Seth Brown: The internet is for ...
1) This activity is perfectly normal, and many people (especially men) all over the world use the Internet for it.
2) The big reason it is so normal is because it provides a type of pleasure most people are lacking in their daily lives, and therefore many companies find it easy to cash in on our uncontrollable (but very human) urges.
Okay, I hope my parents aren't reading this, because here comes my confession:
I play clicker games.
For those of you unfamiliar with clicker games, they are a relatively new genre of online game where you repeatedly click on things to get gold/cookies/resources, which you spend to upgrade the potency of your clicking and have some of the clicking done for you automatically, which allows you to click more profitably, which in turn allows you to upgrade your autoclickers and click power, which allows you to click for more stuff, which allows you to realize an hour has just passed and you haven't done anything at all, including enjoying yourself.
Yes, I realize this is a tremendous waste of time. In fact, for those of you who thought back at the top of this column that I was talking about pornography, I find my clicker game addiction much more embarrassing. Heck, when I am playing a clicker game, and my girlfriend walks into the room, I might try to hide it by quickly navigating to a porn site instead.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing much, just looking at some pornography. See? This topless woman definitely commands my attention, as befits my perfectly normal sexual urges."
"Then why did I hear so much clicking?"
"Uh...I was trying to load nude women faster?"
"You were playing a clicker game again, weren't you."
"I knew it! They are so stupid; why do you play those games?"
It's a fair point; the games are completely stupid. And yet I have played dozens of them, and whether you are clicking cookies, or slimes, or candies, or sandcastles, or eggs, or zombies, or trees, or kittens, or dungeon monsters, or cubes, or lemonade stands, or ants, or golems, or slurpees, or spaceships, or larvae, or oil barrels, or cows, the overarching gameplay remains the same, which is to say, stupid.
So the question remains: Why do we play these games? Well, as mentioned above, the game is a distilled efficient machine for providing a certain type of pleasure -- specifically, the pleasure of having a goal set, knowing precisely how to achieve it, making tangible progress towards it, and then being immediately acknowledged and rewarded for your achievement upon completion. Life too often does not set clear goals, nor make clear how best to progress towards your goals, nor guarantee that effort will be met with any reward, nor acknowledge or celebrate your achievements. Clicker games do all of that, without needing anything from you but occasional clicks, while you browse Facebook.
And that's why in the age of games with highly advanced graphics, orchestral soundtracks, professional voice acting, and now even Virtual Reality games, a stupid clicker game cracked the world's top ten most-played games list, and remains in the top 50 today. Which is ridiculous. And I'm part of the problem. So my new year's resolution for 2018 is to stop playing those damn clicker games.
As soon as I beat this one.
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