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Cow Clicker Boils Down Facebook Games

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the lo-to-their-gelatinous-end-stage dept.

Social Networks 237

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."

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You found a lonely lost cow (4, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983158)

Click to continue

Re:You found a lonely lost cow (4, Funny)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983218)

Re:You found a lonely lost cow (2, Funny)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983376)

mmm... interesting... I misplaced a "to" or it is a missing comma?

Click here to continue reading
click "to here", continue reading

Re:You found a lonely lost cow (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983582)

How many times do I have to click, scroll down and reread your post before I feel satisfied with my personal life and no longer feel the need to play this game?

Re:You found a lonely lost cow (4, Funny)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983614)

I'll write a macro to click it for me so I don't have to read!

Re:You found a lonely lost cow (2, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983242)

Only if the click brings me to Omaha Steaks. ;)

Not that I'd buy steak priced that high over mail-order, but you get the idea.

This is a virus (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983546)

This is a virus. It works on the honor system. Please delete all the files from your hard drive and manually post a copy of this virus. Thank you for your cooperation.

Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983186)

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).

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (5, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?)

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983350)

In all honesty, yes, most of these FB games are just basic RPG games with a real time clock built in.

And yes, having to pay extra for certain items/powers/etc. are typical with most RPGs today on today's consoles. The only difference is that you have to invite people to do more things and its time limited. Take out those two things and you basically have Harvest Moon rather than Farmville.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (4, Interesting)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983556)

Progressquest [progressquest.com] is more better.
Still wine only for Linux. :-(

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (2)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983594)

You fool. I don't just use ANY PIN number: I use my personal PIN number on those nifty automated ATM machines! Then I use that money to buy a MASSIVE MMORPG game and some extra RAM memory so my CPU unit isn't constantly putting stuff on the SDD drive. Gee, I hope my video card can handle all those CG graphics...

*cough*
Alright. I'm done.
Strike me down, so that I may become stronger than you could ever imagine. Or mod me up. Your pick.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983310)

Just out of curiosity, what kind of "new powers" can you earn in Sorority Life? The ability to blow guys from unapproved frats?

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983424)

My character Muffy in Sorority Life has special Paris clothing and hot cars.

Plus I think she's the US Ambassador to the UN or something.

Mostly I use my special powers to beat up French chix tho.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983508)

Do you know how I know that you are gay?

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983544)

Do you know how I know that you are gay?

LOL. I'll tell the 40 or so women I've slept with and my two ex-wives what you said.

You're just uptight. You like to play games where you look at almost-nude males - I like to play games where ...

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983568)

... where you get to beat up women?

I don't know if that's any better, dude...

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983750)

Try playing the game, you'll understand.

There's no animation in it. You stick to your FPS games and I'll do what I like.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (-1, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983690)

You like to play games where you look at almost-nude males

No I don't. I just don't play games.

Anyway, the games you play are not the way I know that you are gay. I know that you are gay because you have a facebook account.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983770)

You like to play games where you look at almost-nude males

No I don't. I just don't play games.

Anyway, the games you play are not the way I know that you are gay. I know that you are gay because you have a facebook account.

LOL. Most people do.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983330)

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:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983394)

It's called the F*ck Facebook and everyone I went to school with corner. I have to admit it is rather lonely, but the games are better.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983440)

I hang out in that corner. I don't see you though. It really is dark here...

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (2, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983454)

F*ck [...] everyone I went to school with

Doesn't sound like a lonely game to me. Risky, yeah, but certainly not lonely.

Unless, of course, you were homeschooled, in which case it's just sick.

Personally I'd be at least choosy about, if nothing else, gender. But that's me.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (2, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983642)

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:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983364)

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, you buy a cow then wait some time, click on it and it gives you more cows, then repeat. Ok, so I haven't actually played Farmville, but I've seen people do it, and I'm fairly certain that's the mechanic at play.

