Cookie Clicker: A Pip And Alice Chat

Cookie Clicker is a game about clicking cookies. A recent update (the first since 2014) tempted Alice and Pip back into the (dough) fold. They’ve uncovered horrors beyond all imagining, not least Pip’s competitive cookie streak.

I have been playing Cookie Clicker [official site] for a few days now. I thought I was doing well. My “legacy meter” which I don’t understand is ticking up nicely, I’m spewing out 42.4m cookies per second, there’s a lot of stuff I buy and yet ALICE IS ON 89.3M CPS. This is awful and will not stand.

Pip: Alice, what am I doing wrong and how can I beat you at biscuits? Or am I doomed to failure, like my unicorn turd cookie experiment?

My unicorn poo cookies taste like shit.

A photo posted by Philippa Warr (@philippawarr) on

Alice: Pip, what am I looking at here?

Pip: Biscuits obviously. But with different coloured dough and sprinkles because of a recipe I saw online. It reminded me of when I had Fimo for the first time as a kid – you know, that modelling clay that you bake in the oven so it sets? My mum had to do the oven bit because I was only eight but she thought it was like biscuits and it was done when it was light brown, so all of my purple glitter creations got scorched. We never did Fimo together again.

Alice: I’ll assume that’s what happened to the unicorn biscuits too. Oh dear!

I don’t have cute stories of childhood disasters (or adult failures? I’m generously assuming those cookies were also made when you were eight) but

Pip: Twenty-eight. I was twenty-eight. JUST TELL ME HOW TO BEAT YOU AT THIS INFERNAL BISCUIT GAME.

Alice: Pip, it’s simple: waste electricity leaving your PC on then in the morning feel absurd about doing that. I left my PC on overnight so I could make more imaginary cookies and see the meatgrandmas, Pip.

I’ve just realised it’s now me who comes off worse, by far, in this conversation.

Pip: URGH that is so annoying. It might be my turn to be worst because I tried to do exactly that but the PC kept me awake with its lights and its humming so I had to switch it off because of my weak human body. Wait, no. You are still the worst here.

Alice: YES! RESULT! ALICE WINS AGAIN!

Well, you know Pip, really, careful investment is why I’m ahead. I’m sure I’d still be ahead even if you did have my impressive stamina and steely focus.

Pip: I’m going to go and play something else. Definitely not going to try and calculate maximum efficiency paths for upgrades and additions or anything weird like that. Definitely not going to subscribe you to a biscuit mailing list out of spite either.

Alice: I knew I should’ve just vanished into the Highlands, told you I lived in the heather.

I’m actually discovering that I am rubbish at Cookie Clicker. I am very bad at calculating for maximum efficiency, because sums make me somewhere between sleepy and angry. The first time Cookie Clicker came around, years back, I downloaded an add-on someone made to run all the numbers for recommended efficient investments. I was really good at Cookie Clicker with that. I was sure I’d be at meatgrandmas by now but… I’m currently saving up for a portal to hell. That seems a sensible investment, doesn’t it? A hell portal can’t backfire.

Pip: So not content with producing more by CHEATING or at least by using a cookie financial adviser you are also delivering SPOILERS? I have an Alchemy Lab and I was EXCITED. I am going to find a way to cheat harder and better and manage without sleep and then who will be the ultimate victor? Me, that’s who. Definitely me.

Alice: Pip, as you were writing that I got a Lucky Cookie which gave me the final few billions I needed to buy my first hell portal (did I spoil that? I thought you’d see them as the next rank once you had an Alchemy Lab). I’m going to build that, so you entertain yourself and I’ll be back in a jiffy.

Pip: No, the next rank item shows as question marks and a silhouette with a price tag. It becomes visible over time, I think but it’s secret at least for a while.

Do you still click on the main cookie anymore (not a euphemism)?

Alice: Don’t worry, I did lie slightly. It’s fine. You’ll still be surprised.

I haven’t clicked on the cookie in yonks, Pip. (AND IN THE GAME.) I leave it running in a tab, and every so often slide past to check for Lucky Cookies and feel pleased with my progress. In my memory, the small silly story stuff advanced a lot quicker. But my point is, I am baking 110.704 million cookies per second.

Pip: I literally just narrowed my eyes at the screen as you typed that. I am going to rethink my whole strategy in a moment but before I sign off I wanted to say how glad I am that this game uses American billions and not those secretly long billions you sometimes get in the UK. The first time I saw something costing a billion I was anxiously watching the numbers tick up to see whether it became 1bn at the 1,000,000,000 mark or whether I was going to have to wait an eternity longer. Thank goodness for short scale billions, Alice. Thank. Goodness.

Alice: You’re trying to make me sleepy and angry with sums again, aren’t you.

I would really recommend not even peeking at that efficiency calculator doodad, by the way. It really ruined… it really ruined a lot of the magic. The magic of Cookie Clicker. You heard me. When you start taking it seriously, and look at it as calculations rather than something silly but kinda fun happening somewhere on your workscreen, it misses the whole point. I felt like I do in Bethesda RPGs – “Okay, I get this, I’ve seen some interesting stuff and where the main story goes, let’s power through and finish this because all this other faff is boring, take me to the end.” The end being having all the achievements, I suppose? I never finish Bethesda RPGs either. Cookie Clicker has a better story and characters though.

