Cookie Clicker: My Strange Addiction

It all started with a click. One simple, innocent little click. Then another. Then another. And, before I knew it, my cookie empire was booming and I was taking over our world and the worlds beyond, all by harnessing the might of my beloved baked goods.

No, this wasn’t a dream. It was my time spent with Cookie Clicker, a browser-based game that tasks you with producing as many cookies a second as you possibly can.

It starts off slow. First, it’s just you, the cookie, and your mouse. You click. One cookie. Click again. Two cookies. Click again. Three cookies. Soon, you have enough to buy a cursor that automatically clicks on the cookie for you, sparing the delicate ligaments, tendons, and muscles in your hand and wrist.

But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. The cookie count keeps climbing. Now you have enough to purchase a grandmother worker who bakes cookies to aid in your cookie production, working side by side with both your own physicality and the cursor to keep the total cookie number climbing higher.

As the numbers grow, so does your infamy. First, the neighborhood hears about your cookies. Then the town. Then the nation. Then, before you know it, the world.

And it’s not merely thanks to your grandmother employee or your cursor friend. At least, not just those two. See, in your time accruing more and more cookies, you’ve enlisted the help of several cursors and grandmothers. Then, you began to expand into bigger and better spheres. You started cookie farms that harvested the sweets from the plants that grew them. You opened factories, mined cookies from the earth, created alchemy labs that melted gold into baked goods. Anything it took to satisfy your ever-insatiable need for more cookies.

Strangely enough, Cookie Clicker is able to craft an entire game out of a simple mechanic that would usually be taken for granted in most other games. It takes the ideas of currency and an in-game economy and fleshes them out into a fully formed game all its own. You earn cookies, buy upgrades with said cookies, and earn more cookies. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now, theoretically, this should get old very quickly. After all, there are next to no animations, nothing outside of the odd achievement (which means nothing to any connected online system) to be earned, and no other goals to be achieved. Why, then, do I continue to turn it on and obsessively play it on my browser?

Honestly, I can’t offer an exact answer. Maybe it’s the fact that I love to see the numbers fly on my screen like a stock ticker. Maybe I love to be able to see how many more production outlets I can afford. Or, maybe I take some enjoyment from finding out exactly how high I can push my per-second production rate.

Realistically, it’s probably a combination of all of these things, along with a few other elements. It has that “one more level charm” to it, all while basically requiring very little by way of strategy or risk from me. After all, there’s no major goal to be achieved other than to generate enough cookies to give the world population type 2 diabetes. And I’m hellbent on doing so, even if it kills me.

But don’t worry. I can stop any time I want.