Dear Jason Tanz,
Your article made me think about my old roommate who used to constantly, endlessly, play mindless games like the cow clicker. I would often spend time watching him play the games, silently judging him, and secretly being fascinated at how one could find these sorts of asinine activities entertaining. Then the unthinkable happened. While writing a college paper, I opened up one of these games and started playing myself. Seconds, minutes, and maybe not hours, but a single hour, passed before I realized I too had been sucked into the never ending abyss of clicking games.
What made these games so appealing however was something that was touched upon in your article; Finding strategy, and even meaning, in a game that clearly was created without the intention of there ever being one. How else could you explain why certain users were consistently ranked at the top, while others were left floundering in the bottom? On a personal level, this became the driving force behind the mindless clicking games I played; a competitive spirit to be better at something than most. While this competitive spirit could (and thankfully has) been put to better uses, I think it’s an interesting idea to consider nonetheless.
What I found most interesting about your article however, was the introspective look into the psychology of clicker games. Users found all sorts of meaning in the cow clicker game, anything that ranged from psychological to existential to social. The idea that meaning is imbued by humans into something that appears to be utterly meaningless is a notion that can be endlessly explored, which was why perhaps the cow clicker was something that went from being a joke to an intriguing case study that we are still talking about.