Conscious computing: how to take control of your life online | Technology | The Guardian
: " . . . By far the funniest, or maybe the most horrifying, illustration of this situation is Cow Clicker
, 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.". . ."
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