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Video Game / Cookie Clicker

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"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 Julien "Orteil" Thiennot as part of his many experimental games. It was originally launched on August 10, 2013. The goal of the game is simple: Bake cookies. 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 buildings and 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, with things such as hiring 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, traveling through time and space to steal cookies from the past, and even the Elder Gods coming to you and demanding a tribute of cookies lest you incur their wrath.

After several years of fan requests, a mobile version for Android phones is being developed, and is currently in public beta. An iOS version is set to be released at a later date.

A paid version on Steam was released on September 1st, 2021. You can find it here.

You can find the old version here. Has a wiki here.

Cookie Clicker contains examples of:

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  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The building prices are quite reasonable for the low end buildings in the early game. But the price of each building is increased by 15% for the next one. That doesn't sound too bad at first. If you do the math, though, you find that the price of a building roughly doubles with every five purchased, and increases by a factor of about 1000 for every 49 purchased. (The first Cursor, the least expensive, costs 15 cookies. The 50th one costs 14,139. The 100th costs over 15 million cookies.) The egg upgrades also count, as they also increase in price along with how many eggs you've already unlocked. This is even tougher in the mobile version, due to several of the features that give discounts not being included.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The "Taller Tellers" upgrade.
    "Able to process a higher amount of transactions. Careful though, as taller tellers tell tall tales."
  • Aerith and Bob: Spirits in the pantheon mini-game have names such as Rigidel, Godzamok, Muridal and Jeremy.
    • The grandmas also count. On one hand, you have names like Millicent, Pearl, and Gertrude. On the other hand, you have Warty, Stinker, and Gusher. It gets more on the "Aerith" side of the trope when the player has names from Patreon supporters enabled, which include things like Granny Grearest and Jeff Junior.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: One of the Shipment upgrades is called "Prime directive". The description says that an intergalactic delegation made you pinky-swear not to directly interact with lesser alien cultures. Which is fine by you, because it's funnier to rob a planet blind while its inhabitants have no idea what's going on.
  • Alliterative Title: Cookie Clicker.
  • Alternate Universe: The "alternate reality" update adds the Idleverses, which are the universes of other idle games which you proceed to plunder and hijack to make more cookies.
  • Alternate Self: The fittingly-named Alternate Grandmas, the corresponding Grandma upgrade for the above-mentioned Idleverses. They have darker skin, face the opposite direction of the other Grandmas, and their flavor text is this:
    A different grandma to bake something else.
  • Affably Evil: With the exception of the Antigrandmas, all of the grandmas are described as "nice" even when the Grandmapocalypse is in full swing.
  • Alchemy Is Magic:
    • 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, the news ticker may state that silver has been found to be turnable into white chocolate.
  • all lowercase letters: The Flavor Text on each kitten upgrade, and some of the mouse and cursor upgrades.
  • ...And 99˘: Most upgrades named after a type of cookie (aside from the holiday cookies, which are given special prices) are priced at (x * 10^n) - 1 for some integers x and n, starting at 999,999.
  • Animalistic Abomination: During the Easter season, the way the Easter bunnies and their eggs are spoken about in the news tickers is positively SCP-esque, treating them as extradimensional, biologically senseless creatures who can infiltrate any and every place without anything impeding them just to leave their eggs.
    • Overlapping with Humanoid Abomination, the Bunny Grandmas that appear during the aforementioned season have an unsettling appearance that looks a little too Frank-like for comfort.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Soon, your cookies will come to life and think.
    "Your cookies have achieved sentience."
  • Anti-Climax: A couple of notable examples:
    • As your count of baked cookies grows the news ticker reports increasingly impressive feats - your cookies are mentioned in history books, are enjoyed worldwide, aliens from other planets wants to try them, etc. What's the second-highest tier message? "A local news station runs a 10-minute segment about your cookies."
    • Each milestone of owning a multiple of 100 of every building unlocks a new type of butter biscuit. They start with a milk chocolate butter biscuit with your face engraved onto the chocolate and get increasingly exotic and elaborate, until for owning 600 of everything you get... "This is a plain butter biscuit. It's got some butter on it. The butter doesn't look like anything in particular."
  • Antimatter: Added in version 1.036 is the Antimatter Condenser, which condenses the antimatter of the universe into cookies, according to the description.note 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Some achievements are so absurdly difficult, tedious, or reliant on pure luck that they're labeled as Shadow Achievements and don't count towards your milk percentage.
  • Anti Poop-Socking:
    • The cookie milestone message at 10 billion cookies baked is "It's time to stop playing" (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). The Flavor Text for the achievement rewarded for having 200 of each building calls you a crazy person.
    • 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.
    • Also inverted with the "Black Cat's Paw" achievement, rewarded for clicking 7777 golden cookies. This requires months of active play, since Golden Cookies appear between 1.25 and 3.5 minutes apart, at their fastest. (They start out appearing between 5 and 14 minutes apart, but there are two upgrades each of which cuts the possible spawning time in half.)
    • The mobile version of the game starts out much more active and becomes more idle over time, reverse of how the web version plays. Early on, clicking and purchasing items frequently will help the game move along quickly. Later on, the lack of discount prestige upgrades and fewer upgrades per building, nevermind having two fewer building types to begin with, mean doubling your Heavenly Chips can take a very long time. For perspective, it can take months to earn the roughly 15 million Chips needed for all Heavenly Upgrades in the mobile version, mainly just waiting while the game slowly builds up cookies. The same number of chips can be earned in about a week in the web version and aren't nearly enough, and only really considered mid-game.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • As you begin to bake more cookies, the cookie-related catastrophes range from a Class 0 with chocolate mines flooding villages and causing sinkholes to a Class X-4 where the cookies start rewriting the fundamental laws of the universe.
    • The Grandmapocalypse is somewhere between a Class 2 and a Class 5, with massive blobs of flesh engulfing entire cities and flesh tendrils being visible from space.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • When the Grandmatriarchs first awaken, they will start breaking into houses to abduct infants and steal cooking utensils.
    • A lengthy example with the increasingly fantastical cookie-generation devices: first you can buy extra mouse cursors, then cookie-baking grandmas, followed by cookie farms, factories, mines, and banks. After that, it gets weirder: ancient cookie temples, cookie-wizards, rocketships to the cookie planet, alchemy labs (to turn gold into cookies), portals to the Cookieverse, time machines, and antimatter condensers. Then one of the later cookie constructors, coming just before a device that spontaneously generates cookies by manipulating probability and another that creates more cookies from preexisting cookies, is… a prism. Maybe the developer is a Pink Floyd fan. And then it goes back to weird items with the Fractal Engine, before finally returning to more mundane items with the Javascript Console. The penultimate building, the Idleverse, generates cookies from other idle games (or "universes"), while the Cortex Baker goes back to the weird with their ability to think cookies into existence.
    • The flavor texts which are unlocked as you bake more cookies go from your cookies barely being edible, to being loved by the entire town, to the entire world and even entire universe and galaxies around, to being so powerful that they become sentient, turn the entire universe's molecular structure into cookie dough... And then, the ultimate cookie amount-related flavor text tells about how a local news station broadcasted a 10-minute segment about your cookies; and to celebrate this milestone, the game actually hands you a single extra cookie to your counter.
    • The "Arcane Sugar" upgrade is described as tasting like "insects, ligaments, and molasses."
    • The "How to bake your dragon" heavenly upgrade is described as "a tome full of helpful tips such as 'oh god, stay away from it', 'why did we buy this thing, it's not even house-broken' and 'groom twice a week in the direction of the scales'."
  • Artificial Human: Yous (clones of yourself) are grown in vats. An upgrade's flavor text mentions that your clones had gone from growing in saline and fed a food akin to "fish flakes", to growing in a solution of three parts milk to one part rice vinegar, which your clones absorb dermally, allowing them to emerge with great skin.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Your cookies become a pillar of world economics according to the tabloids at around 1 billion cookies produced. The US eats around 7 billion cookies a year by itself, meaning realistically you've only produced 1/7 of the cookies of the world's largest economy, not even taking into account the rest of the world.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Mining cookie dough and chocolate chips out of the ground? Sure, why not?
  • Artistic License – Physics: There's actually very little antimatter in the universe, so the Antimatter Condensers probably wouldn't be sustainable for very long. Perhaps they meant dark matter, which is theorized to comprise as much as 85% of the universe's matter.
  • Ascended Glitch: Shortly after Wrinklers were introduced, some players noticed that under certain conditionsnote  they would twitch erratically instead of moving normally; several users noted that this made them creepier. Come the Christmas update, their standard animation was updated to make them twitch (in a slightly more natural way).
  • Ascended Meme:
    • "Eldeer", a fan name for a late-game technique, was made an achievement in 2.002.
    • An early player in a poorly written list of requests for the game, asked for "faster menner." The game's forums ran with this, constantly asking for it to be added to the game, until Orteil finally made "Faster menner" the achievement for reaching a CpS of 10 quintillion cookies per second.
    • The Zebra Cookies upgrade was the result of zebras constantly being referenced on the forums. People had zebra profile pictures, zebra-related names, and requested something related to zebras. The Zebra Milk was also added as a Fanciful milk option for similar reasons.
  • Author Appeal:
    • White chocolate macadamia nut cookies. The flavor text for their upgrade even describes them as "Orteil's Favorite".
    • Among the "Box of not cookies" upgrades is an inexplicable cheeseburger. Why was it added?
      Absolutely no relation to cookies whatsoever - Orteil just wanted an excuse to draw a cheeseburger.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • In-universe, the fifth upgrade for mines… H-Bomb Mining. Somewhat practical (By the time you can get the upgrade, mines are long obsolete anyway), but the Flavor Text refers to it having "questionable efficiency, but spectacular nonetheless".
