Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. As much as I like to sit at my computer and immerse myself into heavier forms of gaming, every now and then I just pick up my phone or tablet and play something simple.
Recently, very recently in fact, I’ve been getting into idle games. Now, you may be wondering why that is. Before that, though, I should probably explain what an idle game is for those who don’t know. In short, an idle game is one that requires you to do very little. Basically, you click a few things every now and then. When you do, you get to watch as your in game currencies tick upward. In some cases these can also be known as “incremental games” or “clicker games”.
Literally all you do in this type of game is merely click upon a few slowly growing and refreshing bars every now and then. You may have a few choices for character equipment screens, and you may have times missions to complete, but more times than not, there’s no skill involved.
Time is your only factor. You may start out buying yourself a few more lemonade stands, newspaper stalls or other revenue building items. Then watch the cash count tick up further only to buy more later. That’s about the long and short of it.
In general, it’s a simple, uncomplicated style of game. It will only get complicated if you make it that way. Either by by micromanaging every tiny detail or attempt stare at the game for hours on end. Really, that’s just a good way to get frustrated when you make little in the way of progress. Idle games are best enjoyed at a turtle’s pace, slowly drawing out each and every level.
A great example of this would be the game AdVenture Capitalist.
I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that idle games are a total waste of time. I wouldn’t even disagree that typically, idle games are fairly dull due to their core mechanics. It’s a lazy type of game to play for sure. That isn’t their only downside, either. It’s no question that games in mobile markets thrive on cash shops, which can be just as insidious as loot boxes. Sometimes, games like these even have both.
Those are plenty of very good reasons to dislike idle games by their nature. That’s also why I don’t typically play them myself.
Since most idle games are free to play, they will have a lot of cash shop items, pay-to-win mechanics. and other nonsense that I really don’t like to see in games. I certainly don’t encourage them in game design… but see, here’s the thing; you’re not supposed to play idle games hard core, either.
They’re not meant for you to binge the unholy hell out of them, so you don’t have to use those “advantages” (I call them that loosely), and I certainly don’t use them at all.
For me, idle games are the sort of thing I pick up for a few moments here and there, and then put the game away. At this moment in time, there’s a lot of value in that. I’ve recently found a decent use for them. Something that, quite frankly, hits close to home.
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know my mother isn’t very healthy right now. She’s been in and out of the hospital so much in these past few months. That means as a gamer, I just need a different way to play games. right now.
I can’t just fire up my laptop and start playing MMORPG’s or shooters, because those aren’t relaxing things. Idle games, though, that’s a different story entirely. They can just run without me paying a whole lot of attention to them. I can be as invested or as disinterested as I want to be at the time, and that small freedom means the world right now.
I can play them while we’re watching whatever crappy television show happens to be on. Whenever we’re watching the baseball games (Go Detroit Tigers!), I can have my phone in my lap and toy around between commercials. I don’t ever find myself in the middle of something I can’t just close and ignore when my attention is needed elsewhere. That’s the luxury of this type of game, and why I’ve been playing them so much recently.
I’ve been playing a lot of “Idle Space Farmer – Waifu Management Simulator” Which is a lot less perverse than it sounds. It’s just another incremental idle game, like so many others, but there’s more to do and to keep track of. It’s a better fit for me.
“Idle Miner Tycoon” is another game of similar style, just, you know, without the pretty women of all shapes and sizes… this is also a solid title I’ve been playing a lot of.
Those are the two games that really have been keeping me occupied recently. Maybe I’ll do proper reviews of them when I get further into the content. I’m still in world one of both of these games due to my slow progress in them. Either way, I thank them for the distraction.
Honestly, there’s only so many sitcoms I can reasonably sit through on repeat (a blog post for later), and having these two games on my phone has saved me many hours of total and complete boredom. As an aside, that’s the thing about having older parents in their 70’s. Occasionally, they get set in their ways. They like what they like, and are not prone to drift from those old comforts. For my mother, those old re-runs are playing more often than not.
Even right now as I sit here writing this, my mother and I are watching Fraser for the countless time. When I say we watch all eleven seasons of that sitcom over and over every week, I’m not joking.
Nope, I am not kidding even in the slightest. It’s her “go to bed” show, she plays it every single night before bed, and it’s become neat ritualistic at this point. She tends to watch it in the morning to
So really, right now, I thank idle games for my sanity. Otherwise I would have lost my mind months ago.
All in all, I’ve really got to say, idle games have been a saving grace for me in moments when I just need some levity too. There’s been more than a little stress around here, and they’re a good way to just zone out for a bit. You could say they’ve become my own bedtime ritual, not unlike my mother’s binge watching of Fraser.
I’d never thought I’d say that… and it surprises me. It’s true though, every last word. Gaming this way is by far one of the best coping skills I’ve picked up to ward away stress.
Now, I don’t think this negates the downsides of idle games, and I don’t believe that mobile gaming will ever be a main source of entertainment for me, ever. There’s just so much you can do with a basic smartphone, and I have no intention of buying the top of the line device just to make phone calls and check discord.
Still though, there’s a charm in watching watching numbers scroll upward across the screen with little strategic effort, a near mindless comfort, if you care to think about it that way. Maybe it’s because I don’t take idle games seriously, and that’s why I can enjoy them in this turbulent time in my life. I don’t give into all the marketing and pay-to-win mechanics that go into them… as that goes against my ethos as a gamer and so I’m just not inclined to use them. Or maybe it is just the mindlessness itself that so attracts me right now…
I can’t say for sure, but what I can tell you is that they’ve been a small saving grace when I just need a little something to do that isn’t complicated. I think that’s reason enough. I guess this goes to show me that even games genres I’d typically write off as uninteresting really do occasionally have their uses.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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