"You feel like making cookies. But nobody wants to eat your cookies."
—The first message you'll see until you reach the first cookie milestone.
Cookie Clicker is an Idle Game created by one Orteil as part of his many experimental games. It was originally launched on August 10, 2013. The goal of the game is simple; You start out with the clickable cookie itself. One click from it produces one cookie. Once you've accumulated enough cookies you'll be able to purchase upgrades so you'll be able to produce even more cookies faster. Soon you won't even need to click the cookie manually as your upgrades will be doing the job for you. Then things gradually get weirder and weirder from there as things such as an army of cookie baking grandmas, mining cookie ingredients from cookie mines, sending out an armada of spacecraft to the cookie planet, opening portals to the Cookieverse and summoning Eldritch Abominations to bake even more cookies for you, travel through time and space to steal cookies from the past and even the Elder Gods coming to you demanding a tribute of cookies from you lest you incur their wrath.You can find the old version here. Has a wiki here and an official forum here.
Cookie Clicker contains examples of:
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The prices are pretty low at the start of the game. There are minor increases whenever you buy more of each building, but nothing too major. But then it gets to where the increases are jumps of hundreds of millions of cookies at a time. To put this in perspective, the first Cursor (the most basic purchase) costs 15 cookies. The first Antimatter Condenser (the most expensive) costs just under 4 billion cookies. The 100th costs about 4.1 quadrillionnote 4,084,568,523,153,774 to be exact cookies.
In this game, you can turn gold into cookies. The reverse is also possible, but since gold is considered "useless" compared with cookies it isn't considered a valuable development.
After you buy the alchemy lab, status may state that silver has been found to be turnable into white chocolate.
And Ninety Nine Cents: Every upgrade named after a type of cookie is priced at (x * 10^n) - 1 for some integers x and n, starting at 99,999,999 and currently ending at 199,999,999,999,999 (that's (2 * 10^14) - 1) for the French cookies.
v1.0375 introduces Girl Scout cookies which buff your rate by +25%...at the fine price of 1 quadrillion minus one per flavor.
Antimatter Condensers start at 3,999,999,999 cookies.
Anthropomorphic Food: Soon, your cookies will come to life and think. We later see them in the dungeons, fully playing this trope straight.
Anti-Poop Socking : The final cookie milestone message you get is "It's time to stop playing" at 10 billion cookies (although you're hardly likely to stop playing as you actually still have a lot of achievements and upgrades left to complete at that point), and some of the achievements' descriptions make pointed comments on how long you must have been playing the game to obtain them such as "You can stop now" for 100 billion total cookies baked and "You should really go to bed" for the Fortune achievement (77 golden cookies clicked, which you must be constantly watching the game screen to catch in time).
Inverted in the late game, in which by far the most efficient way to earn cookies is to chain together bonuses from golden cookies. While the player is able to just leave the game running through the mid-game, the only way to get the final upgrades in a reasonable amount of time is through active play.
By the way of the cookie achievements, they've been made harder recently. Last CPS achievement used to be at 1 billion, now it's at 1 trillion, while "You can stop now" is now at 10 trillion cookies. If you already got them, you're fine, though.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When the grandmatriarchs first awaken, they will start breaking into houses to abduct infants and cooking utensils.
Artifact Title: A common joke in the fandom being that a more appropriate title would be "Cookie Waiter" since clicking does virtually nothing in the endgame (without receiving the very rare "clicking frenzy" effect from a golden cookie). About to be taken Up to Eleven with the addition of dungeons; no clicking on cookies at all there.
Awesome yet Practical: Golden cookie upgrades allow for bonuses to overlap, which due to the stacking mechanics can eventually far surpass any other source of cookies. For instance, the common 'Frenzy' result temporarily multiples overall cookies per second by 7, and with the upgrades that apply a percentage of CpS to cookies per click, that also effectively multiplies the effectiveness of each click by 7. With all three upgrades in place, it's possible for the (much rarer) 'Clicking Frenzy' to activate while the frenzy is still active, which can result in several hours worth of cookies at once with a little luck or enough persistence.note Clicking Frenzy multiplies cookies per click by 777, and with the 'Unobtainium Mouse' upgrade the base clicking power is just slightly over 5% of CpS, or 35% of a "normal" (without the frenzy bonus) second of production, which means that while frenzy and clicking frenzy are both active, each click produces about 270 seconds worth of cookies. Beyond that, things depend on how fast you can click, but even at the low end (using a single mouse with no trackpad or keyboard macros) and a modest estimate of 5 clicks per second for 25 seconds, the end result is about 9 hours worth of cookies.
