Cookie Clicker: The Latest Video Game Crack?

Video game developers the world over spend countless hours programming and millions of dollars on art and promotion, psychologists harness the power of the mind to make characters that bit more likeable and we have endless debates over what platforms are better to play them on. But when it comes down to it, don't we really just want to watch numbers go up?

That's what it feels like playing Cookie Clicker, a "game" very much like Candy Box, that sees you begin generating cookies by clicking on a giant cookie. Those cookies are then spent on automated systems to make more cookies for you and before you know it, you're knee deep in cookies, spending millions of them on upgrading your time machine so you can go back and steal cookies before they're eaten.

That's it. That's the entire purpose of the "game" is to make more cookies and it's completely empty of anything worthwhile, and yet it's a fun little time waster than you can't help but pop back and "play" for a few minutes here and there throughout the day. I've had it running for a few hours now and I'm into the billions of cookies. There's more achievements to unlock and bigger and better upgrades to buy, but it's all meaningless, so why do I keep playing?

Obviously as some people have pointed out, these sorts of games tap into some latent part of our brain that makes us feel like we've achieved something because we've now got more than what we had before. In the same way that skin-flints can get a little endorphin rush from saving money or being cheap somehow, gamers can get that same kick from baking a shed load of cookies.

Fortunately I get to write about these types of things for a living, What's your excuse for playing it?

Tell me how many cookies you're up to on Twitter, @Jonwhoopty

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