I usually like to write about games that I am passionate about. Every here and there I will write a review about something I strongly disliked. The reason for this imbalance is that I generally don’t like to waste money on games that have negative reviews on Steam. To be clear, a game doesn’t need to be overwhelmingly positive, in fact I take more stock in the first page of reviews than I do overall percentages.
Today is different.
Awhile ago, I was injured and had to spend a significant amount of time sitting in a chair, which led to me creating this very blog. During that time, I fell into a deep hole that I almost didn’t climb out of. No, it wasn’t the well on my grandfather’s farm. This, ladies and gentlemen, was a metaphorical hole, and the worst kind.
I started playing Adventure Capitalist:
Oh sorry, this is the official picture for the game:
I thought nothing of this game at first. I wondered how it could boast 91% positive reviews on Steam, but I shrugged and exited after a few minutes of play. Little did I know that a tiny bug had been planted in my brain, which slowly grew. The next day (having no idea why) I open up the game again and I found that I was able to unlock something new, so, of course I did…
But then I realized, “WAIT! I could have unlocked so much more if I’d just played a little longer.” So I wait to get more money so that I could buy more Car Washes, and Newspaper Routes. “Oh, but look. The Car Wash is really quite expensive and I’ve put nothing into the Donut Shop. I really should stick around a few more minutes to even them all out….OOH! I can almost buy a Movie Studio. Wait, but what’s the point of buying the Movie Studio if it isn’t automated? Then when I shut this down, it won’t produce for me. AND I WANT IT TO PRODUCE DAMMIT! OK. I just need enough money to buy a manager for my Movie Studio. NICE! Got him. Oh wait…he’d be giving me almost no money if I just have one of these bastards. I should get 5 movie studios so that my profit speed increases…”
AND SO ON AND SO FORTH…I found myself coming back and back and back to this game until I had unlocked the Moon and Mars which weren’t producing nearly enough compared to Earth and so I needed to get those up to snuff… WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? WHAT IS IN MY BRAIN?!?!
And of course, this is the entire point of the game. It is an endless pit that is designed to melt your brain, giving you little nuggets of endorphins to keep you coming back.
I felt legitimately worse about myself. What am I doing? I mean, I’m injured and recovering…it’s not like I should be doing anything else…how is this any worse than spending hours on another game or watching a show, etc. AND THAT REASONING MAKES SENSE, RIGHT? I mean the point of RPGs is that you complete tasks to slowly increase your power over time which leads to more tasks which leads to more power, etc. I mean look at World of Warcraft. I sunk countless hours into that game back in the day right?
THEN WHY DOES THIS FEEL SO MUCH WORSE? WHY DO I WANT TO STOP BUT I CAN’T?
This game has completely stripped away any value, skills, fun, or worth to gaming, yet people who play it still want to play even though THEY DON’T.
It all started with Cookie Clicker, a game designed as a joke to see if people would actually follow the increasingly large trail of bread crumbs into a pointless hole of cookie-clicking until they either passed out from exhaustion or their mouse broke. There is a great movie about Cookie Clicker that came out a few years ago, it’s called Trainspotting.
Now, despite my headline, I don’t really believe we should all become fascists and say that these games should be made illegal, but please, do your research on games. Don’t simply look at the % of positive reviews on Steam/Metacritic/etc before playing. Remember, people in a cult are pretty crazy about their cult.
Instead, look at comments like these:
I think you get the picture. Luckily, after an exorcism or two, I uninstalled Adventure Capitalist never to return.
If you’re looking for an addiction, for the love of God do something much healthier.
Until next time…
Devil picture source: http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/13941/1/1/how-to-draw-a-devil-face.htm