Bad Future: One of the ticker announcements implies this:
"I have seen the future," says time machine operator, "and I do not wish to go there again."
Many of the ticker updates starting in the midgame, especially regarding portals and the Cookieverse.
Many of the upgrades. Child labor? Fair game! Transmuted grandmas? What, you thought they'd help you run the alchemy labs? Nope - they get converted into more cookies according to the Flavor Text.
Bland-Name Product: The Girl Scout cookies in v1.0375, and the four cookies added in v1.038.
Blatant Lies: What are the Underworld Ovens and other eldritch devices you unlock powered by? "Science, of course!"
Body Horror: As of V1.031, portal grandmas are twisted flesh with glowing eyes and gaping mouths.
The Grandmatriarchs will slowly mutate and fuse into a twisted mass of flesh◊ in the background the longer you ignore them. The only way to stop this is to make an Elder Pledge which increases in cost each time or with an Elder Covenant which stops this from ever happening again but at a great cost.
Also in the headlines once you get a time machine, as various historical figures will transform into masses of cookie dough.
Crumb has pieces of cookie fused to her head.
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The "British Tea Biscuit series" cookie upgrades in the endgame, each one requiring the last one to be purchased in order to unlock. The sequence is as follows; British tea biscuits, Chocolate British Tea Biscuits, Round British Tea Biscuits, Round Chocolate British Tea Biscuits, Round British Tea Biscuits with Heart Motif, and finally, Round Chocolate British Tea Biscuits with Heart Motif.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The "Dunk the Cookie" achievement. To get it, you must get enough other achievements to reach a certain milk percentage, then resize the window or zoom in until the cookie ends up in the milk.
Can't Catch Up: New types of cookie generators tend to completely overwhelm every previous generator. Grandmas and Cursors get numerous stacking upgrades to make up for this, but even with every upgrade, Antimatter Condensers will always produce five times as many cookies as the rest of your production line put together. Only the "Thousand Fingers" series of upgrades allows those early buildings to retain any relevance at all once you can start to afford the later buildings.
Cassandra Truth: One of the news ticker feeds reports about a scientist who becomes a laughingstock among his peers for predicting a cookie-related end of the world. Cue the Grandmapocalypse, accompanied by feeds reporting on The End of the World as We Know It...
News: scientist predicts imminent cookie-related "end of the world"; becomes joke among peers.
Content Warnings: The flavor text for the One Mind upgrade gives you red warning text, and attempting to purchase it gives you a warning dialog box asking if you want to purchase it. Both warnings are perfectlyjustified.
Cool Gate: The portal◊; one of the high-tier upgrades you can purchase. It will open a path to the Cookieverse and unlock the Altered Grandma◊. Side effects include the Elder Gods nagging and tormenting you periodically for a cookie pledge.
Cool Old Lady: Considering the majority of your workforce are comprised of elderly women. Doing everything including the mass production of cookies, interplanetary and extradimensional trade, mining, farming, alchemy and even time travel theft, they've proven their coolness 10 times over.
Cursed with Awesome: The "evil" wrinklers in the 1.039 Halloween update, which appear during the Grandmapocalypse. They decrease your cookies per second by 5% each, and up to ten of them can leech your cookies. However, simply clicking them three times removes them, giving you back 110% of the cookies they took. And each one collects at the total leech rate, even though they each only take 5%—having ten of them acts like a 6.5x cookie rate multiplier. And this makes most of your cookies immune to Ruin. The only real downside is that the extra cookies aren't saved until you pop the wrinklers, so you might lose them if you accidentally close the browser tab.
Cute Kitten: The Kitten Helpers, Workers, Engineers, and Overseers. They're even said to walk around with tiny hardhats and adorable little suits outside the factories.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: There's a shadow achievement for getting to a million cookies without ever clicking on the cookie, which requires careful use of certain Golden Cookies - or good old-fashioned cheating, which is also a shadow achievement.
