Cow Clicker is a Facebook game created by artist Ian Bogost in January of 2011. Bogost initially had the idea during a gaming conference, where he disappointingly listened to Farmville give a speech after accepting an award. However, did not act on the idea until he was invited to argue against social games at NYU. Instead of writing an argument, he developed Cow Clicker instead. The game is self-explanatory: the player simply clicks cows. However, a cow can only be clicked once every six hours. The more cows the player collects in their “pasture,” the more clicks the player is granted. Additional cows can be purchased with the in-game currency, which is called “mooney.” Users also have the option to invite friends, which places friend’s cows into the “pasture” granting more clicks.
Bogost’s game is mockery towards all other Facebook games. The concept of clicking one cow every six hours ridicules the types of games that currently rule Facebook. Users develop additive personalities towards these games that require no talent, skill, or effort. Facebook games, or social games, are nothing but unnecessary clicking and a way of agitating friends.
Kyle Orland, from Games.com News, wrote:
“Cow Clicker Creator and Georgia Tech professor Ian Bogost describes Cow Clicker as "Facebook games distilled to their essence" and in a way he's right. Read that description from the first paragraph again. Replace "a cow" with "crops," and "clicks" at the end with "coins" and you have a bare bones description of the basic gameplay in Facebook mega-hit Farmville. The same process can be applied to describe countless other popular social games. Cow Clicker even lets you spend mooney to skip the six-hour wait for more click opportunities, mimicking the way many other social games let you spend in-game money to avoid having to wait for rewards.” Orland, Kyle (2010, July 22nd) Cow Clicker Breaks Down Social Games, Misses the Point
Bogost believes that there is four major themes found in all social games that are ruining the social gaming world: enframing, compulsion, optionalism, and destroyed time. In other words, users play social games because they feel the need to utilize their Facebook resources. These games creative addictive behaviors; players always want more, which is the result of the long time implements. A great deal of time is wasted for a game that grants players the option of giving no effort.
The physical concept of Cow Clicker is nearly identical to another online game, Cookie Clicker (http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/). Cookie Clicker, however, has no time limits. For each mouse click, one cookie is made. Cookies can be used to purchase cursors that click for you, grandmas that bake cookies for you, and even factories that will bake the cookies. Eventually, the player will have cookies produced at an incredibly fast rate. Cookie Clicker does not act as satire towards other games in the way Cow Clicker does. In fact, Cookie Clicker falls under Bogost’s ridicule.
Another game similar to Cow Clicker is, one that it attacks, Hay Day. Hay Day is a game available for Facebook, IOS, Android, and Google Play where users grow and maintain their own farm. They have the option of interacting with their friend’s farms as well. Like Cow Clicker, users can only play every few hours. This causes players to become hooked or even spend real money in some cases. The game, which requires no significant talent, is a time destroyer.
Gamers Development Conference – Spring 2012
Bogost, I. (n.d.). Cow Clicker. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://bogost.com/games/cow_clicker/
Bogost, I. (n.d.). Cow Clicker The Making of Obsession. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://bogost.com/blog/cow_clicker_1/
Hay Day. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://haydaygame.com/
Orland, K. (2010, July 22). Cow Clicker breaks down social games, misses the point. Retrieved April 12, 2016, from http://blog.games.com/2010/07/22/cow-clicker-breaks-down-social-games-misses-the-point/