    • In the game itself, the juicy queenbeet from the garden. There are only three ways, as of the launch of gardens, to get sugar lumps outside of just waiting for them to bloom, and the juicy queenbeet is key to two of them (the third is subject to the RNG) - one by harvesting a ripe juicy queenbeet, and one by trading in a complete seed catalog (which can only be obtained by harvesting every plant when ripe). However, even getting one in the first place is only a 0.1% chance per tick when the conditions are met (which is surrounding an empty plot with eight queenbeets, each of which depress production by 2%) - the absolute best-case scenario (that all eight queenbeets ripen simultaneously, allowing for 16 potential ticks for the juicy queenbeet to mutate, while having wood chips as the active soil) is still about a 5% chance of spawning one. The juicy queenbeet is also the slowest plant to mature, taking approximately 1063 ticks to reach maturity (ticks vary depending on soil type, with fertilizer being the fastest at once every 3 minutes) with only an 8% chance to get even a single tick - the best-case scenario is that it'll take over two days for the plant to mature and worst case is that it takes up to 4 days. And in that time, you can't ascend or else the plant is gone for good. Oh, and its effect while still in the ground? Reducing production by 10%, plus reducing the effectiveness of any plant bordering it by 20%, meaning that growing one is going to require several other plants in the garden existing pretty much solely to counter its negative effects. Finally, even though you get it added to your seed catalog after harvesting a ripe one, you can't plant the juicy queenbeet from the seed catalog, meaning that you have to go through the whole rigamarole all over again if you want to try for another.
  • Baby Name Trend Starter: In-Universe. One of the headlines says that your cookies become so popular, your bakery's name becomes the most popular baby name.
  • Bad Boss: The second and third upgrade for the factories are "Child labor" and "Sweatshop", with the latter having the description "slackers will be terminated". The protagonist is also cruel to their clones, having no qualms with sending them to do hazardous tasks in their stead, or with brainwashing them to keep them from getting any uppity ideas.
  • 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."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "A nice grandma to bake more cookies." I could use more of those; cookies and grandmas to bake them. They may grumble about 'indentured servitude', but what can they do about it?
  • Big Bad:
  • Bilingual Bonus: The lines of text representing Javascript Consoles on the buildings screen actually reads "Cookie Clicker"note  in japanese katakana.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Many of the ticker updates starting in the midgame, especially regarding portals and the Cookieverse.
    • Many of the upgrades. Child labor? Fair game! Transmuted and Rainbow grandmas? What, you thought they'd help you run the alchemy labs and prisms, respectively? 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 brand-parody cookies added in v1.038 (Grease's Cups, anyone?).
  • Blatant Lies: What are the Underworld Ovens and other eldritch devices you unlock powered by? "Science, of course!"
  • Body Horror: As of V1.031, Altered Grandmas, who are unlocked after obtaining 15 Portals, are twisted masses of 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.
    • And speaking once more of Grandmas, 2.016 gives us Metagrandmas, obtained after getting 15 Fractal Engines. These are unsightly masses of tentacles, Grandma heads, and boils that apparently split into more grandmas.
    • Also in the headlines once you get a time machine, as various historical figures will transform into masses of cookie dough.
  • Boring, but Practical: The "Golden Cookie Sound Selector", a Heavenly Upgrade that makes the game play a jingle when a Golden Cookie, Wrath Cookie, or Reindeer spawns on-screen. Extremely simple, but extremely effective in allowing you to automate the game more often in another tab or window rather than keeping the game open and waiting for them to show up.
  • Brain Critical Mass: Cortex Bakers are giant brains with Reality Warper powers that can think cookies into existence. Also, according to the news ticker, they may accidentally broadcast their thoughts to anybody who gets close enough.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The "British Tea Biscuit series" cookie upgrades, 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.
    • They also do this with their respective Flavor Texts: "Quite"; "Yes, quite"; "Yes, quite riveting"; "Yes, quite riveting indeed"; "Yes, quite riveting indeed, old chap"; and finally "I like cookies."
    • Also a shorter set in the basic cookie selection—white chocolate cookies, macadamia nut cookies, and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • The v2 update added Temples as one of the buildings that generate cookies. One of its upgrades (Sun Festival) has this description:
    Free the primordial powers of your temples with these annual celebrations involving fire-breathers, traditional dancing, ritual beheadings and other merriments!
    • The Bingo Center research upgrades. It starts off with specialty chocolate chips and cacao beans, which are relatively standard. After the latter comes demonic rolling pins and ovensnote . And then you unlock the Grandmapocalypse upgrades...
    • The description for the Grandma upgrade "Good Manners", which reads as follows:
    Apparently these ladies are much more amiable if you take the time to learn their strange, ancient customs, which seem to involve saying "please" and "thank you" and staring at the sun with bulging eyes while muttering eldritch curses under your breath.
    • Both the Elder Pledge and Elder Covenant switches. The former is a ritual involving anti-aging cream, cookie batter mixed in the moonlight, and a live chicken, which the latter uses cursed laxatives, centuries-old cacao, and an infant.
    • The Fractal Engine upgrade "Mandelbrown sugar" has the following flavor text:
    A substance that displays useful properties such as fractal sweetness and instant contact lethality.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • To get "Cookie-dunker," 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.
    • To get "Tiny Cookie," you have to click the tiny cookie icon on the stats screen next to any of the "number baked" listing.
    • "Here you go" is unlocked by… clicking on the locked achievement icon. Which is harder than it sounds, because all of the 200 or so locked icons look exactly the same, so you either have to try all of them or wait until you've unlocked most of the others. It's the one right after the achievement for changing your bakery's name.
    • Another achievement is earned by clicking on the headlines enough times to cycle through several of them. The flavor text of the achievement discusses this, of course, in the style of yet another headline.
    • One of the news ticker messages is "Nws: ky btwn w and r brokn, plas snd nw typwritr ASAP." A later message announces that the new keyboard is "working fineeeeeeeeee."
    • Another news ticker message: local man "done with Cookie Clicker", finds the constant self-references "grating and on-the-nose".
    • As of 2.031, the third most powerful building is the Javascript Console, which creates cookies from the game's own code.
  • Can't Catch Up: New types of buildings tend to completely overwhelm every previous generator. Grandmas and Cursors get numerous stacking upgrades to make up for this, but even with every upgrade, the most expensive building (currently Cortex Bakers) will always produce several 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, and only indirectly by bolstering the Cursors' output.
    • Once you have enough milk and heavenly chips, most non-kitten/heavenly upgrades have almost no relative effect.
    • The 2.0 version subverts it by giving even more synergy bonuses to everything.
    • Another subversion comes with active play—one bonus that can appear on a golden or wrath cookie is to give a bonus to both production and clicking equal to +10% for each of a particular building that the player can buy. Due to how much cheaper earlier buildings are, the bonus percentage will be distinctly higher for Farms or Mines versus Antimatter Condensers or Prisms if the cheaper buildings haven't been totally neglected.
    • One more aversion here: every bonus in the game is multiplicative. So all those little +1% cookie upgrades? That's 101% times 101% for the first, and then it adds up, and... well, you've all heard the one with the king and the chess board, right?
  • Captain Obvious: One of the randomly generated news headlines is "Cookies found to make <animal species> less hungry!" You don't say…
  • 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.
  • Celestial Body: Antimatter Grandmas are grandmother-shaped blobs of starry sky texture.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The heavenly upgrades based around boosting your optimal CPS while the game is closed are named after these: Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels, etc.
  • Challenge Run: As of the v.2 build, you can choose to deactivate all of the ascension benefits in a given run. A few of the achievements are locked such that they can now only be earned in such a run (anyone who earned them in prior builds has them grandfathered in).
  • Christmas Episode: The v.1.04 update introduces Christmas cookies and give upgrades based on Santa Claus. Santa's reindeer also feature in the upgrade, and the wrinklers introduced in the 1.039 upgrade feature Santa hats in this version.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Inverted. A renowned Technowizard claims in the News Ticker that "Any sufficiently crude magic is indistinguishable from technology".
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land: Everything in the game's universe revolves around cookies. This reaches its logical conclusion when you play enough as you will eventually be able to turn the entire makeup of the universe into cookies at the molecular level!
  • Company Cross References: Krumblor the Dragon is from Adventure Quest Dragons, a game Orteil worked on.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Subverted; after a time, it seems as though your cookie empire has essentially taken over the world. This results in the media denying that cookies lead to obesity, that your cookies are addictive, and that the cookie industry controls the media.
  • 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 perfectly justified. The Communal Brainsweep and Elder Pact upgrades also come with warnings, though there's no dialog box and they merely advance the already-horrific effects of One Mind.
  • Continuity Nod: After buying your first Time Machine, sometimes a newsline will pop up about a historian stating that cookies brought back from the past are "unfit for human consumption". Who was the one who started out baking cookies so bad that a RACCOON wouldn't touch them?
  • 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. In the Classic version, having a portal and over one million cookies triggers the Grandmapocalypse.
  • 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, programming, and even time travel theft, they've proven their coolness 10 times over.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The factories are all run by these. And, well… the player also applies.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The game builds up to a Grandmapocalypse, which leads to the universe itself becoming increasingly unstable.
  • Crapsaccharine World: A simple, cartoonish game where you make cookies with nice grandmas! ...Except the grandmas are actually eldritch abominations, and it's not long before you start breaking the laws of physics and destroying the fabrics of space and time just to make more cookies. Not far into the game, the "saccharine" part becomes literal.
  • Crapsack World: As you advance, your home planet will be plagued with chocolate weather, collapsing mines, chocolate floods, a national gold crisis, city-swallowing portals, highly abusive labor plants, and an uprising of grandmothers. This is all Played for Laughs in the message section (at least until the "Grandmapocalypse" event).
  • Creepy Good: Apparently, the Altered Grandmas—they're still referred to as "nice grandmas" in the Flavor Text before the text screws itself up.
    • Santa Claus, as well, judging by his final forms and the fact that he keeps acting like, well, Santa Claus.