The point is, all these games do is give you trivial rewards for giving them clicks/money. The rewards don't mean anything, except to your brain which is sucked into getting some sort of thrill by receiving these random rewards.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/3/12/ [penny-arcade.com]
http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Operant_conditioning [wikia.com]

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983410)

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 gain new powers.

Facebook game developers, on the other hand, have only one goal. Access to your Facebook account so they can see information about you and all your friends. The actual mechanics of gameplay are almost irrelevant, as long as it's compelling enough to draw you in and maybe use your account to convince your friends to help with your lost sheep or by giving you a pink balloon or a warm huggie or whatever.

The upshot of this article is that the bar can be lowered significantly and still manage to sucker people in. Who needs a whole Farmville when you can just scan in a bad picture of a cow and have people click it every 6 hours, and get the exact same data on them that way?

Personally, I'd do a blue circle that sighs every time you click on it. Then, if you convince enough friends to join, your circle slowly turns from blue to red. I bet I'd get full account profile data on a million people within a month.

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983570)

The only information these games get are "name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I've shared with everyone", which anyone can already get off most profiles without requiring you to authorize an application.
Their goal is making money through ads and virtual currency, not collecting your "full profile data"

Re:Guess I haven't played enough FB games (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983700)

That's true since a couple of ToS changes ago, and until the ToS changes again in 3.... 2....

Strange Game (3, Funny)

Mr_Blank (172031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983190)

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

Re:Strange Game (1)

demontechie (180612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983192)

s/chess/cheese/?

Re:Strange Game (2, Funny)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983232)

A nice game of cheese?

Re:Strange Game (4, Interesting)

quanticle (843097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983294)

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

Indeed. I've found that my personal productivity and satisfaction have increased tremendously since I canceled my Facebook account.

Re:Strange Game (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983790)

Indeed. I've found that my personal productivity and satisfaction have increased tremendously since I canceled my Facebook account.

Why cancel? Are you so weak-willed such that you are unable to stop playing the games? Even without the games, a system such as Facebook is still very useful.

Re:Strange Game (5, Insightful)

Logic and Reason (952833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983820)

You know, it's entirely possible to have a Facebook account without spending excessive amounts of time on it. Nothing forces you to play these insipid games, update your profile every day, or respond to every message you get.

Re:Strange Game (3, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983618)

In the game of chess, you can never let your adversary see your pieces

-Zapp Brannigan

Re:Strange Game (4, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983886)

In the game of chess, you can never let your adversary see your pieces

And if we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

Re:Strange Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983852)

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

War Games?

Sign me up. (4, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Sign me up. (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983534)

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

Re:Sign me up. (2, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983608)

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.

Re:Sign me up. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983702)

Do you partake in the addictive farmville?

Just one word (1)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983238)

Moooo

Re:Just one word (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983620)

I tried clicking on it. Nothing happened! Should I be sending you money first?

If a game like this didn't make money (3, Insightful)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983250)

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).

Re:If a game like this didn't make money (3, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#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]

Re:If a game like this didn't make money (1)

Rhacman (1528815) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983588)

I could argue that paying to attend a sporting event or a movie is a waste as well, but then again such activities weren't designed to be productive as they are entertainment. If someone bankrupts themselves paying for any form of entertainment then yea, I'd say they qualified as someone who could use a reality check, but if someone spends money within their means to watch paint dry and gains satisfaction from having done so then I don't see the point in wishing them ill.

Re:If a game like this didn't make money (3, Insightful)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983788)

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 (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Prior Art (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983426)

Except Slashdot doesn't make money off of it.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983650)

Are you sure about that [slashdot.org] ? How about the ads? Are you 100% confident all of Slashdot's income goes towards running the website? It certainly doesn't go into development. Slashdot, like all of these web games, would fail utterly if it erected a 'paywall.' And this is why payments are optional.

Anyway, even if that is true or not, I don't think many people care about the money part. Who cares if they're making money off it or not? I think more people are interested in the addiction part... which includes posting on forums and discussion boards.

Re:Prior Art (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983662)

More clicks = more adverts.

The reward for providing enough stuff that people want to click on is that you get "Karma: Excellent" and you can turn off the ads.

