Friday, October 11, 2013

By the Way

Cow Clicker is:
... a Facebook game created in 2011 by the game designer Ian Bogost as a satire of undemanding "social games" such as FarmVille – in which, as Bogost put it, "you click on a cow, and that's it". In Cow Clicker, you clicked on your cow and it mooed, and that was it: you then had to wait another six hours to click again, unless you were willing to part with real money (or virtual money, accumulated through clicking) for the right to click again immediately. Bogost's joke became a surprise hit: at its height, Cow Clicker had more than 50,000 users, some paying $20 or more for pointless "improvements" to their cow, such as making it face the opposite direction.
"After a while," Bogost told a US radio interviewer, "I realised they're doing exactly what concerned me about these games" – becoming "compulsively attached". "I began to feel very disturbed about the product." Eventually, a few months after the launch, Bogost eliminated all the cows in a Rapture-like event he called the Cowpocalypse. After it, users could keep playing only by clicking on a bare patch of grass – and some actually did. Responding to a player who complained that Cow Clicker was no longer "a very fun game", Bogost replied, "It wasn't very fun before."
Beachcomber's By the Way column was one of the few features kept continuously running in the often seriously reduced Daily Express throughout World War II, when Morton's lampooning of Hitler, including the British invention of bracerot to make the Nazi's trousers fall down at inopportune moments, was regarded as valuable for morale.

Today he would have been a technology correspondent, or even a developer. Cow Clicker is far more ridiculous than bracerot.
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