipment: A series of spaceships bringing cookies from another planet. 100 cps
  • 200,000 C - Alchemy Lab: A room full of dudes and dudettes in white coats transmuting gold into cookies. 400 cps
  • 1,666,666 C - Portal: A portal to another dimension from where cookies are extracted. 6,666 cps
  • 123,456,789 C - Time Machine: A machine that goes backwards in time and brings cookies before they are eaten. 
  • 3,999,999,999 C - Antimatter condenser: A specialized unit that collides antimatter to produce cookies. 999,999 cps

Every time you buy one of these, the price for the next building of the same category increases. When you have n instances of a certain building, the next one will cost:

P = I * (1.15 ^ n)

where:

  • P is the price of the "n+1"th item;
  • I is the price of the first item in the series;
  • n is the number of buildings that you currently have.

(Those of you with a knack for mathematics and/or economics, will probably see that this formula is just a fancy way of saying that the price of buildings increases by 15% for every purchase and it's calculated exactly as compound interest)

What do you think Andy?

This game came to my attention through one of my gaming RSS feeds (yes, they're still being used) discussing whether it should be considered a game or not since the only objective is to produce cookies and increase the cookie production rate. It does have game elements into it (statistics, achievements and quirky pixel art), but I doubt those are defining elements for a game.

I see it as an interesting exercise in optimization: How should you spend your cookies to get maximum profits? How long will it take? Which goals are better? That is up for you to decide. The interestingness aspect is in my opinion what makes of this a game, rather than "fun" (even more considering that some software is clearly not made for fun, such as Depression Quest or Actual Sunlight and is still considered a game)

It's not terribly exciting, mind you, but it helps filling those empty minutes or hours at your desk. Have fun and don't forget to sell one grandma.

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