Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Social Networks Games Slashdot.org

Cow Clicker Boils Down Facebook Games 237

Posted by timothy
from the lo-to-their-gelatinous-end-stage dept.
mjn writes "Game designer and academic Ian Bogost announces Cow Clicker, a Facebook game implementing the mechanics of the Facebook-games genre stripped to their core. You get a cow, which you can click on every six hours. You earn additional clicks if your friends in your pasture also click. You can buy premium cows with 'mooney,' and also use your mooney to buy more clicks. You can buy mooney with real dollars, or earn some free bonus mooney if you spam up your feed with Cow Clicker activity. A satire of Facebook games, but actually as genuine a game as the non-satirical games are. And people actually play it, perhaps confirming Bogost's view that the genre of games is largely just 'brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money,' which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cow Clicker Boils Down Facebook Games

Comments Filter:
  • by mark72005 (1233572) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:01PM (#32983158)
    Click to continue
  • I don't understand this "cow clicker" joke. Only game I ever played was Sorority Life and it appeared to be modeled after any typical RPG game (gain experience; level up; gain new powers).

    • by Michael Kristopeit (1751814) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:12PM (#32983298)
      to gain experience you click the cow. when you do, you level up. your new powers are the ability to spend more in game currency to allow you to click on cows more to gain even more experience and level up more.

      it's a minimalist presentation of the same ultimate waste of time typical RPGs are. the joke is YOU.

      (side note: "RPG game"... really? did you use your PIN number on an ATM machine to buy that typical RPG game?)

    • I can't tell if you're making a joke - but if you've never heard of Farmville or seen an announcement regarding farmville - while using facebook...

      Please Tell me what corner of Facebook you are hiding in, so I can join you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Haffner (1349071)
        When applications first came out, I just started hiding them every time, and hiding the people who announced them. I haven't seen any application-based spam in well over 6 months.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by apoc.famine (621563)
        I'm pretty damn selective about my friends. Quality over quantity. I've seen a single update from a single person (she was 16) who needed logs or some shit for a cabin. Her uncle gave her some, and it's now been 3-4 months since that single update.

        I guess I can be pretty damn proud of my technically literate, non idiotic friends and family.

        Really - my extended family who are a 1000 miles away are my friends, a couple of good ones from high school, a couple of good ones from college, a few former coworke
    • Well.. the "RPG" games that I've played on Facebook involve repeatedly clicking the same button to "complete quests" to gain exp to level so that you open up a new button that you can click repeatedly to complete quests to gain exp to level. As far as I can tell, there was no maximum level and the storyline was simply "You steal a car." "You steal a car." "You have failed to steal a car." which then evolved to "You rob a bank." "You rob a bank." "You have failed to rob a bank."

      Then if you look at Farmville,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      I've never actually played a Facebook game, but I've had friends try to draw me in by demonstrating the games at length. So I know the mechanics of a few popular ones.

      Facebook games have, from what I've seen, three goals:
      1. Keep you in the game regularly by setting events up so you have to visit frequently.
      2. Send messages in your name to all of your friends to "join me in this fun game that's the awesomest thing ever!!!!!".
      3. Hopefully occasionally sucker someone into spending real money to level up or

  • by Mr_Blank (172031) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:05PM (#32983190) Journal

    "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?"

  • Sign me up. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:07PM (#32983200)

    I am predicting at least one defriending as I rub this piece of satire in some choice faces.

    I don't think one can truly appreciate the evil addictive nature of those games until he has watched a loved one lose hours in a catatonic trance of digital fertilizing.

    Wait.

    Maybe there's something to her arguments about porn?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Except your porn addiction is over in minutes, nay, SECONDS, whereas facebook consumes multiple hours of peoples days.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Except your porn addiction is over in minutes, nay, SECONDS, whereas facebook consumes multiple hours of peoples days.

        I find the reverse to be true. One of us is doing it wrong.