Diminishing Returns for Balance: Big time. The cost of each building is multiplied each time you purchase one of its kind. This multiplication is cumulative; your 100th cursor costs several orders of magnitude more than, say, the 50th.
Dying Like Animals: The media downplays, dismisses and denies the scale of tragedies that grow with the sophistication of cookie technology. The magnitude of PR spin and cover-up wouldn't be possible if the population wasn't so enamored of their continued cookie consumption as to tolerate the loss of entire towns to mine collapses, portal mishaps, black holes, etc.
After buying 15 portals, you can upgrade your Grandmas to include Altered Grandmas◊. And if you trigger the Grandmapocalypse, there are the Grandmatriarchs, who get more and more grotesque as you buy more Bingo Center upgrades and are described as being wrinkled, fleshy monsters with tendrils large enough to engulf cities and scar entire continents. They also ooze warm sugary liquid.
In Cookie Clicker Classic, the first kind you'll be encountering are these things once you've purchased your first Portal. They will join your workforce of Grandmas in random amounts. The second one you'll encounter once you've made a lot of cookies are the Elder Gods that will appear in the background as shivering and flashing faces. They will continue to torment you with their seizure enducing effect until you pay tribute to them in cookies. In return they'll boost your Grandmas production speed. They'll be back eventually demanding an even larger amount of cookies next time.
Endless Game: There's no way to "win" the game, and one can continue playing indefinitely, building more and more buildings and earning more and more cookies.
The End of the World as We Know It: The result of the later stages of the Grandmapocalypse, accompanied by such reports as "all hope lost as writhing mass of flesh and dough engulfs whole city!"
Evil Matriarch: Evil Grandmatriarchs are explicitly referenced. The flavor text for the Antigrandmas also calls them mean.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The name of the game itself. Of course, once a player gains enough income per second, clicking becomes optional (though certain Golden Cookie and Red Cookie bonuses highly encourage it).
From Nobody to Nightmare: You go from being some poor schmuck who can't even bake an appealing cookie, to a force that can compete with the Elder Gods and has dominated the entirety of the universe, having a massive stake on many others as well, all through the powers of cookies so delicious even the aforementioned Elder Gods can be appeased with them.
Genki Girl: Lucky, one of the girl scouts that explores the dungeons.
Global Currency: Cookies, besides being used in practically everything, are also used as a form of currency though not everyone agrees, especially the factory workers which were replaced by robots later on.
News Feed: Cookie factories on strike — Workers demand to stop being paid in cookies!
Golden Super Mode: The Transmuted Grandmas◊ are basically golden super versions of the classic Grandmas. Additionally, the third most powerful upgrades for each building are represented by gold versions of the building's icon. (The more powerful ones are pink and cyan, for some reason.)
"The universe has turned into cookie dough, to the molecular level."
Grows on Trees: Besides mining cookies from the ground, you can also "grow" cookies from a cookie plant via cookie farms◊note which was introduced in v1.0. Not exactly a tree per se initially though you will eventually have actual cookie bearing trees once the Cookie Trees upgrade has been unlocked.
Guide Dang It: The "Neverclick" secret acheievements (one of which became a regular achievement as of version 1.0375), which probably became Lost Forever (until you start a New Game+) less than a minute after you started playing.
Holiday Mode: The "Wrinklers" which start appearing in late October, complete with Halloween-themed upgrades and achievements, and the pumpkin face on the red cookie.
Idle Game: Except for the clickable "Golden Cookies" that appear occasionally, there isn't much to do other than wait until you have enough cookies for the next upgrade. Manually clicking the cookie becomes virtually pointless after a while.
Formerly, the Kitten Workers and Engineers upgrades, which increased cookie output exponentially as the player neared 100% Completion, and both required an insane number of cookies to purchase. Their effects have since been nerfed, however; they still help immensely, but they're not as much of a Game Breaker now. The subsequently added Kitten Overseers, however, still come close if not outright qualifying.
The Quintillion Fingers upgrade in more recent versions. You have to spend trillions upon trillions to gather enough cursors to unlock it, but from how many buildings you'll undoubtedly have by then, it's definitely worth it.