  • 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 6x cookie rate multiplier.note  And this makes most of your cookies immune to Ruin. Otherwise they're 100% beneficial despite their appearance. Finding the Wrinklerspawn egg during Easter makes the wrinklers even better, since it adds 5% to their return rate; instead of returning 110% of what it leeched, each one returns 115% when popped.
    • The "Clot" debuff can be like this in v.2 of the game. There's a switch added in the post-reset section that gives a 50% bonus to all production while preventing Golden Cookies from spawning (for when the game is left idle). Its price is always equal to one hour's worth of production under the current production—if it's flipped when a Clot is active, it costs half as much as it ordinarily does.
    • Lampshaded with the Wrath Cookie result "Cursed Finger"—while it's active, normal production is set to zero CpS… however, for the subsequent time frame (default is 10 seconds), each click will give the player cookies equal to what would ordinarily be earned in that time frame. Even one click will make the player break even; a sufficiently fast player will produce a couple hours of production in a very rapid span of time.
    • The effect of a backfired Stretch Time is to reduce the length of all current timers by 20% (to a maximum of 10 minutes). This includes timers for debuffs as well—in particular, a backfire of Diminish Ineptitude makes Stretch Time backfire 75% of the time, and the Stretch Time backfire reduces the timer of a backfired Diminish Ineptitude by 2 minutes.
    • The Garden minigame amplifies the previously mentioned use of the Clot (and the new "rusted" debuff that reduces production by 10% for each of a particular building owned). As planting seeds costs an amount based on current cookies per second, the temporary reduction in production can greatly reduce how much it costs to seed a garden. Landing in a Slap In The Face or Senility (a debuff based on number of cursors or grandmas owned, respectively) is carte blanche to start planting the "hour+ of production" seeds. Cursed Finger takes this up to eleven - since the CpS is set to zero during its effect, every single seed drops to its minimum cost for planting. If you've done a few ascensions such that you produce at least over 30 quadrillion per second, literally every plant drops in price so as to effectively be free under Cursed Finger.
  • Cute Kitten: The Kitten upgrades. They're even said to walk around with tiny hardhats and adorable little suits outside the factories!

  • Damned by Faint Praise: One headline that can appear on the news ticker says that (Your Name)-brand cookies are slightly less terrible than your competitors', according to a customer survey.
  • Deal with the Devil: Elder Pacts and Elder Covenants; also the Soul Bond upgrade for the portals.
  • Deliberately Different Description: : The British tea biscuits each add an element to their stereotypically British descriptions as they get more expensive...except the last one, leading to the following sequence:
    1. British tea biscuits: "Quite."
    2. Chocolate British tea biscuits: "Yes, quite."
    3. Round British tea biscuits: "Yes, quite riveting."
    4. Round chocolate British tea biscuits: "Yes, quite riveting indeed."
    5. Round British tea biscuits with heart motif: "Yes, quite riveting, old chap."
    6. Round chocolate British tea biscuits with heart motif: "I like cookies."
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The heavenly upgrades based around increasing how long you maintain optimal CPS when the game is closed are named after these: Lucifer, Satan, Asmodeus, etc.
  • Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu: While the Grandmatriarchs are as terrible as you'd expect Eldritch Abominations to be, Santa Claus seems to be just as friendly and helpful as ever even after you've exposed him as a tentacled monstrosity.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: One of the most potent strategies is at the last stage of the Grandmapocalypse, getting an Elder Frenzy + Reindeer combo (the so-called Eldeer). Since both the reindeers' appearances and the outcome of the Wrath Cookie is randomly generated, there isn't really much you can do but carefully plan how long you wait before clicking the wrath cookies until they mesh. When they do, though, the deer gives you nearly an entire day worth of cookie production in one click.
    • Not like regular golden cookies don't have their own combo. Once again, there isn't much to do but cross your fingers, pray to the Random Number God and try to sync them so as to make the most of your time, and this time, there's the added difficulty of having baked enough cookies through clicking, and having to click as fast as you can for a full 26 seconds, but if you get a Frenzy, have bought the click-boosting mouse upgrades, and manage to get a Clicking Frenzy while the original's still going on, you can rack up positively gigantic amounts of cookies. Later updates add the building bonuses, which also can combo with Frenzy, and lasts for over a minute with all the golden cookie upgrades. Get lucky and nail a High Five (+10% CpS for each cursor owned) after some time playing, and even an Elder Frenzy will look quaint in its production. During the Christmas season, these can also modify reindeer, plus have a wider timing window to make the setup a bit more forgiving than the Eldeer setup.
    • One that requires a bit of luck involves setting up as of the launch of the grimoire is taking advantage of the spell Conjure Baked Goods. If it works correctly, it essentially acts like getting two "Lucky" bonuses at once, with a similar limitation of maxing out at 15% of the current banked cookies. Due to the fact that it can be triggered at any time, this means that it can be comboed with "Frenzy" plus a building bonus, or even an Elder Frenzy. There's a bit of a risk in that a backfire of Conjure Baked Goods functions as a double-effect "Ruin" plus "Clot," but the risk of backfire can be considerably mitigated with Diminish Ineptitude.
      • An even more potent combo is one with the Force the Hand of Fate spell. It summons a random Golden Cookie... except the actual type is fixed and persists through reloads. Meaning, with a bit of Save Scumming, you can combine the Frenzy/building bonus combo with a Clicking Frenzy or Dragonflight, and get several months' worth of cookies in seconds.
    • One a bit easier to swing with the arrival of the garden is planting any of the "harvest to gain X minutes of production" plants. Since these will stay around for several cycles of garden time, they can be left in storage for the player to harvest whenever they get one of the combos with "Frenzy". To offset the fact that one could have them around much easier, however, they have a much lower maximum payout.
  • Dimension Lord: The Idleverse building allows you to conquer other universes and plunder their manufacturing processes to produce more cookies.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Big time. The cost of each building is multiplied by 1.15 each time you purchase one of its kind. This multiplication is cumulative; your 100th cursor costs about a thousandfold more than the 50th.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Clicking on Reindeer during Christmas season (either in real life or forced with the Season Switcher) provides a flat cookie bonus not unlike the Lucky outcome of a Golden Cookie, but they start out giving off much more cookies than Lucky does, enough so that you could skip certain buildings. What's more, thanks to appearing at different rates than Golden Cookies, one can perform a lite-version of the "Frenzy + Lucky" combo by clicking on a Reindeer during a Frenzy for seven times the normal outcome of the Reindeer. There's also upgrades that double the reward and appearance rate of Reindeer, which if you're lucky you can acquire early.
    • A New Game Plus upgrade allows you to save an upgrade (up to five) and start every new game with it. Most upgrades won't do very much early on, because they multiply your current cookie-generating rates. But cursors have a whole series of upgrades that give flat bonuses; the strongest one, "Octillion Fingers," gives each cursor 5 million cookies per second for every other building you own. Pre-ascension, this is balanced, because it's very expensive to unlock. But starting the game with it gives you an absolutely ludicrous boost—just 10 cursors and 10 grandmas, which would normally generate 11 cookies per second, will instead crank out 500 million per second… and the pace only accelerates as you use your massive amounts of cookies to buy more cursors, buildings, and upgrades. This one upgrade lets you blast through the early phases of the game so quickly, you'll probably have prisms before the first golden cookie appears.
      • Sadly, this has since been nerfed in the latest releases. Now, the previously game-breaking Octillion Fingers will only give a 20x bonus to the effects of Thousand Fingers — still useful, but hardly overwhelming. There are now far superior options.
  • Disguised Horror Story: The "grandmapocalypse" 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".
  • Dissimile: From the flavor text of "Pizza" cookie upgrade:
    What is a pizza if not a large, chewy cookie, frosted with a rather exuberant tomato & cheese icing? Not a cookie, that's what.
  • Double Unlock:
    • Most upgrades require you to buy a certain number of things before you're allowed to buy the actual upgrade.
    • The Christmas cookies, the Easter eggs, the Halloween cookies and the garden upgrades all are unlocked by random chance when the appropriate thing is clicked (reindeer, golden/wrath cookies and wrinklers, and a mature specimen of the appropriate plant, respectively), and the upgrades in question still have to be bought afterwards. Unless they're placed in a permanent upgrade slot upon ascension, they have to be rebought each run (and for the eggs, Christmas cookies and Halloween cookies, they have to be re-unlocked, too).
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Often, a good strategy for the Grandmapocalypse is to stop at either the One Mind or Communal Brainsweep phase. This is so the player can get Wrinklers while still getting (mostly) Golden Cookies. However, the chances of getting the powerful Elder Frenzy and Cursed Finger buffs is proportional to which stage of the Grandmapocalypse the player is on, increasing the further you go. Ultimately, it depends on whether you're a risk-taker or not.note 
  • Easter Egg:
    • The Label Maker ascension upgrade lists the names of the different tiers for upgrades that have different tiers, like "buttergold" and "mooncandy." This also includes "synergy I" and "synergy II," for the upgrades unlocked with the respective ascension upgrades. There's one last "tier" that exists - the Label Maker itself has the tier "self-referential."
    • Shrinking the game window enough horizontally will make the news ticker stop cycling through messages and just display one that says "News: help!" in a slimmer version of the regular font.
  • Effortless Achievement: "Wake and Bake", which is awarded for baking a single cookie, so just clicking the big cookie once.
  • Egopolis: If you've named your bakery, one of the news ticker items will say that towns get renamed to "(Your name)ville".
  • Elder Employee: The Grandmas, who are the only people you directly hire with cookies for some reason. And as you expand on production, you'll find grandmas of all sorts of odd varieties employed to get you cookies, from priestess grandmas to meta-grandmas. Aside from baking cookies, they also snark about the work you give them and play bingo, as stereotypical activities of the elderly.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • 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-inducing 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.
    • As of v1.04, we see that this is the true form of Santa Claus and he has an additional transformation beyond it, though he seems to still be as benevolent as ever even in these forms.