Then you get promoted from part of the audience to part of the free entertainment.

Dance, Monkeedude, dance.

Re:Prior Art (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983696)

HAH

Re:Prior Art (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983766)

So, slashdot just lets IBM and Microsoft run ads for free? Such generosity! I wonder if they'll run my ad for free, too?

Re:Prior Art (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983826)

I was under the impression Advertising only makes money if people click on the ads, not just the site.

Re:Prior Art (5, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983488)

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

Re:Prior Art (4, Informative)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Prior Art (2, Insightful)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983654)

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 meant to keep you addicted and spend money. The proper comparison to something like slashdot would be if everyone who has an account (other than "you" or "me") was a robot programmed to either disagree, agree, flame you/me or ask for money.

That would be what is actually "pointless". Slashdot and anything else that involves human discussion is far from pointless. Many times I'm scanning the discussions for posts from people with a different knowledge set, so I can learn. And I do. Posting something funny or reading funny comments at the same time, while seemingly pointless actually brightens my day, which has value.

Slashdotted already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983282)

lol

You can buy mooney with real dollars. (1)

The Altruist (1448701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983288)

Who.
Are.
These.
People?

Re:You can buy mooney with real dollars. (2, Funny)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983320)

Who. Are. These. People?

And what's their contact info?

Re:You can buy mooney with real dollars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983616)

Who.
Are.
These.
People?

And what's their contact info?

In two months there will be a story about how he is selling the user list as sales leads to the highest bidder. Doesn't really matter what your industry is, you can probably convince these people they need whatever you sell.

Re:You can buy mooney with real dollars. (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983682)

We may never learn their names, but we know the password on their luggage: 12345

Exploiting? (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Exploiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983380)

Why? What's going on?

Re:Exploiting? (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983458)

I guess in case of posting, there is some kind of a psychological need to give your opinions to other people and have them approve, even if anonymous as most of us are here. In case of jewelery and perfume, vanity I guess (not in the sense of looking good - that can be accomplished, or not, for a lot less money. I mean in the sense of somebody spending a lot of money on you). In any case, irrational human behavior exploited for money.

Re:Exploiting? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983532)

Most times we feel the need to be accepted and recognized, even by a small (and perhaps trash) community. Given our nerdiness and strangeness, things that we do and decide are extremely fascinating and works-of-art, are ignored or not understood by others. Hence, to feed the inner-self, we decide to try and get others to recognize us, seeing possibly in them what we don't see in our friends / parents.
My opinion on the matter.

Re:Exploiting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983464)

...or if you step back, that $1000 has any value to begin with. The slippery slope of human perception of value.

Re:Exploiting? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983490)

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.

Re:Exploiting? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983516)

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.)

Re:Exploiting? (1, Offtopic)

dcollins (135727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983572)

"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:Exploiting? (2, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983734)

"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.

Finally! (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983322)

At last. Decades of networking research and software engineering have led to this moment. Thank you, Facebook, for proving the internet was worth it!

That site... (2, Funny)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983342)

...has said its last "Moo". Dead as a... cow.

Re:That site... (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983446)

There is no Cow Level.

Re:That site... (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983644)

Wait, the game is dead already? Dangit, I was looking forward to playing just as soon as I reach max level in Progress Quest!

ob. Earnest (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983352)

It's a cow, Vern, a cow!!

But let's see it (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983356)

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?

Click My Cow! (2, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983366)

Baby, come on, click my cow. You know you want to. Click it.

We Rule vs Farmville (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983372)

I enjoy we rule (for iphone and ipad) somewhat, and decided to see what all the fuss was about with farmville when they came out with the iphone client.

You click once on crops in we rule to plant from a list of crops, the hierarchy of a moderate number of crops, that are always the same, is easily understandable, you can collect more than one crop at a time, and you collect them by just clicking on them once.

