I have been, unashamedly, been enjoying clickers lately. I first stumbled across Clicker Heroes a while ago when the genre was taking hold … originally not realising that you didn’t need to be logged on incessantly to farm gold (it’s also the main reason I left the game running for a few days straight, resulting in my current Steam count of 111 hours on record), but since I’ve gotten a handle on how the core mechanic works, I’ve been rotating through a healthy selection of clickers on a daily basis, including:
- Clicker Heroes
- Holyday City: Reloaded
- Insanity Clicker
- Ragnarok Clicker
Wikipedia has gone and categorised the whole genre as an Incremental Game, so if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I suggest going to read the article – but given that they are largely free-to-play, and I suspect that most people who know me, or who don’t know me but are reading a gaming blog, would know what it entails.
So … what’s the appeal? I think because I can ‘play’ them at work for starters. It’s easy to check-in and slide my levels up one or two notches while I’m on a coffee break or lunch, making it a handy lure. The alternative definition of clickers as ‘idle games’ is the bit that makes me feel like I’m making progress in a game without necessarily having to actively participate. I love playing games – I love the stories, the depth and design, almost everything about them, so when I’m torn away from them to do work that doesn’t involve gaming, then this keeps me moving forward with my gaming career.
The other thing is that the design of the game is built purely to keep you coming back. I don’t mind being a sucker for good game design, as long as I’m cognisant of the developer’s intent. It’s the same as most free-to-play games, if you know that they’re going to be built with the hope that you’ll spend money on boosts or cosmetics or other micro transactions, then you can make a conscious decision about where you want to spend your money. I make no judgement on people who spend a few bucks on games that they are enjoying – developers have to eat too.
Clickers aren’t a forever thing. I’ve been looking at these as a mechanism for building up my profile on Steam, and using the achievement lists as a bit of a guide, but there will inevitably come a point where the effort to achievement ratio will thin out, and I’ll move on with my life.
At this stage, there seems to be enough games in the clicker catalogue to keep me going for a while yet.