For week 6’s lecture on ‘Amazing Economies,’ we had to play this game named AdVenture Capitalist in advance. I was curious to see what kind of games we were assigned to play and why, so I downloaded it and started to play. It is a little embarrassing to admit, but I got quite addicted to it… I played it in the hour before the lecture started, and as a result, continued to play it for days straight. The weekend after that week’s lecture, I went on a family trip and I still played the game whenever I had nothing to do. Why? I have no clue. The game itself is not that adventurous as it says, you basically only have to click every now and then. I would have never thought that such a simple game could be so addictive and would give me this urge to keep on playing. So, why is it so addictive? I will explain this further in my blog post!
AdVenture Capitalist: how to play
So, maybe it’s good to share how this free-to-play game AdVenture Capitalist works. It is a so-called ‘clicker game’ in which you click a button as fast as possible to earn something. In this case, you begin to click on a lemon stand to produce goods, then sell them and therefore earn money. With the money you earn from clicking, you can buy more and more lemon stands and therefore grow this business. The more you click, the more you grow. At a certain point, you are able to buy more expensive businesses that earn you more money per click. Eventually, you can also hire managers that will do the clicking for you, which makes it even easier to play the game and expand your empire of businesses. From a lemon stand to a whole oil company to eventually unlock the moon and also starting businesses there… The games’ only sake is to increase your number of money higher, having no particular end goal. It is a never-ending rabbit hole. AdVenture Capitalist is a simple and – dare I say it – stupid game. And even though I realized that I really couldn’t stop playing it…
Minimum effort, Maximum results!
Why is it addictive? For me, it was the fact that I saw constant progress. You get rewarded constantly, seeing the rising number and the ability to buy more and more things. Also, there is not a lot you need to know prior to playing the game. I could play it without any knowledge about what the best strategies are for investing and building up an empire of businesses. Thus, it is easy to handle and be good at. Additionally, the game is designed to play in the background. When you’re offline for a few hours and come back to the game, there immediately pops up a notification with the high number you have earned while being away. This way, the game tricks you into checking every so often how many decillions you have made while you were away and reinvest that into one of the businesses. One slogan that could describe this game is ‘minimal effort = maximum results’. There is very low effort involved in playing the game. You can brainlessly just click away and proceed further into the rabbit hole you created for yourself. Play it easily as a quick study break, while watching a series, or even before bed just to reach that 1 quattuordecillion before you really are going to sleep.
I even found this video from the Youtuber Tewtiy, who live-streamed playing the game for 1:14:34 straight. Which is, in my opinion, a long time to spend continuously on this brainless game. The video has unexpectedly a lot of views – 70.533 – and many people actively reacted while the live stream happened. While these people could also watch the video only because of the Youtuber itself, I think the video testifies the appeal and captivating nature AdVenturous Capitalist has.
My AdVenturous Experience
As I said before, I first thought the game wouldn’t be very exciting and certainly not as enticing as it is. However, it still has something that keeps you playing. There is something about seeing the number of money going up into these crazy high numbers. Quadrillions, septendecillion, quattuorvigintillion, octoquadragintillion, etc… I don’t even know exactly how much an octoquadragintillion is but I know it is a lot of money and I know I wanted more…
In the end, I am happy my boyfriend deleted the app after seeing me obsessing over this game for a few days. I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself – which says something on itself – but when the app was deleted it felt freeing. Luckily now I have beat that cycle of addictive capitalist consumerism through a really stupid little app. I think it is odd to know that such things can consume a lot of your time at all. Time is precious and I do not want to spend it thinking about whether I should invest my 2.3 duoquinquagintillion on my werewolves colonies or on the gravity booths I have on the moon…
One question for you guys: did you also play this game for the course? And if so, did you get addicted to it? I’d like to hear about your experiences!
These games used to feel this way for me too! However, a big turnoff on this game for me is that there is no payoff to anything you do. Other “idle” games such as this one let you build a supermarket or a university and you see something happen. In its core it is the same, all you do is click. But with this game that is all there is to it, there is nothing that changes except you can start over and get more money. That’s it. That is why I found the strength to delete this game, but not the others I mentioned. I still play those actively, and don’t get me started on those weekend events.
These kinds of games are all over the appstore. When I was younger I used to play games like Cow Evolution which is similar to AdVenture Captialist. you click on the cows to evolve them and each time you get a new bigger breed and eventually create “cow gods”. I spent the whole summer completing the game and even there is not necessarily a “payoff”, it was addicting to see just how much and how far I could get. Now looking back at it I realize I probably wasted way too much time on it but I do understand that it is very easy to get into the clicking routine and these games always pull you back in with the notifications of how much was collected while you were away from the app.
I also played the game for a while. Before I started playing it I expected it to be more strategic and based on the actual workings of capitalism, but it turned out that the only thing you had to do was clicking and waiting. Still I kept on playing it for a while. Like you described the game does show that you made progress, without requiring too much input, and I think this is what makes people keep playing these kinds of games. Not because they are so interesting, but because you are doing something, while at the same time not really doing anything at all, and we all need some brainless entertainment from time to time.
I have played the game extensively a couple of years ago and for a time longer than I am willing to admit and I totally understand the concept you are explaining. I think the big ‘problem’ with these idle games is that you are getting something out of it while doing nothing. You’re getting this small dopamine rush while you are not even doing anything.
I have also played the other version of Adventure Capitalist, Adventure Communist. And I think that even though the concept is the same, they made a small change and it got me hooked for another couple weeks. These games are really dangerous since they soak up so much time so fast it’s crazy.