Three Trillion

April 18th, 2015

That’s how much money I made in the last four hours. Unfortunately though, that amount is not in any real currency. It also did not take any actual effort to make. You  might guess that I’ve been playing the new flagship title of idle gaming, AdVenture Capitalist. And you’d be right too!

Perhaps my favorite thing about this game is how neatly it represents the pinnacle of the casualization of games. It is so casual that you don’t even have to play anymore! You  just install the thing, tap upgrade buttons for a few minutes, and then just wait and watch all the sweet, sweet progress roll in. And there’s just so much progress to be made! I mean, you start with only a lemonade stand making a couple bucks here and there, but before you know it you’re suddenly making millions and buying hockey teams. Then soon after you start making billions and buy a few oil companies. And the progress just never ends. Trillions are only the tip of the iceberg here. Within a few days of upgrading things you’ll start making quadrillions. Then quintillions, sextillions, septillions, octillions, all the way to unpronounceable numbers that no one has ever heard of, because numbers of such magnitude are normally reserved for questions like “How many atoms are there in the universe?”

It’s exciting stuff, at least for as long as you maintain the illusion that these numbers and progress bars actually mean something. But to some extent or other we have been culturally hard-wired to attach meaning to such notations of success. And there is a rush when so much stuff comes to us so easily. And that rush happens, despite your higher cognitive faculties seeing perfectly well how hollow this particular skinner box is. Of course eventually the rest of your brain does catch on, and you get bored of the thing. For me that took about two days.

It has gotten me thinking though, about whether that rush of rapid numerical progress could be tied to a game that isn’t so completely mindless. And I have a little something in mind. At the same time I’ve been thinking that it might make sense to test the waters of Unity development with a small game, before I get too deep into developing my gladiator project. I’ll let you know how all that goes.

— Peace and limitless riches


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