Cow Clicker

July 23rd, 2010

“You get a cow. You can click on it. In six hours, you can click it again. Clicking earns you clicks. You can buy custom “premium” cows through micropayments (the Cow Clicker currency is called “mooney”), and you can buy your way out of the time delay by spending it. You can publish feed stories about clicking your cow, and you can click friends’ cow clicks in their feed stories. Cow Clicker is Facebook games distilled to their essence.”Cow Clicker

Two aspects of Ian’s game design I appreciate:

The first is the satire. The satire gives me the permission to participate fully, spending mooney, inviting friends, shoveling manure, with a broad wink. (call me inhibited, but I’ve never been able to experiment with inviting friends to the Farmvilles of the world, too embarrassing, and given the games are unplayable without …)

The second aspect might be by accident (or not), and struck me as a negative at first. When you start the game you get 1-click. And then you’re done for the next 6 hours. This is not an engaging on ramp. What a dumb design! Alright I’ll click around a bit and see what else is on these tabs. Oh hey, some people I know are already playing, I could invite them too! And ooooh, I want the Oil Spill Cow! Okay, maybe giving me nothing else to do except explore and right this blog post was a clever on ramp.

[I tired to fit that all into 140 characters, but I wasn’t up to the editing this morning]

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2 responses to “Cow Clicker”

  1. Leonard Lin says:

    I loved the concept but I got sidetracked pretty quickly critiquing the implementation. Response time is quite bad (so many full page refreshes!), there’s no CTA for other tabs, adding friends. When you see your friends’ cows, there’s no way to invite them directly (you have to go from “Your Herd” to “Invite a Cow”?!?) Invitations don’t show up in the main UI at all, and it’s another 2 clicks to accept. Also, it seems if you’re aiming to get a cow, you should be able to set it as a goal somehow (actually, I have no idea how one acquires mooney). On the one hand, maybe nitpicky, but on the other hand, central to any real dialectic on theory and practice (and analysis on how social games are “successful”).

    Also, Cow Clicker is definitely not a replacement for in-depth analysis of the current state of the art in social games. Like comparing light beer to everclear. (which is not to say that you want to be an alcoholic to be a bartender, but you probably should taste the drinks).

  2. Mike Gifford says:

    I hadn’t heard of this application before listening to this podcast

    TVO’s Search Engine’s “Podcast #53: How FarmVille Hurts Our Souls” is very entertaining. Made me sign up for it only because I’m so frustrated by FarmVille & stupid games like that that eat up the time of friends & family.