  • 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. Even once you buy every upgrade and gain every achievement, you can reset to cash in your winnings as Heavenly Chips, which increase your production next game. Of course, with every new version Orteil makes public, there are usually new upgrades (and sometimes buildings) to buy and achievements to earn as well, and don't forget that milk is driven by number of achievements unlocked.
  • 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!"
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows:
    • The prisms feature rainbows heavily in their artwork and their upgrades. The Grandma upgrade associated with it is "Luminous Grandmas", which feature grandmas made of rainbows.
    • The second strongest upgrade tier, as of 2.048, is Iridiyum, which has a rainbow glow surrounding a black icon.
  • Evil Matriarch: Evil Grandmatriarchs are explicitly referenced. The flavor text for the Antigrandmas also calls them mean instead of nice.
  • 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 Wrath Cookie bonuses highly encourage it).
  • Exact Words: The different soils for the garden minigame are unlocked after certain numbers of farms bought. Not owned; bought. If a player wanted, they could unlock wood chips, the final soil, by simply buying and selling a single farm 300 times.
  • Excuse Plot: Click on a cookie and earn as many cookies as you can. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: One of the Idleverse upgrades exploits this trope, allowing you to conduct experiments that risk destroying reality without causing any harm to you.
  • Expendable Clone: As stated in the flavor texts for the You upgrades, the protagonist has no qualms with sending their clones in their stead to their more hazardous facilities, or having any disobedient clones assassinated and turned into nutrient paste.
  • Export Save: This game has a copyable save file that weighs at least 3KB. It's also full of "wMDA"note  if you've just started playing.
  • Flavor Text: All of the upgrades and some of the achievements feature this. Lampshaded by one of the News Ticker headlines:
    News: flavor text not particularly flavorful/kind of unsavory study finds.
  • Foreshadowing: See the quote under Bad Future? Also, the one below under Never Mess with Granny? And the one under Cassandra Truth? You're warned of the potential consequences well before the Grandmapocalypse begins.
    • Animals with tumorous growths can be found near your factories, foreshadowing that things aren't as hunky-dory as they seem…
    • Another one for the Grandmapocalypse can be seen in the News Ticker.
    What do wrath cookies taste like? Study reveals a flavor "somewhere between blood sausage and seawater".
    • Similarly, Wrath Cookies can be summoned by the Force the Hands of Fate spell backfiring. Wrinklers are also mentioned in the Grimoire, being one of the many other spells.
    • On a less horrifying note, some Flavor Text also hints at special properties of the items they flavor. For instance the flavor text for the Drowsyfern is "Traditionally used to brew a tea that guarantees a good night of sleep." When harvested, it can drop Fern Tea, which grants an additional +3% CPS while the game is closed, such as when you go to sleep for the night.
  • Four Is Death: The Halloween Cookie recipes all cost 444,444,444,444 cookies (that's four groups of fours).
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: During the Grandmapocalypse, the Grandma's store icon will change depending on the status of the Grandmatriarchs; angered with no teeth and glowing red eyes for Awoken, similar to the Awoken stage but darker and with visible fangs for Displeased, and a fleshy, multi-eyed Eldritch Abomination for Angered.
    • One of the later Portal upgrades, "The real world", describes the you in the game discovering your world and starting to raid it for cookies.
  • Fridge Horror: Lampshaded repeatedly in-universe with the "news" messages.
    News : "Can't you sense the prism watching us?", rambles insane local man. "No idea what he's talking about", shrugs cookie magnate/government official.
  • 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.
    • The Grandmas go from a couple of friendly women employed by your cookie business to a small army of unhappy mutineers making ominous threats, to eventually becoming hideous Eldritch Abominations, and are considered the closest thing to an antagonist Cookie Clicker has.

  • Games of the Elderly: One can buy the Bingo Center/Research Facility, a science lab run by grandmothers that doubles as their leisure club. The achievement granted for having 100 septillions cookies just from the grandmas is titled "Panic at the Bingo".
  • Glasgow Grin: The Grandmatriarchs have one during the second stage of the Grandmapocalypse.
  • Global Currency: Exaggerated; cookies gradually become both the universal currency and the only product of any value. People are apparently buying cookies with cookies.
    News : cookie factories on strike - workers demand to stop being paid in cookies!
  • Golden Super Mode:
    • The Golden Cookies, which give the player some sort of benefit when clicked.
    • The Transmuted Grandmas are basically golden super versions of the classic Grandmas.
    • Additionally, the Chalcedhoney and Buttergold upgrade tiers are golden in color (with the former having a more orangish color scheme), and the Albascream tier is white with a golden glow.
  • Good Behavior Points: One of the production-doubling upgrades you can buy for factories is "Brownie point system". Its Flavor Text states that your factory employees can now be awarded "brownie points" for good behavior (which, in this case, includes things such as "working overtime" and "snitching on coworkers"). 58 brownie points earns a worker just a picture of a brownie, but 178 of those pictures (10324 points in total) earns them an actual brownie piece.
  • Good Luck Charm: The Chancemaker, added in 2.0042, creates cookies from thin air out of sheer luck. It resembles a giant horseshoe with a clover in the middle.
  • Granny Classic: The first kind of grandma you'll encounter in the game. It's even in the description:
    "A nice grandma to bake more cookies."
  • Gray Goo:
    • One of the later status updates, when the player has baked 100 to 300 million cookies.
    "The universe has now turned into cookie dough, to the molecular level."
    • "Beige Goo" is an available upgrade for Alchemy Labs.
  • Grows on Trees: Besides mining cookies from the ground, you can also "grow" cookies from a cookie plant via cookie farms, which were 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!: All unearned achievements are hidden. Most of them are simply "generate X cookies" or something else you'll eventually get if you play the game long enough, but some are tricky.
    • "Neverclick," for getting a million cookies without clicking the cookie more than 15 times (enough to buy a single cursor). To get "True Neverclick" you must get a million cookies without any cookie clicks—you have to only click golden cookies (doesn't count as a "cookie click," but the game doesn't make this obvious). If, like almost everyone, you clicked too many times to get these, you can only earn them after ascending into "Born Again" mode (where you get no special ascension bonuses).
    • "Hardcore" requires baking a billion cookies with no upgrades. Kind of arbitrary and takes a long time, so you probably wouldn't try it unless you knew there was a reward for it.
    • "Uncanny Clicker," for clicking 150 times in 10 seconds. This is almost impossible without using auto-clicking software, but it's not a shadow achievement.
    • A few others are bizarre and random things that hardly anyone would do without being told to: click on the slot for the achievement, click the news ticker 50 times, click one of the tiny cookie icons on the Statistics page, and dunk the cookie in the milk (by squashing your browser window vertically).
    • "When the cookies ascend just right" is ludicrously precise - it's a shadow achievement that requires a player to ascend with exactly one trillion cookies. Given how easy it can be to overshoot this at higher prestige levels (it's quite reasonable, with the right ascension upgrades, to overshoot it in the first second of an ascension even if your heavenly chips are relatively low in number), actively trying for it pretty much requires either doing so in the first or second playthrough or deliberately choosing the Born Again mode mentioned above.
    • Good luck getting all the seeds for the garden without a guide. A lot of the seeds are random mutations that have a tiny chance of occurring between two of the same, or even two different plants. The game tells you how many seeds a plant can mutate into, but not the conditions needed to get those mutations, and sometimes the mutations just don't happen. It doesn't help that some of the later plants can take hours to mature, so getting them all without a guide will probably take weeks of experimenting.
  • Halloween Episode: The v.1.039 upgrade is Halloween themes, including a Jack-O'Lantern themed Wrath Cookie and Bat, Eyeball, Ghost, and Slime cookies, among others.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: One possible message on the news ticker is "News: nation cheers as legislators finally outlaw lack of cheerfulness!"
  • Hellgate: The Portal is a thinly-veiled reference to one of these. It initially costs 1,666,666 cookies to build, produces 6,666 cookies per second, and when the Grandmapocalypse reaches the later stages, having many of them powers up Grandmas.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: As of the version 2 build, several news items will be related to whatever the player's bakery has been named.
  • "Help! Help! Trapped in Title Factory!":
    • One of the Valentine's Day candy-heart-cookies just says "help," which may be a reference to this trope.
    • One of the fortune cookie upgrades says "Help, I'm trapped in a browser game!"
  • Hive Mind: Purchasing the One Mind upgrade is the catalyst for the grandmas to take over.
  • Holiday Mode: Five different holidays so far. When not in season, you can buy an upgrade from the store that enables the holiday for 24 hours. While seasonal unlockable items must be purchased while these themes are in effect, the benefits remain even after the holiday theme has expired.
    • Halloween: Wrath Cookies gain a pumpkin motif, and popped Wrinklers have a chance of dropping one of seven Halloween-themed cookies.
    • Christmas: Reindeer cross the screen every few minutes and can be clicked on for cookies. They too have a chance of dropping one of seven holiday-relevant cookies. An upgradable Santa Claus icon is available, providing a series of potent Christmas-themed upgrades. Also, Wrinklers gain Santa hats, some of your Grandmas are dressed as elves, and snowflakes fall in the background.
    • Valentine's Day: Golden and Wrath Cookies are replaced with candy hearts (bearing underwhelming messages, such as "your face is okay"), and a series of six heart-shaped cookies can be purchased from the store. Candy hearts fall in the background.
    • April Fools' Day / "Business Day": The game's aesthetic is replaced with a business theme. Golden Cookies become contracts, the news ticker displays work-related messages, and the buildings are replaced with more realistic purchases. The only practical benefit (at first) is the addition of a new price-lowering Golden Cookie effect; it's simply an April Fool's Day joke. Ironically, it now has a practical use: it spawns Golden Cookies more frequently if you have the Startrade Heavenly upgrade and/or Selebrak slotted in the Pantheon.