Now the Sextillion Fingers upgrade has been added. But admittedly since you need 240 cursors to get it then it becomes more Awesome but Impractical.
Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Coupled with Adam Smith Hates Your Guts above, you can sell buildings, for 50% of the cost of purchasing the next building.note This translates to selling units for 57.5% of what you paid for them.
Kill Screen: As of version 1.036, the game will glitch out when it tries to display your number of cookies in scientific notationnote Which happens at 1 sextillion, i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, Orteil has promised to work on fixing that eventually, but doesn't consider it a high priority since most, if not all, cases of this so far were due to save editing. In the meantime one can always soft-reset to keep your achievements while reducing the number of cookies the game has to deal with.
Last Lousy Point: The Sextillion Fingers upgrade in 1.0375. It's functionally the same as the Quintillion Fingers upgrade, but it doesn't unlock until you've bought 240 cursors. This ends up being nearly as expensive as 100 Antimatter Condensers. It's not really necessary either, as the biggest upgrade-related achievement can be earned well before it's available to be purchased. It's just there to give those who want to buy everything one more thing to buy. Lessened in 1.0383, which doubled the effectiveness of the upgrade.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Once the player gets the "Base 10" achievement which requires following a specific numerical pattern when buying buildings, one of the possible news ticker items refers to a cookie manufacturer - clearly the player - abandoning common sense and letting OCD govern their building decisions. There's also a news ticker item that talks about the "Riches To Rags story about a local cookie manufacturer who decided to give it all up" that appears only after you've reset the game (and forfeited your current cookie stash in the process) at least once.
Lensman Arms Race: Each building produces several times more cookies than its predecessor. 100 cookie farms full upgraded will net you 8,000 cookies per second. 100 Factories fully upgraded will net you 22,400 cookies per second. Just one Antimatter condenser will net you 999,999 cookies per second before upgrades. The only building types that scale reasonably are Grandmas, because they have 17 upgrades, and clickers, because they have 9 upgrades which are based on the number of buildings you have and CpS.
Lethal Chef: Very early in the game, besides the message that no one wants to eat your cookies, you can get one saying you threw your first batch of cookies away and even the raccoon wouldn't eat it.
Level Ate: Play the game long enough and you will eventually turn everything in the game's universe into cookies and any conceivable concept will always be about cookies in one way or another. From culture and lifestyle down to the molecular level.
Low Level Run: A hidden achievement for a Challenge Gamer is to reach one billion cookies without buying any upgrades at all. Requires a ton of patience and a ton of luck with Golden Cookies. Previous versions made it easier with a large New Game+ modifier, before the bonuses get locked in an upgrade.
Luck-Based Mission: Speed Baking runs, especially the 25 (II) and most definitely the 15 minute (III) runs. If your first Golden Cookie is not a Frenzy and/or you don't get a Click Frenzy within your first two Golden Cookies, then Speed Baking III is likely out of the question.
Played straight with the shadow achievement "Just plain lucky", which is awarded to the player for free. The catch is that you have 1 chance in 500,000 to get this achievement every second, meaning there's absolutely no way of getting it other than being lucky.
The regular achievement "Spooky Cookies" also qualifies. To get it, you have to purchase all seven of the Halloween Cookies. To even unlock them, you have to initiate the Grandmapocalypse, and destroy the "wrinklers" that come to sap your CpS. Problem is that you only have a 1 in 20 chance of unlocking a Halloween Cookie. And then it has a 1 in 7 chance of unlocking any given one. Should the 1-in-7 chance pop up with one of the Halloween Cookies you've already unlocked? No unlock for you this click.
Lucky Seven: Most things relative to Golden Cookies involves numbers with several 7s in sequence. In contrast, the Red Cookies involve 6s in sequence.
The autocursors. They click once every 10 seconds. That's .1 cookie a second per cursor. Sure, they can eventually be upgraded to produce more, but every building you have can do that... except the upgrades the autocursors get aren't simple matters of doubling the amount they produce, but rather giving them extra CPS based on other factors like a percentage of the base CPS or a set amount for every non-autocursor building you have.