Pip: Shall we end it there or does it need a final line?

Alice: 121.175 million, Pip.

Pip: I hate you.

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54 Comments

  1. Doogie2K says:

    After a brief dalliance with Clicker Heroes, I wound up getting deep into AdVenture Capitalist for a spell, until they released the broken Moon stuff and I just hated everything. Is Cookie Clicker worth putting the time into? Does it have a finite end where you can walk away? Does it come at any reasonable time point?

    • Beefenstein says:

      You play the game until you stop playing it. It has a built-in legacy thingy restart loop going on.

      On the other hand it’s about as purposeful as life itself, and arguably is equally ‘worth putting time into’.

      • Halk says:

        “Is Cookie Clicker worth putting the time into?”

        Nope.

        “On the other hand it’s about as purposeful as life itself”

        Nope.

        • Pharos says:

          If our society seems more chocolate than that of previous eras, perhaps this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our grandmas’ collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are at last ready to accept life’s fundamental truth: that life’s only purpose is to click cookies.
          Baker Sheng-ji Yang, “Looking Orteil in the Foot”

    • grrrz says:

      I think in the first version you could have at least of all the building within a few hours. No it probably takes days, weeks even. This game is like a growing tumor.
      The only way to win this game is not playing.
      or cheating.

      • Somerled says:

        There’s an achievement for cheating. There’s an arguably more rewarding achievement for not playing.

        • jrodman says:

          Is that the no-longer playing achievement? (Which I have.)

          Or the never-bothered-to-play achievement? (The owners of which I feel envy towards.)

  2. gunny1993 says:

    Hah serious Bethesda burns going down

    These types of games just seem like masturbation to me; pointless, self gratification because you’re got nothing better to do, dressed up in any number of varying fetishes.

    Which one will give you RSI first is the question.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      That’s a really good comparison. Clicker things are an interesting case study in direct, undisguised stimulation of a certain urge.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Yeah, you click on a thing and numbers go up and it makes you feel a vague sense of achievement.

      Funnily enough, the last game I played that made me feel the same way was Fallout 4, in which you also click on a thing (raider/synth/etc), numbers go up, and you feel a vague sense of achievement. I uninstalled that one, though, because it was taking up too much time and I couldn’t just leave it running in a browser tab in the background.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yes. Note the hideous innuendos in the article. It doesn’t make you a ad person, though.

  3. Fade2Gray says:

    I don’t think 100,000,000 has ever been described as 1 billion in America. 1 billion = 1,000,000,000

  4. Saarlaender39 says:

    Pip: “My unicorn poo cookies taste like shit.”

    Well,…successful experiment, then!?

    :D

  5. Don Reba says:

    Wait ’till you get to the dragons.

  6. Halcyon says:

    I’m happy you two are friends and have such a good time.

  7. Napalm Sushi says:

    This game affirms my long standing conclusion that the human condition isn’t in any way fundamentally elevated over the rest of reality.

    (I am at 19.899 million cookies per second)

  8. Lucid Spleen says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Thankfully. Nonetheless ’twas entertaining. Like the unicorn poo.

  9. OmNomNom says:

    why

  10. Andreomir says:

    There’s a very helpful Add-on (appropriately) called ‘Cookie Monster’. I think you’ll find it useful.Here’s wot Cookie Clicker’s Wiki has to say:
    link to cookieclicker.wikia.com

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      There’s a cookie clicker wiki!? Oh goddamn, this makes Pip and Alice’s obsession about the game seem like [insert witty comparison]. Someone actually thought of and made a wiki for a game like this. I thought my cynical mind was beyond surprises when it came to these games, but I was wrong.

      • Andreomir says:

        As long as there are more than 10 features/numbers in a game, there’s going to be a Wiki about it! Also, for better or worse, there’s a lot to consider if you play the game. What upgrade to get, when to get it, is it worth it, should you maybe buy one of the highest-costing structure, or should you buy five lesser ones first.. The Wiki, as well as the add-on, helps you with all that :P

        • Mr Bismarck says:

          Or maybe you should just bank some cookies so that the lucky cookies you get for having cookies give you more cookies than the cookies from the buildings you bought with cookies.

          Semantic satiation get.

  11. KDR_11k says:

    After a few hours I remembered that my mouse has a rapid-fire button (dunno what it’s for, games usually don’t react to the full click rate and e.g. pistols don’t shoot very fast with that button). Apparently it generates a hundred clicks per second or so.

  12. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I think it’d help if you didn’t make your cookies from playdough.

  13. stoner says:

    In a few hours, I’ll have my second Portal, making 63 million CPS. Bwahahaha…

    • Don Reba says:

      I’m saving up to upgrade my 50 Prisms for 105 quintillion.

  14. noizy says:

    I’m making 1.6 billion per sec. Been running it for 84h.

