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Idle Time - Tuesday, February 19, 2019
For the past few years, I've periodically been playing browser-based idle games. Cookie Clicker and AdVenture Capitalist were probably the first ones I tried. For me, the main appeal of idle games is that they more or less play themselves; grinding resources/power (arguably the most tedious part of games) happens automatically with little input from the user. It's gaming for busy people! Since I have my computer running most of the day, it's no real overhead to have an idle game running in a browser tab.

But the drawback of most idle games is that they never end. Events may continue to happen, but there's no overarching cohesive plot. It's just an auto-grind for eternity. After a while, the game feels monotonous and static. Numbers going up and up for their own sake.

But two idle games in particular stand out as being well-designed, fun to play, and having a definite end. Having a defined objective, for me, makes the game more enjoyable. Those games are Candy Box 2 and A Dark Room. I find myself replaying them every couple years; they have a lot of replay value. It's especially great how both games start with a minimal premise but gradually open up into an expanding world, often in ways that are unexpected. Nonetheless, both games feel a bit too short, especially Candy Box 2. But maybe that's the counter-idea to this whole genre. An idle game doesn't need to go on forever in order to be fun. Or maybe, more precisely, it can't.
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