Coming from my only exposure to this genre being we rule, I found farmville to be a magnificent exercise in patience and building anger. Not only are there a billion different crops and buildings and plants or whatnot, that all rotate and a whole lot cost the farmville bucks or whatever, but in farmville, you have to click on each crop just to harvest them, and then click a second time to plow the damn field. And, to add even more insult to injury in comparison, you can only do one of these actions at a time.

I realize how much of a colossal waste of time these types of games are, but it's amazing just how ridiculous farmville looks when your exposure started with we rule. I spend maybe 5 minutes of a day harvesting some crops, visiting some towns and buying some stuff from other peoples' shops in we rule. How exactly you could spend as long as some people apparently play farmville every day is mind boggling to me. Is there a way to just play farmville about 5-10 minutes a day to max out your daily allotment like in we rule?

Re:We Rule vs Farmville (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983436)

You have to realize though that to the average person being able to do more things per day seems like a benefit to them rather than a loss. If you play the game and max out within 5 minutes, the chances of them coming back are slimmer than if it takes them a lot longer to "max out".

Re:We Rule vs Farmville (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983528)

Is there a way to just play farmville about 5-10 minutes a day to max out your daily allotment like in we rule?

I'm confused. You are looking for a way to spend less time playing Farmville? Umm, don't play it? In a year, no one is going to care that you let your digital crops die and that your digital cow didn't get milked.

Especially the developer.

Once the app developer has you join the game, he's got what he wants - a copy of your Facebook profile and friends list, and the right to put messages on your wall in your name from the app so they can use you to hook your friends "help ceraphis find his lost sheep!".

If you're really into the game you might convince a few friends to join, and that's a nice bonus, but he's already got what he wanted the instant you clicked "Allow this app" to find out what the "lost sheep" thing was all about.

This game is nothing like what I play on FB (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983400)

Now excuse me while I go back to clicking on my cows and sheep on Island Paradise and FrontierVille.

Cult of the dead cow (3, Funny)

joe_cot (1011355) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983408)

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.

Re:Cult of the dead cow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983536)

How much is one slashdotting? Can you put that into standard units, like LoC?

Re:Cult of the dead cow (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983540)

Or they could have used a horse, and made the satire complete and self-referential when the web page died.

Cognitive Dissonance Initiation Effect (3, Interesting)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

They stole the idea from me (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983474)

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...

As i'm seeing the whole summary (1)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983498)

s/cow/wank/g

Aye (1)

Kraftwerk (629978) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983514)

People here bitch about games that are on Facebook, and the people that play them. Yet when someone asks Slashdot how they can recover a friend lost to games like WOW, the responses are quite different. "It's his life, he can do what he wants!" and "It's better than being at a party passed out drunk!"

Re:Aye (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983676)

Still, there are plenty of people here who do think WoW is stupid.

Re:Aye (1)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983706)

Not that it justifies addiction to any game, but the difference in sentiment comes down primarily to a difference in presentation. While the underlying mechanisms are similar, WoW couches them in swaths of narrative and challenge. Sure, at the root of it the point of WoW is to make Blizzard enough money to Buy The Whole Damn World, but along the way the player gets to feel as though they're a part of a sweeping epic, or to test their button-pushing skills against other players. In that respect, it's not any more insidious than a coin-op Pac-Man cabinet, or a novel. Facebook games, on the other hand, are the mechanism laid bare: there's no story, no challenge, just a hook, followed by an opportunity to hand over your money to the creators of the "game." They don't really even pass as entertainment; as the creator of Cow Clicker says, they're little more than brain hacks.

Progress Quest (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983566)

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 (2, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983610)

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

Service as Con (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983652)

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?

We have this game (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983674)

Where I'm from they're called Video Lottery Terminals and they make the government billions every year.

When you try to paradoy... (3, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983688)

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]

What got me... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32983692)

I played mafia wars for a little while. Up until I found a greasmonkey script that would play the entire game for me. At which time I decided, what's the point?

Well duh (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983878)

Even a cheap sham can be entertaining.
Entertaining people isn't very hard.

Strange (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32983880)

Sounds like this game is straight from an Onion article.

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