FYI free clicker game AdVenture Capitalist is still a going concern, so I took a look at it and OH NO


Three years ago, I was consumed by – I don’t say this lightly – an addiction to AdVenture Capitalist, one of those clicker aka idle games that briefly ate all our minds. After a few months watching static backdrops generate pretend money when I should have been earning real money, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and ejected in self-disgust.

I figured the same, eventually, would have been true of anyone who let this outwardly jaunty poison into their veins, and that AdVenture Capitalist’s 2015 boom would have long ago turned to bust. Friends, the virus still lives. Not only that, but I believe it thrives.

The AdVenture Capitalist of 2018 is a different beast to the Adventure Capitalist of 2015. For all the horror of how deeply it got its hooks into anyone unwise enough to sample its illusory accomplishments, AdCap was surprisingly restrained in terms of upselling shortcuts and speed-ups. There was always an option to buy profit multipliers, but it never had the same pull as waiting for a production upgrade button to illuminate once you had enough in-game spondoolies.


Now though, hoo boy. There’s a whole raft of paid profit and speed multipliers to be had, plus a new-ish system whereby certain achievements earn in-game ‘gold’ that can be spent on said multipliers. Naturally, you never generate enough of this to buy anything useful, so the siren call of spending real monies becomes unignorable very quickly. There are event slot machines that dole you out apparently random rewards which are, quite by chance, always the smallest possible outcome.

Also new are outfits. Outfits for your completely static avatar who is almost exclusively seen as a tiny, frozen headshot at the top-left of the screen. But this is AdVenture Capitalist, so outfits are not adornments but rather number multipliers in their own right. Unlock new outfits! Monocles, jackets and trousers! Unlock different ones for the three different planets you run your spectral empire from! Never stop buying! OBEY.

What really caught my eye is that AdCap is still putting out regular updates and in-game events. A big patch with the outfits landed in May, and tomorrow the next limited-time event, with EXCLUSIVE upgrades and UNLOCKS and EPHEMERAL MEANINGLESS NUMBERS, kicks off. Which puts paid to the idea that this monstrous thing had quietly gone away.


It also put paid to the idea that I am above such things now. Reader, I played it. I played it hard. Writing this piece is perdition for me, acknowledging my shame in order that I can move past it. I thiiink it’s working?

Not everyone has that luxury. According to Steam Charts – which uses Steam’s own stats data to document how many people are playing a given game at a given time – AdCap’s player base has remained remarkably steady over the past 18 months. It’s declining, for sure, and its current peak concurrent players of between 2500-3000 are a long way off the 22,000 heyday of May 2015. But, give or take a few hundred concurrent players depending on the month, it’s very much keeping on keeping on.


I’m worried that these are exactly the same people, still playing this manipulative thing three years on. And look at Steam Ladder, which chronicles who’s played a given game for longest. Even if we take out what could well be either bots or people who forgot to turn their PCs off for six months, there’s a sizeable number of people who’ve clocked up the best part of 10,000 hours on this thing. How has the AdVenture Capitalist spell not broken for them?

My new goal in life is to speak to one of them. Watch this space.

And, for the love of God, don’t take this a prompt to play AdVenture Capitalist.


  1. StevieW says:

    I revisited it on mobile a month back – only managed to force myself to uninstall in last week.

    Thanks for reminding me….

  2. Krondon57 says:

    My friend plays this a lot on steam…

  3. Faldrath says:

    I have the same completely-healthy-btw relation with Cookie Clicker. The farming update nearly killed me, but I managed to run away in time.

    … I still check orteil’s tumblr every week looking for new updates :(

  4. DrJ3RK says:

    There is only ONE acceptable clicking game in existence. If you haven’t played “Universal Paperclips” through to the end, you haven’t lived. I’m 100% serious in writing this. It took me by surprise one day, and it’s basically all I did for about 2-3 days. Highly recommended.

  5. miguelyoung says:

    Clicker Heroes 2 is coming sometime during 2018

  6. Mostquito says:

    I could break the spell of Adventure Capitalist by changing the time of my android phone. I travelled back to 1987.01.01. and travelled forward to 2033.12.31. a few (many) times, and gained sums for 49 years of playing, but while it raised the level of my shops significantly, there was still no end in sight.
    So whoever playing it, will never had enough time to finish it. EVER!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That’s because you’re just moving time, not doing anything. And it’s the upgrades you buy that make the difference. For reference: I’ve finished it. As in, got all the achievements. And I’ve played about 9250 hours. I’m sure true minmaxers can do it faster, even.

      Edit: Oh, and without spending a penny.

    • KDR_11k says:

      It kinda ends when you don’t get any upgrades anymore.
      Since upgrades are exponential you won’t gain too much by advancing time though.

  7. Mahaku says:

    I have beaten all planets, so what shall I say… felt extremely accomplished!

  8. Sian says:

    I’m having a hard time understand the allure of games like this. I’ve tried about three clickers in my life and found them to be very, very dull.

    I guess it’s just one of these psychological quirks that some people enjoy rising numbers enough to spend countless hours on these games while others can’t fathom why anyone would do that.

  9. J Arcane says:

    The existence of monetized clicker games is further clinching proof that irony is officially dead.

  10. Jaeja says:

    Y’all should check out Realm Grinder while you’re in the area :)

    [edit] Also, as a general note, binding mousewheel-down to left-click within certain windows is a thing you can do with the right tools.

  11. Joshua2112 says:

    I spent about a hundred hours on this game a couple years ago. I’m not proud of that, but I can say that I successfully escaped from it.

  12. OmgBiscuitsNomNom says:

    “My new goal in life is to speak to one of them. Watch this space.”

    Do eet. For sayens! You have my moral support!

  13. welverin says:

    “idle games that briefly ate all our minds. ”

    Don’t project your foibles on to the rest of us!

  14. Danda says:

    Never try a clicker game. It’s a dangerous addiction with diminishing returns. I’ve spend 4300 hours with Clicker Heroes (and I’m nowhere close to get all the achievements and be done with it) and 4000 hours with Time Clicker. The most benign example is Loot Box Quest, which is a good-spirited parody that you can finish in three hours, but it’s not really worth it either.

    Don’t ever try them. Don’t. Just don’t.

  15. Someoldguy says:

    I dip into it now and then but never spend money. It fills an hour or two that I could spend marginally more profitably playing minesweeper, patience or bridge, but I don’t see that as especially poisonous. Getting sucked into needing to play it daily, now that’s the disease.

  16. JagdFlanker says:

    tried this on my phone a while back but had to uninstall it within a couple days because it harasses the CRAP out of you with messages constantly to go back into the game

    best tap game is Abyssrium because collecting fish is wicked fun

  17. racccoon says:

    I got so far in this game I couldn’t bare to watch it any more due to knowing there are some people out there who see these figures roll in real life, just how boring is that and how boring they’ve become, so I stopped. lol

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