Cow Clicker: The Making of Obsession


Sat, Jul 24th, 2010 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Ian Bogost made a Facebook game about Facebook games, called Cow Clicker. Cow Clicker is a Facebook game about Facebook games. Cow Clicker is Facebook games distilled to their essence. Cow Clicker is partly a satire, and partly a playable theory of today's social games, and partly an earnest example of that genre.

Today, many games involve compulsion, and studies that compare the partial reinforcement techniques of slot machines and psychological manipulations to videogames stretch back to the mid-1980s. In recent years, massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) frequently have been accused of doing little more than compelling players to keep playing; amounting to "brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money" to use Juul's words from the NYU event announcement. And certainly one could make a convincing case that many other sorts of games build compulsion into their design.



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