The RPS Summer Games: Clock Simulator

First up on the RPS Summer Games schedule is Clock Simulator [official site]. Such a simple game – all you have to do is click your mouse in time with the passing of each second – tick, tock, tick, tock. We’ll be playing the mode called The Fragility Of Time where you’re only allowed to miss the beat five times. Find out which of RPS has learned to embrace their inner metronome…


  • We’re only playing The Fragility Of Time mode
  • You can have as many turns as you like but can only submit one score for the competition
  • Results:


    (Adam couldn’t send screnshots before he left for GamesCom so I’ve made one up for him! – Pip)

    Adam says: First of all, let’s get something out of the way: timekeeping is what officials do, not what athletes do. I didn’t spend four years training to be the person with the stopwatch who tries to figure out how awesome the people on the track or field are, I put in all that work to be the awesome person on the track or field.

    Second of all, I am terrible at simulating a clock. If I were a clock, time would collapse on itself. People would glitch from place to place as seconds arbitrarily passed in fractions of themselves, or occasionally stretched to double or triple their length because I was too busy swearing to perform the tock that follows the tick.

    The sun would stutter across the sky, occasionally blinking out of existence to be replaced by a confused and awkward moon, which itself would vanish a split second later as the sky consumed itself and the beginning and end of the universe met for the first time, shook hands and vomited cosmic energy all over the everything. The trains would never run on time, people would clock into work both an hour early and a century too late, and everybody would be forced to study indie darling film Primer at school, in case understanding of paradoxes became essential to their survival.

    Best before dates on food would be meaningless.

    My high score is nine. Nine seconds is the maximum amount of time that I can keep the temporal flow of the universe on course. Beyond that, there is only the screaming, fractured void beyond our ken.


    Alec says: While FNAF being on the schedule barely tickles my blood pressure, Clock Simulator sent my cortisol levels sky-high. I hate waiting at the best of times, and for various reasons this year has involved an awful lot of waiting. That damnable ticking – I was back in one of those rooms, watching one of those blank clocks, waiting, waiting, waiting. I was so stressed that I could barely make it to 5 seconds. Then I closed my eyes, solely to try and calm myself, avoiding the terrible gaze of that merciless dial, and something miraculous happened. I was one with the clock, not its enemy. Of course, everyone else’s score is doubtless astronomically higher, but given this was the challenge I was convinced I’d have to bail on, I’m quite pleased with this.


    Alice says: You follow The Man’s clock and I’ll smash mine against the wall and we’ll see whose minute is more free. The Man won’t give you love, you know. Sheeple. Fuck clocks.


    Brendy says: A lifetime of hating the sound of ticking clocks has put me at something of a disadvantage here. I can’t even sleep if there is a ticking clock in the room. I don’t like the sound of life and all existence draining away at microscopic intervals. It’s annoying. So I am very proud to have reached a whopping 20 seconds in this game, no matter what anybody else has achieved. At first I tried to close my eyes and use my innermost sense of rhythm. But that did not work. Then I discovered the value of moving my button pressing finger like a teeny­tiny pendulum. If any of the others have beaten my score: so what. I don’t care. Whatever. Time is just, like, a construct man.


    Graham says: I’ve seen that old advert, so I know how this works: tick follows tock follows tick follows tock and so on, right?

    But tick is a slightly higher pitch than tock, which creates the sense of something ascending or accelerating. Tick is always slightly faster than tock. And in general, I’ve learned, a second is always slightly longer than you think it is.

    Still, I’m proud of this time without any sense of whether I should be. I imagine Pip, who has played the game before, has found a way keep quintuple time within the game and will destroy us all.

    I like the Fragility of Time mode we’re playing this on. Only ever being five seconds away from failure means that I’m never sure whether I’m going to beat my time till I’m less than five seconds away from it. I’ve lost all but one of my lives in the first five seconds and then gone further than I ever before, and been within seconds of my time with a full set of lives only to throw it away. Strong.


