Last updated on April 6, 2017
Use at least 1500 500 words to describe your favorite way(s) to waste time. Your time-waster cannot produce anything useful.
This one is a big challenge because it comes with a minimum word requirement instead of a maximum. I might just fail at this, only because I have a shit-ton of other things to do today besides this.
So, my biggest time-waster (that isn’t actually a time-waster, but kind of is) is clicker games.
I was playing one recently, Crank, that has no tutorial, no guide, and yet is a weirdly compelling story. You have to hold down the left mouse key to turn the crank in order to make power. With that power, you make scrap metal, and with the scrap metal, you can make more cranks, crankbots to crank for you, batteries to story your energy, and more and more complex things. You have to research your technologies and upgrade them accordingly, working towards maximum efficiency and energy production.
But, as you move around the (limited space) galaxy, you run into weird little fuzzy spots, and they have pieces of a message. You have to decrypt them – they come in a specific order – and then they tell a bit of backstory. You build up your tech to be able to decrypt, to beat the raiders and other enemies, and to destroy the station bases in each system. When you beat a system’s base station, you can set up a factory to make you more materials.
I had it kind of running in the background while I was doing other things, and I found that it actually improved my productivity. Well, having “fidget games” in general improves my focus, I think. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s working for me. I think I was playing it for a few weeks before I found the “final answer”, including restarting it at least once. I will probably play it again eventually.
This one is pretty popular, I think. ClickerHeroes is available in your browser (that’s where I play it), through Steam as a free game, and on your mobile device. For all that it refers to clicking, I tend to think the most effective way to play it is with an “idle-property build”.
So, you click on the monster to get gold. You buy Hero upgrades with the gold. The more gold you have, the more heroes you can buy and the more you can upgrade those heroes. The heroes also come with special powers that you purchase as they level up. Some improve your click damage, and some (most) improve your DPS.
You get a number of different ways to power up, too. You’ve got achievements for a wide variety of things, from number of monsters to amount of gold collected. You can purchase Ancients that grant you extra powers, like increasing DPS or gold when idle (no clicks for 60 seconds) or extending the time of activated click powers. Those special activated powers improve gold collection, critical hits, and overall damage. Then there are Relics which boost the powers of Ancients, even if you don’t have any. So, if I have a relic that gives me a boost to, say, the Ancient of Silver (10x gold drops), but I haven’t actually purchased that Ancient, the bonus still counts as though I do have it. You also get Mercenaries who do things like collect extra gold, collected extra rubies, or activate skills.
Your main purpose is to collect Hero Souls so that after you “Ascend” (restart the game), you are starting with extra boosts. You buy and power up the Ancients with Hero Souls as well, but that also takes away your overall damage when you spend those souls – it’s 10% for every soul you retain.
For all that it’s a game where you basically do absolutely nothing – there’s no skill, though maybe a little calculation – there’s a lot going on. There are different concepts for how to create your build (which Ancients to buy and power up, how best to advance your levels), and when you’ve reached the pinnacle of your accomplishment, you can do something called “Transcend”, which is an Ascension on steroids: It resets the ENTIRE game – so no Ancients, no Hero Souls, no Relics – except for your purchased auto-clickers and rubies, and you start over. Except this time, you have access to Transcendent Ancients and their powers, which are even more badass than the regular Ancients.
And then there’s the puns.