Grandmas also have this as they have the most upgrades in the game. Further, with the later upgrades from the Bingo Hall / Research Facility, their base production rate increases as you purchase more Grandmas, producing quadratic returns to scale, which no other unit can boast.
The "Lucky" bonus from the Golden Cookie exhibits this. For most of the game, it is generally outclassed by "Frenzy", since upgrades and buildings are cheap enough that it's generally most efficient to spend cookies as soon as you get them. Only the very latest stages, when upgrades are hundreds of trillions of cookies and one's bank will likely be similarly large, does the Lucky bonus begin to occasionally outstrip the temporary income bonus that Frenzy provides.note For the math involved: the Lucky bonus gives the lesser of 1200 times the current CpS or 10% of one's current cookie bank, while Frenzy multiples CpS by 7 for 77 seconds, for a net gain of 462 times the CpS. What that means is that Lucky produces more than Frenzy only when the cookie bank is at least 4620 times greater than the CpS. Frenzy is therefore always better until the point at which it's worthwhile to accumulate more than 77 minutes worth of cookies before spending anything. Plus, with all the Golden Cookie upgrades, it's possible for them to overlap: you can get "Lucky" during a "Frenzy." If you have a big enough stockpile of cookies, you can get 7 times more cookies than the normal "Lucky" limit.
Meat Moss: The ultimate form of the Grandmatriarchs has them fusing into horrid fleshy monstrosities that cover the earth in their meat, which produces not slime, but sugar and cookie dough.
Monty Haul: Pretty much the point of the game. You spend cookies to buy things that make more cookies that you then spend to buy things that make even more cookies.
Mundane Utility: Time machines and antimatter generators are used to acquire cookies, of all things.
Nerf: As the game is still in development, various options are still being tweaked. One of the more prominent nerfs involve Heavenly Chips, the reward for starting a New Game+ after producing at least a trillion cookies. Originally giving a +5% production bonus for each Chip, they've been downgraded to +2%, and Orteil has discussed a further reduction to +1% in the future. In version 1.0383, they were nerfed in the early game, by requiring upgrades to unlock their use. Inverted when new upgrades are rolled out, as well as a flat increase on base farm production as of version 1.0375.
New Game+: Added as of v.1.035 via the prestige mechanic. Resetting your game gives you heavenly chips depending on how many cookies you baked in previous games. These chips give a significant boost to CpS, although you have to purchase heavenly upgrades to unlock their potential. Note that, as of version 1.0383, the heavenly upgrades prevent you from obtaining the speed baking and hardcore achievements.
No Fair Cheating: Averted; there's even a shadow achievement for using a certain tricky method to directly modify the number of cookies on hand. The text does discourage it, though.
Number of the Beast: There is a liberal use of sixes in certain items, such as the portals and their upgrades. A possible outcome of clicking a Blood Cookie is a cookie production multiplier of exactly 666.
Noodle Implements: The Elder Pledge is apparently a ritual involving anti-aging cream, cookie batter mixed in the moonlight, and a live chicken. The Elder Covenant, similarly, involves cursed laxatives, century-old cacao beans, and an infant.
The news crawl refers at one point to a 'misguided' woman who seems to be the only person with the common sense to question why, exactly, they need particle accelerators to bake cookies. Another mentions a "confused idiot" who points out the suspiciousness of the world's obsession with cookies.
Crumb is far more down-to-earth than the other girl scouts.
Obvious Rule Patch: The Speed Baking and Hardcore Baking shadow achievements could originally be obtained very easily with enough Heavenly Chips, until the heavenly chip mechanic was tweaked to only activate after purchasing specific upgrades and the entire speed baking series was tweaked to specifically require not having any of those upgrades.
Pinball Scoring: Some of the achievements require you to bake quadrillions of cookies. To unlock everything this game has to offer, you will have to bake orders of magnitude more than that.
Poison Mushroom: Two possible Red Cookie outcomes during the Grandmapocalypse either reduces all of your cookies by 5% or reduces your production rate by 50% for 66 seconds note the latter of which can be nullified by refreshing the page.
Power Glows: As of the 1.0383 update, a golden cookie that improves CpS causes the frame with the big cookie to glow golden. Inverted with the negative effect "Clot," which halves production and makes it glow red.