    • Easter: Golden and Wrath Cookies are replaced with images of bunnies. Every time you pop a Wrinkler or click a Golden/Wrath Cookie, you have a chance of unlocking one of 20 egg-themed upgrades. 12 of them give a +1% global multiplier to your production, while the other 8 each have a unique, powerful effect (And are rarer and more expensive). The Big Cookie will lay on top of a bird's nest. Similar to Christmas, some grandmas will be dressed as Easter bunnies.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: The "Itchy Sweater" upgrade. Supposedly, it makes its wearer feel like "you're wrapped in a dead Sasquatch"
  • Human Resources: According to the flavor text, the transmuted grandmas (associated with alchemy labs) and the iridescent grandmas (associated with prisms) are converted into more cookies.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: A few of the clickable fortunes that show up in the news ticker have a bit of a nonsensical fauxlosophic vibe to them that ties into the upgrade they unlock.
    • "The value of money means nothing to a pocket."
    • "Don't leave to blind chance what you could accomplish with deaf skill."
    • "It's good to see yourself in others. Remember to see yourself in yourself, too."
    • "There's plenty of everyone, but only one of you."
  • 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.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A few news ticker headlines:
    Cookies go well with sauteed hippies, says controversial chef.
    Local guru claims "there's a little bit of ourselves in everyone", under investigation for alleged cannibalism.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Your cookies eventually become so good that the whole universe revolves around them.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Obesity on the rise; experts blame twerking."
  • Irony
    • An update came out on 24 July, 2016 that included a mandatory disclaimer regarding browser "cookies".
    Update text: "Due to EU legislation, implemented a warning message regarding browser cookies; do understand the irony is not lost on us."
    • The "Lucky Grandmas" upgrade boosts the Chancemakers' CPS for every 13 grandma's.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: More than Wonka could shake an Oompa-Loopa at before one of the Kitten Overseers gets excited and pounces it.
  • Jack of All Trades: Various upgrades allow Grandmas to participate in all the other cookie-generating devices to make them more efficient. They can become farmers, miners, bankers, priestesses, time travelers, beings made of pure antimatter…
  • Jerkass: The Antigrandmas are described as being mean in their Flavor Text. Which make sense.
  • Joke Item:
    • One of the 20 Easter-themed upgrades is "egg", the quotation marks and lack of capitalization being part of it. All it does is provide +9 CPS. Not 9%, just 9. Not only that, but it's one of the rare upgrades. It would take years (depending on when in the order it unlocks) for it to pay off its own purchasing price by itself.
      • Ironically, as each building increases in price by 15% for each purchased, "egg" will eventually become more cost efficient than any of them. It'll take a very, VERY long time to get there however.
    • The "Wheat Slims" cookie is very rarely dropped from Baker's Wheat plants, at a meager rate of 0.1%. It only gives 1% more CPS, and is apparently only considered a cookie out of pity.
    • Two more joke cookies come in the form of the One Chip Cookies and the One Lone Chocolate Chip. They cost 100 octillion and 1 tredecillion cookies respectively (with the latter requiring a special heavenly upgrade to unlock), but both only give +1% CPS.
    • The garden minigame has Wardlichen and Shriekbulb where unlike other plants, those two does nothing but hamper you, the former makes Wrath Cookie spawn less and make Wrinkler appear much less frequently while the latter debuffs your CpS and makes plants surrounding them less effectivenote . To add insult to injury, not only is the chance to mutate into them extremely low but they don't unlock into any other seeds, rendering them dead ends. Pretty much the only reason to unlock them in the first place is just to complete the seed catalogue to get the Keeper of the conservatory and Seedless to nay achievement.
    • More accurately, a Joke Cosmetic: The Fanciful Dairy Selection lets you pick from a variety of exotic, patterned milks... as well as Soy Milk, which is only a marginally different hue from the plain starting milk.
  • 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. This translates to selling units for 57.5% of what you paid for them. However, if you've unlocked the Cookie Dragon, you can use its "Earth Shatterer" ability to sell buildings for 97.75% of their original price. This was later nerfed; the sale prices are now 25% or 50% of the cost of the next building, respectively. This was due to a combination that forced an Obvious Rule Patch.
  • Kill Screen: In version 1.036, the game would glitch out when it tried to display your number of cookies in scientific notationnote . This has since been fixed.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Kitten executives are implied to be this, judging by their Flavor Text:
    ready to execute whatever and whoever you'd like, sir
  • Last Lousy Point: The Sextillion Fingers upgrade in 1.0375. It was functionally the same as the Quintillion Fingers upgrade, but it doesn't unlock until you've bought 240 cursors. This was nearly as expensive as 100 Antimatter Condensers. Lessened in 1.0383, which doubled the effectiveness of the upgrade.
    • As of v. 2, there is an achievement that requires baking so many cookies that it takes bots with auto-clickers playing the game optimally 24/7 over a year to complete. Even the less prestigious achievement that requires but 1/10 of that can take a long time if not using automation. However, the other 98-99% of achievements are doable within a few months of play by a vanilla player.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The further you get into the cookie upgrades, the more the game exhausts every possible type of cookie, eventually getting to things that are only technically cookies, things that are tenuously cookies, pastries whose only relation to cookies are the fact that they're both sweet, and finally the "Box Of Not Cookies", containing upgrades like pizza, toast and cheeseburgers.
  • 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 Prism will net you 10,000,000 cookies per second before upgrades. The only building types that scale reasonably are Grandmas, because they have numerous upgrades and eventually gain CpS quadratically, and Cursors, because they have 12 upgrades which are based on the number of buildings you have and CpS. The 2.0 update mitigated this somewhat by introducing more combinatorial upgrades, allowing weak buildings to amplify the output of powerful buildings.
  • 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.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Fool's Biscuit initially does jack diddly squat by virtue of activating Business Day, which for the most part is a completely cosmetic holiday (barring a new Golden Cookie effect, which gives you a discount on buildings). However, buying the "Startrade" heavenly upgrade and/or slotting Selebrak in the Pantheon gives it an edge over the other holidays, since the season will spawn Golden Cookies more often. In the late game, where the vast majority of your cookie production comes from Golden Cookies combos, there is no reason not to activate Business Day after getting all other seasonal upgrades.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The shadow achievement "Just plain lucky" is awarded to the player for free. The catch is that you have 1 chance in 1,000,000 (formerly 500,000) to get this achievement every second, meaning there's absolutely no way of getting it other than being lucky. Due to the aforementioned odds, the average player would receive the achievement after 500,000 seconds (which is almost six days). As a shadow achievement, though, it provides no in-game benefit and thus can be excused.
    • Once you're deep into the Grandmapocalypse, most of the rewards and punishments for clicking "Wrath Cookies" don't matter much, because most of your cookies are stored in Wrinklers. But "Elder Frenzy" benefits from both the Wrinklers and the "get lucky" upgrade, giving you over 13 hours of cookie production in 12 seconds!… But you only get this bonus about 6% of the time. Hunting for this one good bonus can get pretty annoying, so it's often more prudent to stop at the first stage of Grandmapocalypse (for the wrinklers) and farm the Frenzy combos.
    • The shadow achievement "Last Chance To See" requires popping a shiny wrinkler. These only have a 0.01% chance of spawning whenever a wrinkler spawns, and wrinklers appear less often the more you have piled up, so you have to mash them constantly (ruining the potential cookie-rate boost from having a lot of wrinklers) for the best chance of getting a shiny one. The fastest possible wrinkler spawn-rate is about one every 20 seconds, so it'll take roughly 50 hours of wrinkler-mashing for a shiny one to appear. There's no cookie-related reward for this achievement, fortunately, but it does unlock a special news ticker message.
    • Another shadow achievement involves harvesting an ultra-rare golden sugar lump, which has at most a 1-in-3000 chance of appearing. The fastest you can possibly harvest lumps is one per 19 hours, meaning it can take years to get the achievement (an average of around six and a half years if you harvest each one as soon as possible, and over eight years if you let them be harvested naturally).
    • Cross-breeding plants for the garden can get like this as well. While some are a fairly high chance of happening (such as the 5% chance that two Baker's Wheat will produce a Thumbcorn), others are ridiculously low (like the same two Baker's Wheat having only a 0.1% chance of producing a Bakeberry). Further complicating the issue is that the required plants must all be mature, which can be difficult for several varieties that have a short adulthood (in particular, Green Rot only is mature for two ticks, and Shimmerlily is only mature for four).
    • Another garden-related one are the harvested upgrades - seven different plants have a chance to spawn an upgrade if they're harvested when ripe. However, even the most likely to spawn of these is a 1.5% chance of spawning when the appropriate plant is harvested. It can take several gardening cycles of focusing solely on the plant in question to finally spawn them (for example, a maxed-out garden filled with Baker's Wheat only has about a 3.5% chance of producing wheat slims come harvest-time). Fortunately, once the upgrade is unlocked, it's unlocked for every subsequent ascension, and the achievement for trading in the seed catalog also gives a 5% boost to the drop rates for these harvest upgrades.
  • Lucky Seven: Most things relative to Golden Cookies involves numbers with several 7s in sequence. In contrast, the Wrath Cookies involve 6s in sequence. There are three very powerful ascension upgrades that aren't even visible for purchase unless the player's Heavenly chip count ends in 7, 777, or 777,777. The introduction of fortune cookies provide another one - if the player gets lucky and a fortune appears in the news ticker and it's clicked, seventeen of the possible fortunes provide a +7% increase to a particular building's output as well as a 7% discount on further building purchases.

  • Mad Libs Dialogue: Some of the news headlines, such as "cookies found to [improvement] in [animal]!"
  • Madness Mantra: The title of the achievement for owning 300 Time Machines.
    cookie clicker forever and forever a hundred years cookie clicker, all day long forever, forever a hundred times, over and over cookie clicker adventures dot com
  • Mage Tower: The Wizard Tower buildings, in which cookies are summoned with magic spells.
