The image above was a screenshot I took of my game, 20 days after starting. A new player, upon playing the game for the first time, would see a screen with a giant cookie to the left, an empty space in the center, and grayed-out boxes to the right. To begin, they must repeatedly click the large cookie to the left to gain cookies. These cookies can be used to first buy a mouse cursor, which auto-clicks every 10 seconds, and more expensive production units later on. You can choose to spend your cookies on upgrades, which make your units produce more, and give bonuses. There are certain advantages to staying at your computer and clicking, but ultimately, you want to increase your CPS (cookies per second) as much as possible, and leave the game running on your computer (or android device) as it works to endlessly bake more cookies. There are also achievements that can be earned by buying enough units of one type, or by doing certain unique tasks. There is incentive to get achievements, because later in the game, you unlock an upgrade that adds to your CPS multiplier for every achievement you get.
Sounds like a grind, doesn’t it? Mechanically, the game is repetitive and pointless. But what’s made it such a success (a search on Google returned >8 million results and a wiki page) is the style. All the text in the game (including news updates, item descriptions, and achievements) create a story that evolves as players progress through the game. Beginning as a humble baker, you make more and more cookies and are rewarded by increasingly silly headlines such as “The universe has now turned into cookie dough, to the molecular level”. You keep producing after that and can even trigger an apocalypse by buying enough grandmas and Research upgrades. The art, although basic, is just fine, and the effects are quite nice (cookies fall endlessly in semi-random patterns). There is no in-game sound or music, which is kind of disappointing, but doesn’t detract from the experience. Overall I would recommend this game to anyone who can click cookies and not get tired of it.
The link for this game is this: http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/. I highly recommend checking out the other projects Mr. Orteil has worked on, found on his website http://orteil.dashnet.org. I might even cover his other projects in later blog posts, for they’re interesting enough to spend hours on, although they aren’t video games.