Clock Simulator [official site]. It’s one of those games that sounds like a joke. Something along the lines of Goat Simulator. But I played it out of curiosity and it’s a weird and interesting thing.
I’m going to caveat this by saying it’s entirely possible that you’d play it and still think it was a joke along the lines of Goat Simulator because all you’re really doing is clicking the mouse or pressing keyboard keys to measure out seconds as they tick by. It’s also repetitive by design and, for me, ridiculously difficult.
I knew it would be hard as I know I have no sense of how long a second actually is. I found that out when I was a kid because counting out what I thought was a minute never measured up to an actual minute even when I added a “Mississippi” between the numbers. I know it because when I watch analogue clocks ticking I feel like they’re winding down, ticking too slowly. I know it because I am not blessed with any particular musical aptitude and when I watched Whiplash I could never even begin to discern the difference between dragging and rushing.
Here’s my play through of one of the variations on timekeeping that you find early in the game. I feel like JK Simmons would have thrown an entire drum kit at my head and asked me to leave not just the music school but the whole city by the end.
There are other modes too. One has you type in time to the seconds to guide a pig through cogs. Another gives you a guide second hand to follow and keep time with. There’s one scenario where your screw-ups hasten nightfall. In most each error reduces the length of your second hand until you wear it down to the end.
My most hated is this mode where you’re allowed just five mistakes.
I’d say I’m fond of Clock Simulator. It’s a pretty thing, but I also like knowing how hard it is to count seconds. It feels like your body is rebelling against the construct in some way, or at least it’s a nice reminder that the idea of seconds/minutes/hours that largely dictates my waking life hasn’t quite been internalised. There’s a tiny thread of “fuck you, one-mississippi-two-mississippi” that ran through my time with the game that today I really appreciated.
Clock Simulator is £0.79/0,99/$0.99 on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux.