Idle Games and Their Rise to Popularity

Jul 18, 2017 | 1 Votes by jose 10 rate Your vote
There’s a new fad in gaming called Clicker Mania and more and more people are already doing it. Somehow, clicking repeatedly and waiting seems to be addictive. Let’s take a look why. WWGDB - Idle Games and Their Rise to Popularity

Nowadays, there are these kinds of games that are addictive as well as immersive. The game mechanics are usually really simple like repeatedly clicking on the screen (or the mouse) to accomplish certain tasks. However, simple as it may be, the games are designed in such a way as to fully capture the player’s attention as it speeds up and provide more gain in an incremental fashion. The player has to pay attention to the game and micro -manage it by continually setting certain parameters and upgrades in order to make full use of the games extra features. Eventually and usually, the games speed clicking activity decreases in favor of a semi-automated activity that brings in more in-game rewards and earnings as the game moves on.

These games are known as Clickers or Incremental Games and have been formally categorized into a game genre known as Idle Games. The core objective of these games is to accumulate power and wealth not as a means to an end but as the end in itself.

Clickers give mainly the experience of progression for progression sake. They drastically deviate from the traditional core game play in that they have minimal requirements in player skill or attention. Also, they loop back. They progress by clicking and waiting to accumulate wealth to buy and upgrade then loop back to click and wait to accumulate wealth to again buy and upgrade then back again and again and again. Surprisingly, it's addictive.


The games do not require you to hone in on specific skills and overcome particular challenges (like getting Fluffy Bird through the pipes), manual dexterity or an analytical mind are not prerequisites to playing the games. These games however are goal oriented (the need to accumulate more and more wealth) and designed in such a way that the upgrade cost goes up exponentially as the game progresses. In principle the cost of new resources surpasses your wealth accumulation and you end up trying to accumulate the wealth needed for the resources to accumulate more wealth.

One pleasant feature of these games is that you can progress at your own time. Idle Games are flexible and adjust to the players schedule so you can either play it from regularly, every now and then, sometimes to ones in a blue moon. It's up to you, the game will be there waiting for you and trying to continually earn even if the player is Idle or goes MIA.

The popularity and concept of idle games started its rise as early as 2010 with a social media game called Cow Clicker which was developed by video game researcher Ian Bogost. Cow Clicker is a Facebook game which was actually designed as a satire of social gaming where the goal was to earn clicks by clicking on a cow every 6 hrs. The game also featured a premium currency called Mooney which allowed the user to acquire different cow designs and bypass the 6 hr. interval between clicks. Satirical as the game was, it was very popular.

By 2013, both Candy Box and Cookie Clicker came into the scenes, both games operated under the same core principles. The goal of Cookie Clicker was to bake as much cookies as fast as possible which was accomplished by clicking on a giant cookie gaining one cookie at a time. The cookies functioned as currency to acquire automated items like farms and grandmas that baked cookies without player input and where constantly upgraded to increase the number of cookies per click speeding production per unit time. Candy Box had a similar game play but it was candies that where produced. These games laid out the current game play principles of Idle Gaming. Again, both games became very popular.

By 2015, Clicker Heroes was made available on Steam. The game expanded the concept further adding heroes and other features that sped up the game play and automated the process as well. Of course the game loops back to the start as the quantity of earnings and the game speeds up. But even if you played the game again after some time, you practically just continue from the point where you left off. Heroes was a huge success and from that point on, more and more clicker games with different themes started appearing on the Steam platform as well as in mobile gaming.

AdVenture Capitalist


Other popular Idle Games that have appeared on Steam include AdVenture Capitalist, Time Clickers, Insanity Clicker, Tap Tap Infinity, Ragnarok Clicker and the sexy Sakura Clicker. Their popularity and the number of players continue to grow.

As of now, Idle Games are not considered to have commercial potential as they have been typecast as the kind of grass-root games that gamers designed for gamers and have more appeal and support from the Indis crowd than the big production studios. Regardless, their popularity continues to gradually increase as more and more people are playing it on the side to pass the time during work breaks, travel, vacation or any other available time that would rather be spent on front of a PC or handheld mobile device.

Bottom line is, the Clickers are here to stay.


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