  • Magic Misfire: Spells in the Grimoire have a 15% chance to backfire and cause a bad effect.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The cursors. They click once every 10 seconds. That's 0.1 cookies per second per cursor. Sure, they can eventually be upgraded to produce more, but every building you have can do that… except the "fingers" upgrades the cursors get aren't simple matters of doubling the amount they produce, but rather giving them a set amount of extra CPS for every non-cursor 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 and more Portals, producing quadratic returns to scale, which no other unit can boast. They eventually beat out Portals at 100-to-100, and 200 Grandmas are more efficient than 100 Time Machines (which is more impressive than it sounds).
    • 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 septillions 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  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.
    • Of all things, Business Day. Ordinarily, it only affects the graphics, functioning as an inversion of Silliness Switch. However, while all holidays have an ascension upgrade, Startrade, the Business Day upgrade, increases the spawn rate of golden/wrath cookies much higher than any other, which in turn means that the bonuses from them happen much more frequently when Business Day than any other. In active play, Business Day with Startrade active results in the greatest boost to cookie production of any of the holidays.
  • Matrix Raining Code: The Javascript Console's interface sprites feature this, with it raining green Japanese text that reads "Cookie Clicker Javascript" in katakana.
  • Meat Moss: The ultimate form of the Grandmatriarchs has them fusing into horrid fleshy monstrosities that cover the earth in their flesh, which produces not slime, but sugar and cookie dough.
  • Me's a Crowd: The idea behind the You building is that since you, the player, are the one responsible for making all these cookies, why not make more of yourself to make even more cookies?
  • Minigame Zone: Dungeons are planned to feature themes based on each building, including minigames, such as a farming simulator for farms and a space shooter for shipments, as discussed on Orteil's Tumblr.
    • Now implemented with Temples (which gives the Pantheon minigame), Wizard Towers (which gives the Grimoire minigame), and Farms (which gives the Garden minigame).
  • Mining for Cookies: As expected from such a game where you can procure cookies in many absurd ways. Mining is one of the earlier options. Although the game suggests the planet is composed at least partially of 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.
  • The Multiverse: Cookie Clicker exists in a multiverse of countless "idleverses", each one with its own idle game dedicated to producing one of a specific product. Being the entrepreneur you are, you hijack other idleverses and use them to generate, what else, more cookies.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Time machines, spaceships, interdimensional travel, antimatter reactors, and even literal wizards are used to acquire cookies.
    • The "Domestic rifts" upgrade.
      You've managed to manufacture portals that are convenient enough, and legally safe enough, that you can just stick them against walls inside buildings to connect rooms together in unusual configurations. In practice, this means your employees get to have much shorter bathroom breaks.
  • My Brain Is Big: The Cortex Bakers, which is kind of a necessity if you're thinking cookies into existence. Also applies to their Grandma upgrade, the Brainy Grandmas.
  • 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 Plus 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.
    • The "Lucky" bonus from Golden Cookies and Wrath cookies was dialed back in version 2, going from either 10% of bank or 20 minutes of production (whichever is lower) to 15% of bank or 15 minutes of production (whichever is lower).
    • Godzamok was hit very hard in v2.0042. Originally it was a 3/2/1% bonus to clicking per building you sell, for the next 10 seconds, letting you get crazy gains by selling all of your cursors and farms. Now it's just a 1%/0.5%/0.25% bonus, meaning that it's a third or a fourth as effective as it used to be depending on which worship slot it's in. Despite that, it's STILL an extremely potent spirit to use for active play, as the short-term gains it can bring during a Click Frenzy or Elder Frenzy are unrivaled.
    • A new strategy was discovered using the Garden minigame that broke the game so hard that two separate steps of the process were nerfed: Cheapcaps are a plant that reduce building costs. The strategy was to plant a full field of Cheapcaps, stack their effect with a Crafty Pixie spell, and buy up buildings for cheap. Then freeze the Garden to turn off the Cheapcap effect, use the "Earth Shatterer" dragon boon to increase sell-back prices for buildings, and sell the buildings back for more than you paid to buy them. A Crafty Pixies "backfire" could be added to step 2 in order to increase profits even more. Since the Cheapcaps wouldn't age while frozen, this could be repeated at will to make infinite cookies by freezing and unfreezing the same field. The nerf came to both the Cheapcaps themselves (now have a 15% chance to die when frozen, taking away the ability to repeat the strategy endlessly with a single crop), and to sell-back pricing in general (buildings now sell back for 25% of their cost, down from 50%, and Earth Shatterer's effect is to increase it to 50%, rather than to 80%).
    • 2.021 saw a small nerf to the spell "Force the Hand of Fate", which removes the Cookie Chain effect from Golden Cookies summoned by the spell.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Especially if she's an Elder God or an Eldritch Abomination from the Cookieverse. Or if there are fifty of them, and they're overworked and pissed off.
  • Never My Fault: Thanks to the cookie industry controlling the media, the news ticker will put blame for the obesity epidemic on anything except your cookies.
  • New Game Plus:
    • Added in v.1.035 via the "Heavenly Chips" 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. As of version 1.0383, the speed baking and hardcore achievements require that you get them without unlocking the potential of your Heavenly Chips.
    • The Persistent Memory upgrade (Only purchaseable after ascending, which you're unlikely to do until after you've played through the research chain) reduces research time to just 3 minutes,
    • The Spooky Cookies, Let it Snow, and Hide-and-Seek Expert achievements, unlocked for acquiring all of the cookies for their respective seasons, significantly increase the drop rate of those cookies in future ascensions.
    • Version 2.0 adds dozens of bonuses you can purchase for Heavenly Chips; synergy bonuses, cookies while offline, starting the game with a few buildings and upgrades in place…
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Once you have the "Just Wrong" achievement from selling a Grandma, they start to say a lot of openly hostile or cryptic things. One quote in particular is relevant here— "It thought we would go away by selling us. How quaint.". As it turns out, you were right, as this gives a strange, backhanded hint towards a different method of rectifying a late-game event; While the usefulness of doing so is questionable, you can stop the Grandmapocalypse by selling ALL of your Grandmas. Turns out that selling them DID make them go away.
  • No Fair Cheating: Averted; there's even a shadow achievement (not present in the Steam version) for using a certain tricky method to directly modify the number of cookies on hand. The text does discourage it, though.note 
    • Inverted with "Uncanny Clicker," a normal achievement that all but requires faster clicking than most people can physically pull off.
  • Non-Indicative Name: According to its flavor text, cronerice doesn't look like rice and isn't related to it either. Its closest relative is the weeping willow.
  • 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.
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: The achievement system initially comes off as being a mere Bragging Rights Reward. However, unlocking achievements also increases one's "Milk" percentage, and the Kitten upgrades (helpers, workers, engineers, overseers, and managers) increase one's CpS based on the amount of Milk the player has.
  • Not Completely Useless: Two of the possible Christmas upgrades from Santa—the Lump of Coal and Itchy Sweater—provide only a 1% boost to the cookie multiplier, a far smaller bonus than those provided by any of the other Christmas upgrades. However, as with all Christmas upgrades, they come at a relatively low price, giving more payoff for their worth than most of the flavored cookies.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Provided you have sufficient magic and don't have the Grandmapocalypse running, you can use the Resurrect Abomination spell to gauge whether a spell will backfire or not, as it fails and uses no magic but still tells you whether the spell backfired or not.
    • Golden Switch greatly increases your production, but disables Golden Cookies and costs a hour's worth of cookies to toggle. It's intended to be used during long periods of inaction. It also happens to work very well with anything that gives you a lot of cookie-hours in a short time, such as Click Frenzies and Garden harvests.
    • "Stretch Time" was primarily made to extend (or cut, if the spell backfires) Golden Cookie buffs. However, it can also increase the length of other buffs, such as Haggler's Charm or the Sugar Rush. Additionally, if the player knows in advance that the spell will backfire, then it can be used to shorten any clotting and/or rusting of CPS.
    • As mentioned under Cursed with Awesome, Cursed Finger stops all cookie production in exchange for making clicks worth 10 (or 22 with the Get Lucky upgrade) seconds of CPS. It's also useful for planting crops at little-to-no cost, or for buying upgrades whose cost scales with CPS.
  • Number of the Beast: There is a liberal use of sixes in certain items, such as the portals, the Grandmapocalypse, and their respective upgrades. Many of the possible outcomes of clicking a Wrath Cookie involve 666 and variations thereof, namely the Elder Frenzy, which provides a boost of 666x for (initially) 6 seconds.
  • 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. Another related to a particular bug with how imported/exported saves would deal with wrinklers. It was possible, via using different computers/browsers, to save how many cookies wrinklers had withered, perform a reset, then restore the wrinklers with the amount they had withered into the new game. The wrinklers could then be popped to harvest millions or billions of cookies at once—presuming there were enough, it was possible to immediately get all three Speed Baking achievements as well as Hardcore and True Neverclick within the first minute of the new game. This was patched out as of 1.0402.
    • The percentage bonuses were completely useless in late game with a million+ bonus from Heavenly Chips in place already. Come 2.0, all bonuses are multiplicative.
  • Oculothorax: The final form of Santa Claus is a floating tentacled white orb with a single red eye.
  • Odd Job Gods: The news ticker speculates about these. Goddess of atheism, anyone?
  • The Old Gods: The Elder Gods who become more erratic and deformed as you ignore their demands.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: During Business Day, where all buildings get another name, the Prism becomes the "Corporate Country", evoking this trope. The three next buildings take it even further, with the Chancemaker allowing you to buy planets instead of mere countries, then buying senate seats, then finally controlling the way people even think using the "Doctrine" that replaces Javascript Consoles.
  • Only Sane Man: 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.
  • Ouroboros: One of the upgrades for the Fractal Engine (introduced in the 2.016 update) is the Chocolate Ouroboros. Fitting, since Fractal Engines are designed to create more cookies from other preexisting cookies, which would be consumed to make even more cookies, etc.
    "Forever eating its own tail and digesting itself, in a metabolically dubious tale of delicious tragedy."
  • Overly-Long Gag: Invoked by the achievement you get from having a Cookies Per Second of 10 quintillion.
