“A hundred days of writing” is a challenge many would-be writers face, one dealing with creativity, commitment, consistency, and experience. Since writing has been a pastime of mine for some years now, yet I never strove to improve myself, always relying on what little talent I have. The time has come to correct that, and to write at least five hundred words a day, for a hundred days.
<- Day one
At some point while playing the game, you start thinking: “Why do we do the things we do? Why do we click the cookies we click? Why?”
Effort justification has become a sinister presence in my life.
I like a challenge as much as the next person. It’s one of the reasons I love videogames, the high of feeling like your surpassed your own limits time and again, always progressing, always changing, never staying still. Fortunately for everyone, it has become quite commonplace for game designer to give strong feedback to players to encourage them on their way, but of course anything even remotely good will be perverted for financial gain. FarmVille is a great example, though it is starting to be a bit dated: knowing that you have to water your plants at a certain time, planting vegetables with a higher net yield based on their growth time, organizing your farm’s layout to optimize the distance your cursor has to travel, everyone experienced this on a certain level. I’m not claiming my farm animals were disposed on neat rows, ordered by yield/time, but maybe they were (I become a bit obsessive when people give me the ability to put things down in a neat way).
Due to the formula’s popularity, the genre became a swollen mass of writhing studios fighting for a share of the market, and then everything went down in flames. Thankfully a few examples of art came from that slice of the gaming market, most notably Cow Clicker, a satire of the genre itself, and Cookie Clicker, an unbelievably strong example of using game mechanics to deliver a message.
The game is rather simple: you click the cookie, and you get one cookie in your bank. You keep clicking until you have enough to buy other cursors that click automatically, grandmas to bake cookies, cookie farms, factories, all the way to portals into the cookieverse and prisms who morph light itself into cookies. There’s a robust upgrade system to help you on your way to capitalist heaven, and achievements pop up fairly often to give you a small pat on the back (and unlock new upgrades to buy). The more you progress, the more cookies per second (CpS) you get, the more extravagant and weird the game gets.
Except for the underlying story. You see, while the beginning is innocent and campy, the more you progress the darker the world around you becomes. The first grandma I hired asked me to give her a hug, and I was happy to oblige, since thanks to her my cookie business would finally starts chucking out crumbly salvation at an acceptable starting rate. I then built mines that went deep in the Earth; Shipments started arriving from the cookie planet; gold became less and less valuable due to the number of Alchemical Labs in my possession, constantly transmuting gold into cookies due to demand; my team of researchers invented time machines to get cookies from the past, before they were eaten, and I opened demonic portals into other dimensions to secure an additional few hundred thousand CpS. I hired my hundredth grandma, who lamented her state of indentured servitude. At some point, I was finally able to get my hands on Antimatter Condensers, to exploit the very fabric of the universe for my needs, and then Prisms, the ultimate technology in cookie production, while continuing to hire grandmas from every possible walk of life and existance: normal grandmas, worker grandmas, farmer grandmas, miner grandmas, golden grandmas, cosmic grandmas from other planets, altered grandmas from whatever hellish world the portals link to, the grandmas’ grandmas directly from the past, antigrandmas made of dark matter, rainbow grandmas made of every kind of light, and others still. I built a research center to augment their abilities, and it gave them ritual rolling pins, the result of years of scientific research; then they had underworld ovens (powered by science, of course!); the One Mind came shortly after, creating a connection between every grandma in existence we are many, we are one. From that the Communal brainsweep was devised we fuse, we merge, we grow, and then it was time for the last effort to strengthen my empire, the Elder Pact squirm crawl slither writhe – today we rise.
There is a little box at the top of the window where news from the world are displayed. They start small, with a few tidbits on cookies and their growing popularity, and for a while they are funny: “Roasted scorpions go well with cookies, says controversial chef”, “I have only one word, says celebrity: cookies!”, stuff like that. But then you excavate so many mines that accidents are inevitable, and reports of hundred of miners dead in collapsed shafts reach your office. Time machines are possibly involved in rewriting history. Multiple reports from anti-cookie activists are distorted by the media, until you read inquiries like “Is our media controlled by the cookie industry? This could very well be the case, says crackpot conspiracy theorist”. Catastrophes are swept aside as minor occurences, while everyone is obsessed and addicted to cookies. “Whole town seemingly swallowed by antimatter-induced black hole; more reliable sources affirm town ‘ever really existed’!”. At the feet of your hunger for more and more CpS, the world is enveloped in catastrophe, to the point where three ancient beings awaken, the Grandmatriarchs, and all hell breaks loose.
News: millions of old ladies reported missing!
“It begins.” -grandma
News: towns in disarray as strange old ladies break into homes to steal infants and baking utensils!
“We rise.” -grandma
News : remains of “old ladies” found frozen in the middle of growing fleshy structures!
“You disgust me.” -grandma
News : large “flesh highways” scar continent, stretch between various cookie facilities!
“You could have stopped it.” -grandma
News : wrinkled “flesh tendrils” visible from space!
“It’ll all be over soon.” -grandma
In my tower of flesh I sit still, watching a counter eternally ticking, transfixed: 2.404 trillion CpS.
I need more.
Day three ->