Aspects of Play: Cookie Clicker

As part of the module, the task was to look into various types of games within 3 specific bands of play. The bands this game I shall be discussing ‘Cookie Clicker’ belongs to is Internet Based.

When playing this game, I personally found that it belonged to the following category of play, in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Alea

In terms of Alea, it comes in the form of the random events that can occur during the real time simulation, such as getting a golden cookie, of which is a random occurrence that if clicked can give the player a multitude of differing upgrades. This then alters the shift of gameplay and can be beneficial to those finding it more difficult then others to get more cookies. Mimicry doesn’t appear within the game as there isn’t a player character to operate and have mimic the movements you want them to, it’s simply just a point and click simulator. Agon is non-existent within the game as it’s a single-player only simulation against the world of Cookie Clicker, the only Agonistic traits that the game could give off, would be the social aspect of the player comparing their experience with another players experience of the game in order to stir up some kind of pseudo-competitive element. As a simulator, you’d expect Illinx not to appear, simply because there’s no point in a simulator needing the disorientate the player, this only occurs in games that have an operable player character.

The elements of the game I really liked, were the ways in which the game became addictive. The game operates like a real-time cookie clicking simulator, of which at start, you’ll have to click to get enough to cookie to start purchasing things that will generate cookies for you. I like that aspect because it involves the player from the get-go and you don’t gain the ability to generate millions of cookies from the beginning and have to work for it.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. Being a simulator, it was addictive to see how many cookies you could get, but I just couldn’t get into a state of flow with it because of how it plays. You play it for basically a few minutes to use the cookies you have and leave it for an unspecified amount of time to raise more cookies, of which then you play from there until you run out of cookies and repeat. There just wasn’t any specific action within the game or mechanic that requires my immediate attention, nor challenge that adequately stimulated my skill-level.

If I were designing a game similar this, I would attach a goal or objective for the player to reach for. In its premise, Cookie Clicker is simply as the title suggests, a cookie clicking simulator, there just isn’t any real gameplay element that spurs the player to ‘keep on clicking’. Either achievements (of which the game has, but aren’t as specific and are fairly redundant) or a narrative aspect that keeps the player continuing to play in a suitable manner.


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