    There's really no hard limit to how long these achievement names can be and to be quite honest I'm rather curious to see how far we can go.
    Adolphus W. Green (1844-1917) started as the Principal of the Groton School in 1864. By 1865, he became second assistant librarian at the New York Mercantile Library; from 1867 to 1869, he was promoted to full librarian. From 1869 to 1873, he worked for Evarts, Southmayd & Choate, a law firm co-founded by William M. Evarts, Charles Ferdinand Southmayd and Joseph Hodges Choate. He was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in 1873.
    Anyway, how's your day been?
  • Pinball Scoring: Some of the achievements require you to bake decillions of cookies. To unlock everything this game has to offer, you will have to bake orders of magnitude more than that. The "have X number of building" achievements are arguably the worst offenders, as earning them can cost over a sexdecillion cookies.
  • Planet Heck: The "Cookieverse" is pretty thinly-disguised. Many of the cookie amounts involving the portals include the Number of the Beast, and one of the upgrades is even called Soul Bond.
  • Poison Mushroom: More often than not, Wrath Cookies, the red Evil Counterpart to the Golden Cookies. The most common outcomes are "Ruin" (which reduces the cookies in your bank by 5%), Clot (which halves your production for 66 seconds), and building-related debuffs (which "rusts" your production by 10% for every building of a random type). However, the two most powerful buffs in the game are exclusive to Wrath Cookies; Elder Frenzy (which increases your production to 666 times its normal rate for a very short time) and Cursed Finger (which halts your production completely for 10/20 seconds, but makes every click worth 10/22 seconds of production).
  • 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 Jetmint, Cherrysilver, Astrofudge, Albascream, Iridiyum and Glucosmium upgrade tiers surround their icons with green, red, purple, gold, rainbow, and reddish-orange glows respectively.
  • Practical Currency: The banks tell you that cookies are a currency and a future money replacement and cookies can be eaten.
  • Pun:
    • The description of the "Antimony" upgrade, which doubles the output of alchemy labs: "Actually worth a lot of mony."
    • The flavor text of the many of the Kitten upgrades, which include (but are not limited to): "meow may I help you", "my purrpose is to serve you, sir", and "that's not gonna paws any problems, sir".
    • On four of the twenty easter egg upgrades, namely on Ostrich Egg, Cassowary Egg, Salmon Roe, and Frogspawn, you can find puns based on the names of the respective animals in the upgrade descriptions. They are one more cringeworthy than the next.
    • When you put your cursor on a kitten upgrade, rather than telling the player to click on it to purchase it, the game tells the player to purrchase the upgrade.
  • Punny Name:
    • All of the gods in the temples' Pantheon have names that are puns, like the cow-headed Mokalsium ("More Calcium") who powers up the bonuses you get from milk, or Rigidel the God of Order.
    • Several of the upgrade tiers (which are only seen upon purchasing the cosmetic "Label Printer" heavenly upgrade), such as Berrylium (Berry and Beryllium) and Iridiyum (Iridium and Yum).
  • Random Effect Spell: The Wrath 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 "Click frenzy" effects, or a rare "Elder Frenzy" buff that vastly outstrips every single other cookie effect in the game.
    • Gambler's Fever Dream is a literal Random Effect Spell. It casts a random spell for half its magic cost, with twice the chance of backfiring. While this may seem useless, it is an extremely important spell in RNG manipulation to get more useful effects out of important spells like Force the Hand of Fate (which is itself a Random Effect Spell).
  • Random Drops:
    • If the Halloween season is activated, 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 have already dropped—you only have a 1 in 140 chance of getting the one type you don't have. The Reindeer in the Christmas update are the same, dropping one of seven Christmas-themed cookies. Both wrinklers and Golden/Wrath Cookies can trigger random drops of eggs during the Easter season.
    • Each time you upgrade Santa's form, one of fourteen Christmas-themed upgrades becomes available in the store. The order you get the fourteen is entirely random, and two of them are much less useful than the others (A Lump of Coal and An Itchy Sweater, naturally). The final fifteenth upgrade is always fixed as Santa's Dominion, however.
    • Seven plants in the garden minigame drop upgrades that stay permanently unlocked (so that they can be bought immediately after a reset), but they're all at rather low drop rates, with one only having a 0.1% chance of dropping by default. Getting the achievement for trading in a complete seed catalogue distinctly improves the odds, however. The plants themselves function like this, with them randomly having a chance of producing a hybrid under the right conditions, and meddleweed having a chance at dropping one of two fungi into its old location if uprooted when mature, with the amount of time it's been in the ground improving the chance of dropping one.
    • When you have "Fortune Cookies" prestige upgrade, fortunes may appear in the news ticker. Clicking them grants you special fortune upgrades. Like with some other random drops, collecting all of them gives you an achievement that increases fortunes' frequency, and additionally lets you randomly keep some fortune upgrades through an ascension.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • There's a secret "Just plain lucky" achievement, which you have a 1 in 1,000,000 (formerly 500,000) chance of getting each second. Several days of idling the game will probably be enough.
    • Golden Cookies have about a 1% chance of starting a "Cookie Chain," where you can gain a lot of cookies by quickly clicking a bunch of golden ones as they appear. Also, as an Easter Egg, golden cookies will sometimes display a nonsensical message like "Dough elasticity halved for 66 seconds!" But the chance of this occurring is so low (about 1 in 20,000) that you'll almost certainly never see any of them unless you spend every waking hour for months clicking on golden cookies (even with all the upgrades that make them appear more often, they show up only once every two minutes on average).
  • Recursive Reality: Mentioned in one of the "news" feeds.
    "The universe pretty much loops on itself," suggests researcher; "it's cookies all the way down."
    • The "Nested universe theory" upgrade for the Fractal Engines utilizes universes within subatomic particles to make more cookies.
  • Reincarnation: The Ascension system, which allows you to start a new run by exchanging your cookies for a new currency called Heavenly Chips, which are used to purchase special upgrades.
  • Ret-Gone: One of the side effects of the antimatter condenser, according to the "news" feeds:
    News : whole town seemingly swallowed by antimatter-induced black hole; more reliable sources affirm town "never really existed"!
  • Retraux: Aside from the high-res cookies, backgrounds, and text, the game is done in 16-bit sprites.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: The Grandmas will always remember if you sold one of them, even after an Ascension.
    • The news ticker will talk about Time Machine usage altering the past in terms such as "inexplicably replaced", implying people remember what it used to be like.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: The Cosmic Grandmas are basically like the original Grandmas but with larger foreheads, extra legs and purple skin.
  • Rule of Funny: The news ticker headlines have a tendency to contradict each other. The reason? Almost certainly this trope.
  • Running Gag: "A nice grandma to bake more cookies." Every new grandma type's Flavor Text follows the same format. The description even gets at a loss for words when it sees the Cosmic Grandmas.
  • Running Gag Stumbles: The chocolate butter biscuit series are big milestone upgrades for owning certain numbers of every building. While they all bear the player's face, each one is fancier than the last, going from just a cookie with your face engraved on it to cookies that contain the power of multiple hydrogen bombs or cookies that somehow show the stars themselves align in the outline of your face. The last of the series, however, is just a plain cookie with butter on it, which doesn't resemble anything in particular.

  • Samus Is a Girl: The news writer that makes the headlines at the top of the screen is female, as revealed by a single easily-missed headline. It's one of five that can randomly appear after purchasing the first Fractal Engine, and by this point the player likely has dozens or even hundreds of possible headlines that could display unlocked through purchases and achievements.
  • Santa Claus: He's upgradeable, too.
  • Sarcasm Failure: There's a Running Gag with the Grandma's description in each upgrade, but the narrator has no idea what to say when seeing the Cosmic Grandmas.
    "A nice thing to... uh... cookies."
  • Save Scumming:
    • One somewhat counter-intuitive strategy involves allowing the Grandmapocalypse to proceed to its final stage, turning all the golden cookies into wrath 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. Just hope that the game doesn't autosave after you get a negative effect.
    • Players can also save right before they ascend so that if they find out that they don't have enough Heavenly Chips to get their desired upgrades (or accidentally buy an unwanted one), then they can refresh the page and go back to stocking up Chips. This is especially useful if you're trying to get the "shy" Lucky upgrades.
    • Wrinklers are saved when you refresh, so popping all your Wrinklers and refreshing if you don't get Halloween cookies or Easter Eggs is a valid strategy.
    • Force the Hand of Fate's outcome is consistent when you reload your save. If you know this, you can save the game, cast the spell to see what effect you get, then reload, knowing that the next time you cast the spell, you'll get the same outcome. Getting a Clicking Frenzy, or even a Dragonflight, combined with a Frenzy and a building bonus at once is a powerful combination.
    • Another is that whether or not a spell will backfire is consistent upon a reloaded save (and is consistent for at least two subsequent spells). Some players will reload to make sure a particular spell will land or backfire (for the latter, Summon Crafty Pixies or Diminish Ineptitude are popular since their effects are particularly easy to work around). Gambler's Fever Dream, however, uses a separate roll (if any spell you cast will backfire on next cast, Gambler's Fever Dream can have a different outcome, but that outcome is internally consistent upon reloads, both the spell it chooses and land/backfire).
    • You can spend a sugar lump to not only restore a soil change, but also activate a tick with three times the normal mutation rate. By saving right before spending the lump, you can greatly expedite the process of mutating plants. Even moreso if you've unlocked the woodchips soil, which itself has a 3x mutation rate.
  • 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.
    • Flavor Text for the Elder Pact upgrade:
    "Each Grandma gains +1 base CpS for each 20 portals. Note: this is a bad idea."
    • All of the above could possibly count as subversions, because given the right circumstances the Grandmapocalypse and its consequences can be beneficial to the player.
  • 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 homemade 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!"
  • Serious Business: Both in-game with Business Day Season and treated as such by its players, as seen from Cookie Clicker Wiki's Expected Long Term Cookie Production page.
  • Soul Power: An upgrade for the Cookie Portal, complete with damning contracts.
