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Cookie Clicker is a 2013 JavaScript-based incremental game created by French programmer Julien Thiennot.[1] The aim of the game is to bake cookies at as great a rate as possible; as such, there is no true end to the gameplay. To start the game, the player bakes cookies solely by clicking on a giant cookie, gaining one cookie each time it is clicked. Cookies are used as currency to buy items like grandmas and farms that bake cookies without user input and upgrades that increase the number of cookies per click and unit time.[2]

Cookie Clicker
Cookie Clicker Screenshot.png
Cookie Clicker's game interface
Designer(s) Julien Thiennot
Programmer(s) Julien Thiennot
Release 10 August 2013
Genre(s) incremental
Mode(s) Single-player



At first, the player clicks on the cookie on the left side of the screen to earn one cookie per click. With these cookies, the player can purchase objects, such as grandmas, farms, cursors, portals and time machines, that automatically make cookies at an improvable rate. Golden cookies, smaller cookies that appear and fade away over several seconds, appear periodically and grant bonus cookies or increase the rate of production for a short time. The player may also purchase upgrades to increase the number of cookies produced per second or per click. For the most part, cost scales with cookies-per-second; JavaScript add-ons are frequently used to choose the most efficient purchase at any given time. Achievements can be earned by completing various tasks, such as producing certain numbers of total cookies.

Because of the game's relatively simple code, cheats and add-ons are widely available and simply implemented by using browser consoles and bookmarklets.


Julien "Orteil" Thiennot created the game Cookie Clicker in August 2013. Featuring similar mechanics and objectives to the previous games, Cow Clicker, it also included new gameplay features.[3] The game was first posted on 4chan's /v/ board on 8 August 2013 [4] and later spread through social media sites. Orteil later wrote that traffic had peaked at 1.5 million hits in one day during August 2013, and as of January 2014 Cookie Clicker was still getting a steady 225,000 hits per day.[5]

Idle gamingEdit

In an IGN article, Cookie Clicker is credited as one of the few games to have played a major role in the establishment of the genre of idle gaming.[6]

This genre involves games that orient the player with a trivial task, such as clicking a cookie; and as the game progresses, the player is gradually rewarded certain upgrades for completing said task. In all, these games require very little involvement from the player, and in most cases they play themselves; hence the use of the word "idle". This process of rewarding a simple action, or positive reinforcement,[3] is what causes idle games to be commonly known as “super addictive”. The design is such that, with each reward, the player feels a sense of pride as if they have accomplished something important, thus creating the urge to continue to play.

However, due to their mockingly simple mechanics, idle games are also considered by many of being relatively simple or, as stated in the IGN article, "super dumb".[6] Games such as Cookie Clicker have used this blend of simplicity and complexity to create a new genre that some may not even consider as actual games. Orteil himself described his works as "non-games".[1] However, while idle games, or "non-games", do not contain many aspects typically associated with games, they have a large presence on the Internet, in comparison to true games. In early 2014, Orteil released an early version of Idle Game Maker, a tool allowing customized idle games to be made without coding knowledge.[7]

In late 2014, Orteil collaborated with Artix Entertainment to release an idle game for mobile devices called AdventureQuest Dragons.


Boing Boing reviewed Cookie Clicker as a "highly-addictive browser game".[8] Polygon has described the game as "intriguing", and its fan base as "obsessive".[1] states that it is ultimately a "Skinner box".[3] Destructoid emphasizes that it is "centered around the pursuit and accumulation of vast wealth", providing players with "the illusion of progress, without any substantial advancement actually being made."[2]


  1. ^ a b c Crecente, Brian (30 September 2013). "The cult of the cookie clicker: When is a game not a game?". Polygon. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Makedonski, Brett (25 September 2013). "Cookie Clicker gets inside your psychological kitchen". Destructoid. Retrieved 29 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Schultz, Warren. "Milk and Cookies: Cow Clicker and Cookie Clicker". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Thiennot, Julien (8 August 2013). "hello yes I just made the best vidya ever". 4chan (archived by Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Orteil". Orteil. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  6. ^ a b Davis, Justin (10 October 2013). "Inside Cookie Clicker and the Idle Game Move". IGN. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Idle Game Maker Documentation". Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Boing, Boing (2 December 2013). "Distract yourself with free browser games". Boing Boing. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 

External linksEdit