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?
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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.