  • Shout-Out: See here.
  • Silliness Switch:
    • Inverted by "Business Day", which turns the game's aesthetic into a duller, more realistic cookie manufacturing business theme.
    • Played straight with the "scary stuff" switch in the options menu, which when turned off will plaster googly eyes onto Wrinklers and give Grandmas thick angry eyebrows during the Grandmapocalypse, among other things.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    "Unravelling the fabric of reality just makes these cookies so much tastier," claims scientist.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: One of the "news" feeds shows a person being ostracized by his family for being allergic to cookies. invoked
    News : man found allergic to cookies; "what a weirdo", says family.
  • Speed Run Reward: There are three shadow achievements for reaching your first million cookies on a playthrough in 35, 25, and 15 minutes. 35 is possible. 25 is tricky. 15 requires a good measure of luck, since (short of cheating) achieving it is reliant on getting the right Golden Cookies to boost your production.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • "Indentured servitude." - grandma
    • It was changed recently, but not too long ago, guess where the game saved your data? A cookie. At least the developers acknowledged the pun when they announced the change.
    • Guess what the world is invaded by during the "Grandmapocalypse": Demonic Grandmas, in other words: Elder-ritch Horrors.
      • Oh, and they are led by the Elder Gods.
    • Yet another grandma-related pun: Apparently, an alternate name for the Binary Grandmas are not-a-number grandmas, AKA NaNs.note 
    • During Easter, you can get a wide variety of eggs. One of them is (what else?) a Cookie Egg. The flavour text indicates "The shell appears to be chipped." This could be taken one of two ways—the shell's taken a bit of damage, or that it has chocolate chips.
    • One of the possible news ticker headlines is "minor cookie-related incident turns whole town to ashes; neighboring cities asked to chip in for reconstruction.
  • Stock Market Game: The game introduces a rather complex Stock Market minigame with its Bank buildings, where you can buy and sell building-themed resource stocks with cookies, getting an office to increase the capacity of stocks you can have, stockbroker grandmas to lower extra overhead costs, and cookie loans.
  • Surprise Incest: Implied by the flavor text for the upgrade "Time paradox resolver".
    No more fooling around with your own grandmother!
  • Take That!:
    • When you acquire the Idleverse building, the news ticker will occasionally state that comic book writers are pointing to the existence of an actual multiverse to defend dubious plot points, insisting that they aren't "hackneyed and contrived".
    • The Flavor Text for the "PHP Containment Vats" upgrade (and the name of the upgrade itself)note 
    "In essence, these are large server chambers meant to trap rogue PHP code, allowing it to execute far away from your javascript where it can do minimal harm."
  • Take That, Audience!: As of v.2 of the game, one for naming your bakery after Orteil, the game's creator. :As revealed in the flavor text of the shadow achievement for doing so, "God Complex," you take a −1% penalty on your global production as long as you try "usurping" his name. You take another −1% if you misspell it as "Ortiel".
  • 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.
  • Team Spirit: You'll get a lot more out of your wrinklers with a full team of ten (or twelve, with the right upgrade).
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Averted with the Binary Grandmas, the Grandma upgrade for the Javascript Consoles. They still offer a boost to both themselves and the Consoles, and are even dressed like stereotypical hackers. Even moreso if you purchase the "Script grannies" Synergy Upgrade, which is said to employ energy drink-fueled Grandmas to hack more cookies from cyberspace.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know:
    "Ancient baking artifacts found on other planets. 'Terrifying implications,' say experts."
  • Time Machine: A later building you'll be able to purchase (as of version 1.036) which initially cost 123,456,789 cookies.
  • Time Travel: Complete with time machines and, in Cookie Clicker Classic, time travelling grandmas.
  • Tongue Twister: At the end of the "Taller Tellers" upgrade description:
    "Able to process a higher amount of transactions. Careful though, as taller tellers tell tall tales."
  • Took a Level in Badass: The player character. You start as a unpopular loser who can't even bake a decent cookie, and eventually become an all-powerful god who controls the fabric of reality (and uses this power to turn everything into cookies). And all this because nobody would eat your first batch.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Grandmas, while initially friendly and warm, leave increasingly hostile messages as you hire more of them. They also leave hostile messages after the player sells one, though that's more understandable.
  • Undesirable Prize: Every time one of the Santa upgrades is purchased in Christmas Mode, one of fourteen upgrades is randomly unlocked. Two, the Lump of Coal and the Itchy Sweater, merely increase the multiplier on cookie production by +1%. Sure, they're better upgrades, on a percentage-increase-per-cookie-spent level, than any percentage upgrade available outside of the Santa upgrades. However, given how effective the other Santa upgrades are, they don't feel like much of a prize and players invariably hope that they are the last two unlocked.
    • Easter Mode adds another in "egg." Other upgrades from Easter give things like a +1% multiplier to every other type of production (including other multipliers, potentially huge), increases to clicking power, or reduced building prices. However, "egg" gives +9 to production. Not +9%, not +9 with any multiplier outside of the usual multipliers. It literally just gives you nine cookies every second. It costs 100 trillion to purchase, has no upgrades to improve it, and you don't even need to purchase it (there's an achievement related to it, but unlocking the ability to purchase it is all that's required).
  • Unobtainium: The fifth mouse upgrade is explicitly called the Unobtainium Mouse.
  • Villain Protagonist: In the classic industrial Protagonist Journey to Villain sense. To put it simply, you play as a regular person who just wants to bake cookies for people to enjoy; and you eventually become a greedy Corrupt Corporate Executive who employs child and elderly labor, has mining operations hollowing out the planet, and sweeps work-related deaths under the rug every day. And eventually, go through an A God Am I Phase as you literally warp reality in the name of higher and higher success.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: With the introduction of the "You" building (clones of yourself), you have the option to customize your clones' appearance in the main building view, with a pretty good number of options for colors, facial features, hairstyles, and accessories. By default, Yous resemble bald dark gray humans.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • There's an achievement for selling your grandma (or anything that counts as selling your grandma, which includes feeding her to a dragon), and no downside to getting it besides What the Hell, Player? messages.
    • The garden minigame features several plants that literally have no upside, with most of those actually putting debuffs on production (such as the Brown Mold, which puts a -1% debuff on production). However, despite what it might seem, it pays to let them mature for two reasons. One, you can only get their seed when harvested as a mature plant, and you need to harvest every seed for an achievement (plus, you can get 10 sugar lumps for trading in a full set of seeds). Two, over half of the plants, including some that can be used in game-breaking combos, are only available either directly by cross-breeding with these debuffers or cross-breeding with the results of these debuffers (more than half of the plants are ultimately descended from the worthless Meddleweed).
  • 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.
    "I thought you loved me."
    "News: Cookie manufacturer downsizes, sells own grandmother!"
    "It tried to get rid of me, the filthy thing!" - grandma"
    "It thought it could get rid of us by selling us, how quaint." -grandma
    • Upgrading Krumblor, the Cookie Dragon, past a certain point requires sacrificing a number of buildings, in sequence. Yes, at least three of the Krumblor upgrades involve sacrificing grandmas, and all three count for earning "Just Wrong," very strongly suggesting that you literally feed grandmas to the dragon.
  • Wham Episode: Initiating the beginning of the Grandmapocalypse causes the darkly funny messages to take a turn for the worse, and for various elements of the game to become increasingly corrupted.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: As of the 2.0042 update, the Chancemaker building, which manipulates probability to make cookies spontaneously appear. Once the first one is built, the ticker produces news stories which show ridiculous levels of probability manipulation happening in the world.
  • A Wizard Did It: One of the debug/cheat upgrades is "Magic shenanigans," which gives you 1000x cookie production, because "It's magic. I ain't gotta explain sh🍪t." (Yes, the last word is censored by replacing the "i" with a cookie.)
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: Referenced in the description for the Hardtack upgrade, from the Box of Not-Cookies. Hardtack, also known as ship's biscuit, is a kind of biscuit made with nothing more than flour, water and maybe a little salt. It would turn rock-hard not long after baking, which made it basically nonperishable, and thus an important mainstay aboard ships and on long overland journeys in the days before reliable canned food.
    "Extremely hard and, if we're being honest, extremely tack. If you're considering eating this as a fun snack, you probably have other things to worry about than this game, like getting scurvy or your crew fomenting mutiny."
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Zig-Zagged:
    • One of the status updates mentions a defective alchemy lab that was "found to turn cookies into useless gold."
    • A different message states that "National gold reserves dwindle as more and more of the precious mineral is turned to cookies."
  • You Bastard!:
    • The game tells the player that you could have prevented the Grandmaocalypse if they had stopped while they were still ahead.
    • One of the new upgrades in the holiday update (v.1.04) is the Gingerbread Man cookie, which references this:
    Gingerbread Men (Flavor Text): You like to bite off the legs first, right? How about tearing off the arms? You sick monster.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Pretty much the whole point of the Cortex Bakers, who create cookies by dreaming them into existence.
  • Zeerust: The time machine grandmas in the classic version only were a clear nod to this. 1.031 and beyond features pilgrim grandmas instead.

The Dungeon Beta contains examples of:

    Dungeon Beta 
  • Aborted Arc: The Dungeon idea in general; it showed up in a few betas but ultimately was abandoned. Orteil has hinted he wants to look into it again, but is focusing on less intensive mini-games for now.
  • Speech Impediment: Doe speaks with a clear stutter, which is lampshaded at times.
  • Underground Monkey: As you progress in the dungeons, upgraded versions of common enemies appear in the classic fashion; Doughling to Elder Doughling, et cetera.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Initially, it looks like a Stylistic Suck game where you click on a cookie to make cookies. As the buildings and upgrades start to appear, and clicking the cookie becomes relatively ineffective, it turns into an Idle Game (although golden cookie clicking can speed up your cookie-generating significantly). The dungeons beta shifts dramatically, suddenly launching a procedurally-generated dungeon crawler when you have 50 factories.