  • I'd be concerned if this game didn't make a load of money. The people who play those games should be filtered out of life by having their money taken away from them until they don't have enough to pay for the basics of life. Facebook games are pretty much just a hopped up version of those retarded viral text based games that you need to sign your friends up for so you can go up the ranks. Internet text based games turned into lame graphics based ones. There will always be morons out there willing to pay real money for fake things that can and will disappear without warning as soon as the creators decide to sell the business (or quit because they've made enough money) or move on to other things (other interests or legal issues).
    • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:23PM (#32983452)

      The people who play those games should be filtered out of life by having their money taken away from them until they don't have enough to pay for the basics of life.

      Ann Klinestiver will be glad to know you approve of her former predicament.
      http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2009/09/11/segments/133414 [wnyc.org]

      • by lgw (121541)

        I sometimes wonder if my brain chemistry is wonky - I don't see the appeal of slot machines at all. I've tried a few, in a few different places, and it was just paying money to be bored. I get equally bored by gameplay that is supposed to exploit the same mechanic - grinding in WoW or Diablo or whatever. The whole "random reward" thing leaves me cold.

        On the other hand, I still find MOO2 addictive. I guess I'm too fascinated by optimizing.

    • by omnichad (1198475) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:56PM (#32983788) Homepage

      As long as they don't stop buying lottery tickets, I agree with you. They save me the trouble of paying too much in state taxes...

  • Prior Art (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:11PM (#32983274)

    And people actually play it, perhaps confirming Bogost's view that the genre of games is largely just 'brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money,' which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."

    Meh. Slashdot's been doing this for years.

    We know it's pointless, but we keep clicking that reply button. And when they deliberately make the stories misleading and poorly edited, they get even more clicks.

    • Except Slashdot doesn't make money off of it.

      • by iknowcss (937215)
        HAH
      • by dangitman (862676)
        So, slashdot just lets IBM and Microsoft run ads for free? Such generosity! I wonder if they'll run my ad for free, too?
        • I was under the impression Advertising only makes money if people click on the ads, not just the site.

          • by dangitman (862676)

            I was under the impression Advertising only makes money if people click on the ads,

            Some online advertising works that way, such as Google AdWords. But typically not display ads of the kind that slashdot runs. Those are paid by impression, not by the click. So, every time a page loads on slashdot that doesn't have ads disabled, slashdot gets income.

      • by Xtifr (1323)

        Actually, not only does slashdot make money off of ads (as several other people pointed out), but you can voluntarily give them real money [slashdot.org] for "enhanced" service. That's pretty much exactly the same model as most FB games (or so I heard [tvtropes.org]).

    • by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:27PM (#32983488) Journal

      Even better: Posting comments going for a "Funny" mod which doesn't mean anything for your Karma... but doing it anyway. ;)

      • Re:Prior Art (Score:5, Informative)

        by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:58PM (#32983812)
        Making real people laugh is a HELL of a lot more important than artificially boosting virtual "karma". In fact, I'm frequently surprised when people mod my jokes (which most of my postings are) as "Informative" or "Insightful" when I was really going for "Funny". Trust me, I'm a Buddhist, I don't need any more Karma!
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Trust me, I'm a Buddhist, I don't need any more Karma!

          Speaking of Jokes and Buddhists, I'm sure we've all heard this one before.

          So a Buddhist monk goes up to a hot dog vendor. Vendor asks him "What'll it be?" and the monk replies, "Make me one with everything."

          *Badoom psh*

          So the vendor fixes him up with a dog, with all the fillings. The Monk hands him a $20 bill and the vendor puts it in the till and smiles at him. The monk, a little confused, asks him "What about my change?" and the vendor replies, "Change comes from within."

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Minwee (522556)

            The Monk hands him a $20 bill and the vendor puts it in the till and smiles at him. The monk, a little confused, asks him "What about my change?" and the vendor replies, "Change comes from within."

            ...At which time the Monk answered the question "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

        • Many times the Informative ratings are from people who laughed but wanted to give you a better Karma rating. If you've told a joke, think of the Inf/Ins ratings as Funny++. I'm not sure how that started, but it's been going on for about 3 years.

          I had great karma IRL but burned it all about four years ago. It was worth it, even if I have to start as a freakin' ant again.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ceraphis (1611217)
      That's one way to look at it, but that's like saying that human interaction has no worth. Slashdot is at a much higher level than click spam games because even though its just text on a screen, someone is behind the keyboard conversing with you. Face to face interaction is at a higher level than that, but that doesn't mean text to text interaction is at the same level of click spam games.