The description of the "Antimony" upgrade, which doubles the output of alchemy labs: "Actually worth a lot of mony."
The flavor text of the Kitten Helpers and Kitten Overseers: "meow may I help you" and "my purrpose is to serve you, sir", respectively.
Random Effect Spell: The Red Cookies that begin appearing when you trigger the Grandmapocalypse. Clicking on them has a good chance of giving you a negative effect, such as losing 5% of your banked cookies or halving your cookie production rate for a while, but they can also give you the same "Lucky" effect that Golden Cookies do, a slightly better probability of receiving the "Cookie Chain" and "Clicking Frenzy" effects, or a rare "Elder Frenzy" buff that vastly outstrips every single other cookie effect in the game.
Randomly Drops: Each Wrinkler has a 5% chance of dropping one of the seven Halloween cookie types, chosen with uniform probability. If they drop a type you already have, nothing happens. This is really noticeable when 6 of the 7 types already - You only have a 1 in 140 chance of getting the one type you don't have.
Save Scumming: One particularly counterintuitive technique involves allowing the grandmapocalypse to proceed to its final stage, turning all the gold cookies into red cookies, each of which has a small chance to produce over an hour of production (double that with the "get lucky" upgrade) and simply reloading after each of the (much more common) bad outcomes.
Science Is Bad: Parodied - all technological advancements (including Alchemy and Time Travel) are inexplicably directed towards converting more and more of the universe into cookies, the fabric of reality be damned. And the so-called "research facility" is a front for a cult of old ladies attempting to summon Cthulhu-grandmas.
Schmuck Bait: As of update 1.033, the "One Mind" upgrade shows a pop up warning before buying it.
"Each Grandma gains +1 base CpS for each 50 grandmas. Note: the grandmas are growing restless. Do not encourage them."
The game also temporarily pauses and brings up a prompt before you purchase the "One Mind" upgrade, warning the player that there's no turning back from that point. Accepting it initiates the grandmapocalypse.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Apparently you bribe doctors to boost sales to match your rampant production. Doctors will recommend a twice daily diet of fresh cookies. Later they warn mothers against the dangers of home made cookies. Of course eventually you'll be producing cookies faster than the world could ever hope to eat them.
Serial Escalation: Your cookies spread throughout the town, the country, the planet, the dimensions, and into every last molecule in the universe.
''Known universe now jammed with cookies! No vacancies!"
Shout-Out: There are plenty of pop culture references in the game. Most of which come from the status update box.
One cookie milestone in particular is referencing the Milkshake song by Kelis:
Yeah man, I tell ya what, man, that dang ol' internet, man, you just go in on there and point and click, talk about w-w-dot-w-com, mean you got nekkid chicks on there, man, just go click, click, click, click, click, its real easy, man.
The Kitten Workers upgrade has the Flavor Text "meow meow meow meow," a probable reference to the four-descending-notes Ear Worm jingle of "Meow Mix" cat food.
Surprise Creepy: The "grandmapocalypse" endgame event totally throws out the lighthearted Played for Laughs feel of the game that dominated up until now. The background turns to a slowly distorting and melting portrait of the grandmas, and messages like highways of flesh carpeting your planet begin to flash in the news space. Unless you pay an ever increasing number of cookies to get rid of it temporarily, or reduce your cookies/second rate to get rid of it permanently.
"You could have stopped it."
There's hints beforehand, as once you get at least 50 grandmas, even if you haven't started the Grandmapocalypse, their occasional comments start to morph from kindly sentiments to disgust at you and declarations that "we rise".
Tastes Like Chicken: Rather, cookies, of course. As the game goes on, various new species are discovered which all, "yep, taste like cookies," according to biologists.
What Do You Mean, It's Not Cosmetic?: The achievement system initially comes off as being a mere Bragging Rights Reward. However, unlocking achievementsnote exception: Shadow Achievements also increases one's "Milk" percentage, and the Kitten upgrades (helpers, workers, engineers, and overseers) increase one's CpS based on the amount of Milk the player has.
What the Hell, Player?: Buildings can be sold when not needed. Problem is, grandmas also count as buildings. Selling one of them unlocks the Just Wrong achievement.