This is not a game; it's a comment on incremental games and their symbolism. This also is not a game because incremental games do not fit the definition of what a game is. They do not require any skills. There is barely any story. You do not have an opponent. You just click repeatedly. Even its authors admit that these are not real games.
This is not a game in a way that Magritte's pipe was not a pipe. Ce n'est pas une pipe was meant to expose a painting as a medium in itself. And let the viewer see through it. In our work, we want to expose certain types of games and show what they do to us. And last but not least, our project might look like a game, but besides being a comment, it's rather a tool or a door to understanding the hidden mechanisms that move us and make us subconsciously want to buy more and more.
One of the first games of the kind was created in 2013 as a joke. In early August, an avant-garde game developer, Orteil (Julien Thiennot), released his latest prototype online – Cookie Clicker. The idea was to deconstruct an idea of a "game" to its basic elements, like clicking. The success of Cookie Clicker exceeded the author's expectations (if he had any) and allowed him to open a new studio focusing on other types of experimental prototypes. This seems to be the only benefit that Cookie Clicker has brought to the world. Nine years later, you can go to your app store and immediately bump into one of the thousands of mutations of Cookie Clicker. Incremental games, which are extremely popular and extremely simple (and mostly mobile), aim to make you gather points for doing nothing more than clicking.
That's it. The simple pleasure of accumulation is based on the stimulation of our inner reward system. But is the player something more than a subject, an object or a lab rat connected to a very simple reward system? You feel good every time you get a new point. Want to feel better? Pay 0,99 Euros; you'll get more dopamine instantly. Come on... It's almost free...
Incremental NOT-A-GAME is a meta-game that would fit a definition of an incremental game – but with a deeper meaning. The scenario is simple. We explain to the player what exactly happens in every moment they play with the use of behavioural theories. We encourage a player to reflect not only on the mechanism of the game but to go further, think about the economic system they live in, and focus more on conscious consumption. We'll do that with the narrative layer of the game. The deeper in the game, the more complex explanations will get. They'll expose and deconstruct the mechanisms of modern marketing and capitalism itself. There is no final reward but an offer of a "way out" of the game: a "win the lottery" button that floods a gamer with points so that further playing would be... pointless – the "currency" is devalued and cause the stimulation of the reward system to stop. Also, there are no options to buy additional points with real money.
The game will be available in online game stores, such as the App Store or Google Play. Never before has a critical game of this kind been exhibited there. We do not want to cheat anyone, we will not hide our goals in the title and the description of the game, but the recipients must interact with it in a space reserved for ordinary games and applications. Thanks to that, our work will be able to provide an authentic experience.