Video games I don’t understand

I don’t play video games much and so hesitate to pass judgment on them. But Stephen Colbert describes a new video game that is entering the market that is expected to make the person whose name it uses a bundle of money and for the life of me I cannot see why anyone would want to play it.

The Colbert Report
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(This clip aired on July 23, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. moarscienceplz says

    Uhh, i thought the Kim Kardashian route to A-list celebrity begins with being the daughter of an attorney who is friends with a monster who brutally murders his spouse.

  2. jonmoles says

    It’s not just you Mano, I also cannot fathom why anyone would want to play this game, but then I don’t understand why she’s a “celebrity” in the first place.

  3. Joe Blow says

    I think it was H L Mencken who said nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.

  4. dale2x says

    Dr. Singham:
    How come you have all this time to write all these blogs and web journals, watch Steven Colbert, and keep up with Kim Kardashian, but you never have any time to come to one of the Freethinkers Meetup events, just as a regular member, rather than the occasional guest of honor?

  5. Mano Singham says


    The reason is that I am not a very sociable person, preferring to spend as much time as possible on my own reading and writing. I find the company of others, even those I like, exhausting and do as little of it as possible without being seen as rude or becoming an outright hermit.

    My work day involves meeting with others and so I recharge my ‘isolation batteries’ in the evenings and on weekends.

    One symptom of my attitude is that I really like it when I have to drive long distances alone in my car. For me, that is bliss.

  6. says

    It’s a pure Skinner box setup. It’s similar to the reward scheme setup used by MMORPGs. That said, most MMORPGs at least give you the payoff of participating in large, social battles (bosses that take 5-25 — or more — players to kill, or large player vs. player pitched battles)*. This is a pure cash grab.

    I can understand the attraction to play the games. All you have to do is keep tapping and eventually you’ll get a reward. Initially it’s a very short time investment for a quick payoff. As the time between payoffs increases (after you’ve been hooked), you can shortcut the process with money. Cookie Clicker is a much better version of the concept; rather than cash to shortcut, a simple java script (and a “mark of shame” achievement) is all you need to shortcut the process. And Cookie Clicker has a darkly humorous endgame, where all the grandmas you’ve hired to bake cookies achieve a sort of mass supersentience.

    *This is not to say that all people should enjoy these types of games. Just that, for those people that do, MMORPGs offer that payoff.

  7. Mano Singham says


    Thanks for this information. I now have a better understanding of how seemingly pointless games make money.

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