You open your phone and click the ever enticing app with a cookie on it. The screen opens and a giant cookie is presented to click upon, and essentially, that’s all you do.
Tap, tap, tap, and keep tapping away at the virtual cookie until you gain enough to get more upgrades that allow you to tap faster and easier, or even just tap for you.
Considering there is near to zero actual gameplay to idle games, what makes these incremental ‘games’ so appealing to people?
Of course, even I like these idle tapping games, between classes I often find myself tapping away, purchasing upgrades and leaving it go while I’m class, only to check in with the game later to see how much virtual currency I’ve made.
There’s a psychological appeal to it.
Gaining more and more money, more and more stuff, it makes you feel powerful, just for tapping the screen repeatedly.
Granted, these games can get extremely boring, very quickly.
Not every game is made to the same standard of quality as something like Cookie Clicker and can end very fast if there is nothing left to buy, or provides no motivation to players to continue.
There needs to be a tangible reason to continue tapping, just as there needs to be a tangible source of money dangling from a string for workers to continue working.
Idle games’ popularity can most likely be attributed to their ‘fast food’ appeal. They are quick to adopt, quick to start, and quick to reward the player.
Right from the get go, tapping results in money, prizes, upgrades, and more.
Idle games have certainly grown, from tapping cookies to games that now present story as the player moves through the game, leveling up or collecting enough to move to another area.
There is no telling if the trend of popularity will continue or fizzle out, but for now, idle games are here, and they are steadily popular.
Journalist and author, this is my personal blog detailing the events that ensue during and in-between novel writing.