Welcome to our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans, nagging questions, and whatever else we feel like talking about. No matter what the topic, we invite everyone in the comments to tell us: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
The first thing you do is punch a wall. Well, technically you use the cursor to click on a wall icon, but it’s important to get into the spirit of Wall Destroyer, a game where the point is right there in the title. The series of walls is surprisingly deep, and you need to destroy them one by one. You start with your fists, and each punch generates money as well as damage to the wall. With that money, you can buy tools to do your punching for you. The more walls you destroy, the more damage it takes to destroy a new one; the more tools you have, the more options you get to upgrade those tools.
I’m not sure when I first discovered incremental clicker games—systems where you manage resources to work faster to get more resources. Maybe it was Candy Box, that brief ASCII sensation of delayed gratification and lollipops. Then I went on to A Dark Room, which married the click-and-profit concept to an engaging (and difficult) role-playing scenario. There was Sandcastle Builder, which matched so many intricate, mirrored systems to one another that I eventually had to admit defeat or risk the loss of my sanity. Finally, there was Cookie Clicker, maybe the granddaddy of them all, with its increasingly psychotic grandmothers and goofy Lovecraftian undertones.
These games are all rich, vital experiences compared to Wall Destroyer, which really never goes beyond what was described above. You buy stuff, you click, and you wait. The only real strategy is deciding what to buy when—do I get the cheaper tools, or do I save up for something expensive that will do exponentially more damage—and figuring out the best times to hit the reset button for added rewards. Even that’s more or less a distraction. Provided you buy something, the game will eventually finish itself. All you can really do is increase the tempo.
I have been playing Wall Destroyer for months now. It’s something easy to keep running on my browser while I do other work. I occasionally check to see how high the numbers have gotten, and if I can, I make a few purchases to speed things up. The best part is when I can save up to get a massive upgrade; it’s a payoff where literally the only skill involved is patience, and yet I still get a charge out of it.
In a weird way, it reminds me of opening the doors on the advent calendar when I was a kid. There was even less skill involved in that (unless we count the effort I put in trying to convince my mom it was my turn to open, not my sister’s), but the delayed gratification was, in its way, just as satisfying. Advent calendars help kids pass the time until Christmas, and Wall Destroyer accomplishes more or less the same thing for me now. I’m not waiting for any particular day, but something about knowing when I go into work, I’ll be able to break this wall or earn this trophy gives me that much more reason to get out of bed.
The novelty has long since worn off, though, and I find myself looking forward to the point when I’ll finally have seen all the game has to offer. That’s maybe the only thing to keep this from being depressing. It would be easy to sink into the routine and forget there’s an end goal; the danger of incremental games is that they can become self-perpetuating, something less about engaging with a system then being trapped inside it. But for now at least, I’ll punch the wall for as long as I need to, and then I’ll move on.