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Video Game / Sandcastle Builder

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Badge Earned: Redundant Redundancy
Badge Earned: Notified
Badge Earned: Redundant
— The first messages you see when you open the game

Sandcastle Builder is an Idle Game by one Eternal Density as a fan-made companion to xkcd: Time. It was first available on September 4, 2013. The goal of the game seems simple, but isn't. You start out with a clickable image of a beach from xkcd: Time. One click digs one sand, and one sand produces one castle. This seems straightforward, but the amount of sand needed per castle increases following the Fibonacci Sequence. Once you've accumulated enough castles, you'll be able to purchase tools which produce sand automatically, other tools to produce castles at certain intervals, and boosts which let you produce sand and castles even faster. Soon you won't need to click to dig sand manually, but there quickly becomes other reasons to click. Then things get more and more complicated with 'redundakitties', 'ninja', 'the Department of Redundancy Department', 'Judgement Dip', and Time Travel. Also the whole thing is packed full of obscure references and made up words from the xkcd forum.

Sandcastle Builder contains examples of:

  • Anti-Grinding: This first appears in clicking the beach to collect sand, as the cost of castles will increase based on the number built until ONG! resets the cost.
  • Auto-Save: This is a purchasable upgrade when the player manually saves the game 20 times.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": many words are replaced with counterparts from the xkcd: Time forum thread, just to add "flavour":
    • The word "day" is always replaced with "dip".
    • Molpies are just cute animals.
    • Vital game functions such as "partial reset" and "complete reset" are confusingly named "Molpy Down" and "Coma."
    • "big" is replaced by "seaish."
    • The numerical value NaN (Not a Number, which results from undefined operations such as subtracting infinity from infinity or multiplying infinity by 0) is displayed as "Mustard."
  • Cap:
    • Maximum finite value for anything is 1.7976931348623157e+308 - anything higher causes the value to become Infinite. This is a feature of 64-bit floating-point notation.
    • Production Control can't be upgraded past 6e+51 at which point the player is awarded the "Nope!" badge.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Literally — they're a group of kittens with neckties who provide you with new technologies.
  • Discount Card: There's a 40% discount from a random boost, which helps when dealing with hard-to-get resources, but less so when the price cost is infinite.
  • Guide Dang It!: The games progression goes all over the place. In many places you can end up putting in effort into an area that would be trivialized though other means, while others, doing that painful process to push just an inch more will unlock a useful boost.
  • Mini-Game: Logicats, which involve solving a boolean logic problem, and the "Monty Haul Problem".
  • Minus World: intentional example: instead of completely plugging a glitch with Temporal Rift, the developer made it a portal to the 'Minus Worlds', which have their images and text flipped.
  • Monty Hall Problem: Played with: the rules as to whether a goat is displayed to the player are hidden to make analysis 'hidden', plus you get to collect goats. To add to the confusion, in-game it is named "Monty Haul Problem".
  • Monty Haul: Once you have infinite Sandcastles, you're only getting started.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Typos gradually appear and increase in number over time.
  • Panthera Awesome: Inspired by 'Lucky', the big cat in xkcd: Time, are the 'Not Lucky' reward, and boosts such as 'Panther Salve', 'Panther Poke', and 'Panther Glaze'.
  • Save Scumming: It is possible to save and reload the game at certain points to get the best result, or at least avoid a negative one (e.g. if you have enough goats, you can reload to recover lost castles.) However, some save scumming tactics are countered such as locking the Monty Haul Problem and increasing its price.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Panther Glaze is written in the style of Burma-Shave (Panther Salve was basically the forum version of Burma Shave)
    • The Time Travel boost's messages and related badges are full of references to various time travel-related works, especially Back to the Future.