  15. Ejia says:

    I’ve been running it for almost two years and I am only at 1 quintillion cps.
    That is not nearly enough.

    • DrakeDwarf says:

      It’s never enough. One moment you think you have enough and reset, then you realize you don’t have enough of that reset tokens or angelic cookies or something.

  16. celticdr says:

    Cookie? Clicker? A game about clicking cookies?

    Is there any other absurdly greater past-time than clicking cookies in order to open a portal to hell? I think not. Whomever designed this game is a genius!

    • KDR_11k says:

      Well, it’s the evolved form of a parody of casual games (Cow Clicker) that accidentally kicked off a wave of popular casual games.

  17. Amake says:

    I currently make just over two sextillion cookies per second. Do I win?

    (Of course not, I still have 100 cursors left to the 500 cursors achievement.)

  18. defunct says:

    Loved this article, even though I will never play this game. Thanks!

  19. resch says:

    I dont think there is much difference between this and Diablo. You click on things in order to make numbers pop-up, you buy things to improve your number-per-click ratio and eventually you open portal to hell. Except there is a shortener for big numbers in cookie clicker…

    • Andreomir says:

      There is a shortener for big numbers in Diablo too, now. Also, I guess one could use the “grafix” argument, but well, that would be just like, their opinion, man

  20. Chaoslord AJ says:

    It’s put together pretty clever with all the descriptions and little jokes. There’s some kind of lore there too with the cookie portals leading to hell and the insidious grandmas, theories like elves turning to santas, ideas like bringing cookies back from the past before they were eaten.
    It gets boring after a while and all you do is click buy buttons but let’s face it most PC games these days are neither an agility nor an intellectual challenge.
    Having virtual commodities drop in Diablo 3 also has no purpose but for reason people here think it would be more worthwhile.

  21. BisonHero says:

    I’m making 1.3 sextillion cookies per second, but then according to the game, my file has 20,310 hours on it, which is about 846 full days.
    Also, I’ve baked 2.16 octillion cookies total across that entire span, but 2.058 octillion were made in the last 48 hours. This latest patch really does trivialize a lot of the progress from before the patch, because the new buildings and upgrades are such an insane cookie boost that my previous maximum cookie output is like a joke now.

  22. Moonracer says:

    I unfortunately got hooked on this game since the last article (thanks RPS). I started getting bored and then got entertained again by looking into how people cheat.

  23. KDR_11k says:

    Prices grow so insanely fast compared to income, e.g. it takes 14 hours for the first portal to break even.

    • BisonHero says:

      True, but in many cases, having more of particular buildings will allow for the purchase of upgrades that significantly increase cookie output.
      But yeah, once you’ve bought most of the major upgrades, all you can really do is buy one building at a time, and it will take that building days to break even, but you don’t have anything better to do with all those cookies.

  24. jrodman says:

    Where do the weird British Billions live on? SI pretty much decided a thousand x a million => billion pretty decisively nearly 100 years ago. These things take time to percolate around the world of course. For example we in the United States are still using tablespoons, fluid ounces, and hogsheads. (Okay one of those is false.) But I thought thousand, million, billion had pretty much reached everywhere except British folklore by now.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Actually they aren’t only British, or even mainly British. In most European languages a thousand million is a “milliard”, that word even exists in English too although it’s not used. First time I even heard of this word was from a Czech friend, I thought she meant a kind of duck.

      • jrodman says:

        I’m well aware of that term, but they all pretty much agree on million/billion.

        • Nixitur says:

          Not really.
          After million comes milliard. After milliard comes billion. After that comes billiard. Then trillion. Looking at Europe, 1000 million being 1 billion is mostly just an English thing, the long scale is more common.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      So, it’s not quite right to refer to long-scale billions as being “British”, we stopped using them a long time ago. The necessity of working with the rest of Europe in many spheres means we hang on to an awereness that there’s “another billion” besides the one we commonly use – the fact that the Americans have never used it leads us to think of it as a “British billion” when in fact it’s more accurate to call it French billion.

      • jrodman says:

        This is false. The French dumped this concept of million/billion quite a while ago. The SI is more theirs than anyone else’s after all. It’s only in England where it lives on.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Afraid you’re just about as wrong as is possible to be. Take a look at this chart:

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          Of course everybody uses the same standard in maths and science but in everyday use – when you see someone on TV talking about large sums of money, etc, the long-scale (thousand, milliard, million.) is still king in continental Europe. You will also note from map linked above that Britain doesn’t use the long scale anymore.

          Also, the SI prefix is “giga”. This is related to but not the same thing as the collective noun, which is not an essential part of the SI standard, just extra information.

          Incidentally, although the French had a metric system of sorts first, it was the British who drafted the first actual complete standard which was the blueprint for what was agreed to at the Convention du Mètre.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            I did of course mean (thousand, million, milliard) – although countries that are blue on that map and don’t use a variant of “milliard” use “thousand million”. France, however, does of course use “milliard” it’s hard to think of a more French sounding word tbh.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            If you still think I’m trolling or something, you may also want to check out the French wikipedia page on SI prefixes: link to fr.wikipedia.org