    John says: It is a VERY good job that I’m not in charge of time. That’s Angela Time, who’s in charge of time, as the great-great-great granddaughter of the inventor of time, Mary Time. She lives in a bunker in Athens, diligently pushing around the second hand of The Great Clock to which all other clocks are linked. (Angela has a habit of moving the clock too quickly when she’s enjoying herself.) But it’s not me, and Clock Simulator has revealed why.

    I practiced a bunch until I thought I’d got a grip on it, using my own patented technique that no one else has ever thought of of counting “One one thousand” as I clicked. It turns out all I learned to do was click when the line filled with colour in the practice mode. 31 seconds is, I’m sure, not going to be a winning score. But good grief, when I did it it felt like a bloody achievement, beyond my average of around 8. See, the problem is it’s possible to say “one one thousand” at all sorts of different speeds, and whoever thought that was a good way of counting seconds is an idiot. If anyone does better than 31 seconds, however, it proves they’re a robot, and RPS pays robots half.


    Pip says: Having realised I’d created an event entirely based on playing games I’m bad at I decided to cheat. But how? In this case it involved running the timer on my phone at the same time as the game and just clicking in time with the numbers. Apparently my phone understands time even less well than I do and all of my phone-based cheat scores were under 10 seconds.

    I would have to try and actually get good at the damn game.

    One thing which seemed to help was going to yoga. I became a counting machine! TICK! TOCK! TICK! TOCK! But I was then so surprised by doing well that I lost track and all of my five mistakes followed one after another.

    Back to the phone timer I went. I decided it would maybe be futile to expect my fingers to click in time with the actual seconds so I was sort of following the off-beat (story of my life). I’m really cross that it’s so hard to cheat at this game! I swear none of these sodding devices I own has reached a consensus about seconds yet. GET IT TOGETHER, DEVICES. I’m having to settle for a surprisingly not-unearned 33!


    Bonus info: Graham is a robot. Useful to know.

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    1. yogibbear says:

      Are RPS working on fixing the bug where if an articles comments spread to the 2nd page the second page is completely blank? Thanks ;)

    2. Didero says:

      Now I’m listening to jazz music. Thanks Graham, “Take Five” is always a joy to listen to!

    3. John Walker says:

      I was pushed into fourth place by Pip’s BLATANT CHEATING??!!?!

      Now I know how [not a Russian athlete] feels!

    4. Mi-24 says:

      BREAKING NEWS: The BBC has obtained evidence from an anonymous source on the interweb ( that GRAHAM had failed a blood test 3 years ago in which traces of alarm clocks, gears, dials and a large chunk of quartz were found in his blood. Putin has denied everything.

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      Dorga says:

      Clock Simulator, if you don’t like is just because you gotta Git Gud!!!
      p.s. Everybody knows that Alice is the only robot at castle Shotgun.

    6. Darth Gangrel says:

      The game doesn’t seem much fun, but it’s wonderful to read your reflections. I’ve learned so much today, including who the inventor of time is.

    7. Little_Crow says:

      2nd stab at this:

      I think this needs to follow ‘mates in a pub playing pool’ rules for cheating. Coughing, mooning, flashing, blowing in ears, nudging the table – this is all fair game.

      Pip’s cheating barely rates as a Trevor Chapell out of 10.

      Now if an autoclicker was employed to click every second and leave it going while you head off to the pub for a game of pool, that’s more like a Lance Armstrong out of 10.

    8. dystome says:

      I don’t have this but I just wrote a Clock Simulator simulator in Lua and assuming the maximum allowed inaccuracy is 0.1 of a second and we only bother trying for about five minutes, my score is 39.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      How can we be sure that these are Alice’s scores and not Cara trying to weasel her way back into the games after the scandal at the Film Flon RPS Games in ’89?

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      Skabooga says:

      Hey Adam, my postmodernist band is looking for a new percussionist, if you’re interested.

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      particlese says:

      All my money was on Alec being the robot in disguise. :(

    12. Niente says:

      Trevor Chappell is a cheating bastard.

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        kfix says:

        It was in the rules, mate, so *technically* it wasn’t cheating. Just arseholism. Also, build a bridge man it’s been a while…