      The vast majority of what happens in farmville is interacting with a constructed world with a constructed set of rules
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I disagree.
        I think you're on to something.
        No fuck you, you stupid inbred tard.
        Can I borrow $50?

    • by rxan (1424721)
      I stopped reading replies to my comments long ago because 80% of /. comments are flaming for the sake of flaming.
  • Exploiting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:12PM (#32983292)
    genre of games is largely just 'brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money,' which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on.

    Of course they are, but so is everything else. Slashdot exploits human psychology (why exactly am I posting this? I am spending my time and energy and not getting anything tangible in return) in order to make money. Ever felt pressured by your better half to buy a small piece of metal (jewelery) for $1000 dollars or a tiny bottle of water (perfume) for $100? Those also continue to work even after the users are told what's going on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I got more out of your post than I get out of my friends' Farmville updates. It's all relative, and I must say that crappy slashdot posts are still better than the best click-spam social games.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Slashdot exploits human psychology (why exactly am I posting this? I am spending my time and energy and not getting anything tangible in return) in order to make money.

      Wait... you get money for your posts?

      (Yes, I know there's the right way and the wrong way to read that.)

      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @06:35PM (#32984264) Journal

        Wait... you get money for your posts?

        What? You don't?

        Every month I get a credit to my Paypal account, it's usually $50-100 . I think I get around $1 per +5 post, and I get like $0.25 per mod point I spend on behalf of Microsoft. I get the statement that itemizes the payment in my email each month, but I never bother to read it.

        Dude, if you're posting here and not getting paid, you're really wasting your time. Send me your contact info via email at slashdot_shill_127@microsoft.com, I'll sign you up for the program -- I think I get a $25 referral bonus if you maintain high karma and moderate weekly for six months.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by dcollins (135727)

      "Ever felt pressured by your better half to buy a small piece of metal (jewelery) for $1000 dollars or a tiny bottle of water (perfume) for $100?"

      Nope (and we've been together 13 years). Get a better better half.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by vlm (69642)

        "Ever felt pressured by your better half to buy a small piece of metal (jewelery) for $1000 dollars or a tiny bottle of water (perfume) for $100?"

        Nope (and we've been together 13 years). Get a better better half.

        This only works once, then you run out of hands. Then become jealous of octopus.

  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:16PM (#32983342) Journal
    ...has said its last "Moo". Dead as a... cow.
  • It's a cow, Vern, a cow!!

  • Great satire... and I'd love to push it to people I know on Facebook.

    However, the linked blog is slashdotted, and the link to the app on Facebook (via a cache of the page) is empty.

    Has Facebook already removed this app?

  • by oldhack (1037484)
    Baby, come on, click my cow. You know you want to. Click it.
  • by joe_cot (1011355) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:20PM (#32983408) Homepage

    If you're going to make a viral app as a satire of other apps, you should prepare your site to at least stand one slashdotting.

  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:22PM (#32983432)

    Anyone read The Social Animal? This is just the initiation effect. To avoid humiliation people are likely to believe that something unpleasant that used a lot of time it must be valuable.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      To avoid humiliation people are likely to believe that something unpleasant that used a lot of time it must be valuable.

      That sounds a lot like parenting.

  • I totally invented this "game" concept back in 1998 with Click the President [thenetw0rk.com]. (Obviously, it's been updated twice since then.)

    Now, who do I sue over this...

    • by dangitman (862676)

      s/cow/wank/g

      Huh?

      "Game designer and academic Ian Bogost announces Wank Clicker, a Facebook game implementing the mechanics of the Facebook-games genre stripped to their core. You get a wank, which you can click on every six hours. You earn additional clicks if your friends in your pasture also click. You can buy premium wanks with 'mooney,' and also use your mooney to buy more clicks."

      Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to replace "click" with "wank" instead?

  • the genre of games is largely just 'brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money,' which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."

    That sums up Progress Quest [progressquest.com] exactly. And it has over 430k players [progressquest.com].

  • Lesson (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@ w u m pus-cave.net> on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:39PM (#32983610)

    Sometimes, you shouldn't bother fighting stupid. Instead, give up and take their money [giantitp.com].

  • While this is slightly off topic, I find it interesting how many people view their labor or offered services as some sort of con. For example,

    In cinema and theater, we often hear about method acting, a technique by which actors try to create the situations, emotions, and thoughts of their characters in themselves in order to better portray them. In creating Cow Clicker, I rather felt that I was partaking of method design, embracing the spirit and values and ideals of the social game developer as I toed the lines between theory, satire, and earnestness. The Internet is paralyzing because it contains so much potential information. Even over the few days I spent developing Cow Clicker, I found myself watching people play, listening to feedback, and imagining changes. I "listened to my players" and made enhancements far beyond what was reasonable for a work of carpentry or a simple parody. It's hard for me to express the compulsion and self-loathing that have accompanied the apparently trivial creation of this little theory-cum-parody game. Have I fully represented the distillation I hoped to accomplish? Or is some feature missing? And ought I not to add it if so? Where's the vampire cow or the werewolf cow or the cthulhu cow? Ought I not to make them? Perhaps I became consumed myself. Such is the spirit of the day, it would seem: mundane, outward obsession whose worst trick is to disguise itself as fruitfulness.

    And his quote of Zynga CEO, Mark Pintus is relevant, "I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away." Where comes the need to disparage what benefits we provide to others?

  • Where I'm from they're called Video Lottery Terminals and they make the government billions every year.
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:45PM (#32983688) Homepage
    You sometimes discover tht the thing you despise only exists because someone else actually likes it. So your attempt at Parody become a enjoyed by those that like the thing you despise.

    Another great example of this effect is Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle definitely grew to dislike Holmes (hence the attempt to kill him off) and some claim Doyle originally intended Holmes as a parody of detectives.

    Me, I don't think 'failing to realize something is a parody' is an insult to the intelligence of people. Instead, I feel it is a failure of the creators. It indicates they have simply have not gone too far.

    For a better parody of simplified online games, look at SMBC Theater [smbc-theater.com]

  • Even a cheap sham can be entertaining.
    Entertaining people isn't very hard.
  • Sounds like this game is straight from an Onion article.

  • I'm already #1 in the rankings without spending any money.
  • True but irrelevant (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @06:11PM (#32983980) Journal

    The only question that matters is: do people who play Farmville (etc) have fun doing so?

    If so, then it is a perfectly legitimate form of entertainment, and may well be worth the money they spend on it - not any less so than hardcore gamers playing Fallout or HL2. The latter can similarly be simplified to the point of "you shoot things so that you can shoot more things", and from there on to "you push the button so that you can keep pushing the button", but it misses the crucial point - somewhere along that line of simplification, you lose that quantity called "fun".

    It's like taking some gourmet dish, decomposing it down to raw protein, fat, carbs and minerals, blending them, and saying that the disgusting result is somehow representative of the original food. It is, in some way, but it's not the way that matters.

    • by Compholio (770966)

      It's like taking some gourmet dish, decomposing it down to raw protein, fat, carbs and minerals, blending them, and saying that the disgusting result is somehow representative of the original food. It is, in some way, but it's not the way that matters.

      You do that and people won't eat it. The interesting thing here, at least from what I can tell, is that you do that to games and a lot of people will still eat that crap up - to the consternation of a lot of the rest of us.

      • Well they didn't go quite to that level here. If the "game" consisted of just a single black rectangle that you'd have to click when the counter gets to a certain number, and depending on how fast you click on it, the counter counts slower or faster, do you think people would still play it?

        Then again, sugar is pretty basic stuff, and yet it's sweet and tasty in and of its own - even if much better in pastry.

    • by rxan (1424721)
      It's a shame that your comment is way down here at the bottom of the page. Move that shit upwards!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trepidity (597)

      I don't think there's a one-dimensional score of "fun" that's the "only" thing that matters. Different media have different mixtures of qualities: they provoke thought, entertain, addict, inspire, horrify, bore, explain, question, etc. And I think it makes some sense to look at why people are drawn to different media, and what we're getting out of them. What's compelling about reality TV, for example, and how is that similar or different to what's compelling about Futurama, or about Seinfeld, or about 24? A

1 Mole = 25 Cagey Bees

Working...