What is Pokéclicker?
Pokémon are once again the talk of the web, especially on Twitch with PokéClicker. Indeed, the little creatures are at the heart of a new phenomenon born on Twitch thanks to (because of?) Shisheyu_Mayamoto and is spreading from stream to stream, from streamer to viewer and from viewer to community on Discord. But what exactly is PokéClicker?
It's all in the name. PokéClicker is nothing more than a Clicker Game in the world of Pokémon. But in case you don't know what a Clicker Game is, it is a sub-genre of the Idle GameA game that continues to play for you, even if you turn the game off.
Clicker games, more specifically, have mechanics based on repeated clicks on an object or character. Imagine a monster with 10 life points, click it 10 times and it dies! You then get experience to increase the power of your clicks and money to manage systems that automatically click on your opponents.
It is a genre that was born in the early 2000s within MMOs themselves before becoming full-fledged games in the great Flash era, until their democratisation thanks to Facebook. The best known representatives include games such as Cookie Clickers or even Clicker HeroesThere are thousands of different variations.
What is PokéClicker anyway?
With such a widespread genre, you'd almost wonder why no one thought of making a Pokémon Clicker Game before now, right? Well, actually, there have been quite a few. Some emulated the success of Cookie Clickers by replacing biscuits with berries, others already allowed you to battle Pokémon. Even PokéClicker is actually older than it looks. Even though its popularity exploded a few days ago, the game has actually been around for about 3 years and had simply remained under the French radar.
What makes PokéClicker different from other games is its fidelity to the original game and the richness of its subsystems. Where most clickers only require you to click more and more on objectives with exponential hit points, PokéClicker has integrated a real progression system which is modeled after the journeys undertaken in the main Pokémon saga.
You start in the Palette Town of Kanto by choosing your starting Pokémon, and progress along the roads and through the towns until you reach the Pokémon League. After each battle, you can choose whether or not to capture the defeated Pokémon. Since the player's power is equal to the sum of the power of all the different Pokémon they have captured, PokéClickers stays true to the adage "Catch them all".
And catching them all is all the more important because once a region's League is over, you have to complete the entire Pokédex of the area to move on to the next region. The Pokémon you encounter in each area correspond to where they are in the original games, allowing the license faithful to to be on familiar groundIt's as if they're being rewarded for the knowledge they've accumulated over the years. Capturing the majority of creatures is not a problem, it's when you look at the individual cases that the task becomes more complex and PokéClicker's subsystems become more important.
But what should be done?
Unlike most clickers, PokéClicker still requires some involvement from the player. Choosing which road to stand on and managing your Pokéball count is just the beginning. PokéClicker includes dungeons to be covered in a limited time, a berry growing system able to attract wild Pokémon, a mining mini-game to collect evolution stones or a nursery to manage Pokémon spawns and eggs. Each of these subsystems has its own energy management, which means that PokéClicker ultimately embeds multiple Idle Games into a single game.
There is ultimately so much to do and manage that you are constantly moving from one activity to another. PokéClicker excels at drawing you into a time loop of satisfying micro-activities. As soon as the berries are planted, you're off to mine until the nursery is done with your eggs and it's time to harvest your berries. And if the last Pokémon of a region are a bit long to capture and could make you give up the game, the euphoria of starting a new region where everything goes fast again puts us back in the infernal loop.
This is the biggest pitfall of PokéClicker, since like all games of this genre, it is extremely addictive. We would clearly advise against playing the game if you have difficulty resisting distractions, have exams coming up or work during the day. PokéClicker easily makes the minutes, even hours, disappear without you even noticing. Its constant notifications pull you out of your concentration to remind you of it like sirens. You hear the sound of a berry sprouting, think you're just going to harvest it and... oh well, can I mine a bit too? Let's do that... and then this. And that too. And then, half an hour later, you realise that you have been completely absorbed and forgotten what you were doing before.
Where does the hype come from?
Anything remotely related to Pokémon has the potential to go viral. The licence is so well established and loved that it benefits from an extraordinary sympathy capital. It's even quite incredible to see the regularity with which projects around Pokémon, official or not, become the centre of attention on the internet for a few days or weeks. One thinks in particular of TwitchPlaysPokémon in 2014 or in PokémonGO in 2016.
In the case of PokéClicker, we are of course dealing with an unofficial game, so it could disappear at any time if The Pokémon Company's lawyers get involved. Especially when the game starts to gain a lot of followers. Yet the game has been around for several years. So to whom do we owe this recent popularity in France (for better or for worse)? To Twitch, and more particularly to a streamer, Shisheyu_Mayamoto.
While many streamers like Laink, Jeel, DFG or even Ponce started to play the game, it was Shisheyu who first put his finger in the game. So we wanted to ask him a few questions on the subject.
Mandatory: How does it feel to be the first addict to convert everyone to PokéClicker?
Shisheyu : I laughed a lot when I saw the addiction spreading on the French streaming, but there is still a bit of guilt about all the lost time it caused. Afterwards, the game was bound to cause this phase one day. That I was one of the first to play it live is a simple coincidence.
Mandatory: How did you hear about PokéClicker?
Shisheyu : There is a chat room for games like this on my community's Discord. Many people have been playing it regularly for 6 months. After many people refused to play it in stream, I still wanted to try it.
Mandatory: What do you like about the game or Clickers in general?
Shisheyu : Clickers are games where the brain's reward cycle is continuous, provided you are receptive to that kind of stimulus, of course. Overall, it's all about filling gauges everywhere and there's a certain kind of busyness that comes out of it. For a stressed person like me, it keeps me busy without biting my nails. There are also dangers, as these games can easily lead to addiction and a fear of not progressing fast enough. So you spend a lot of time and energy on them without realising it. This can quickly affect real life.
Mandatory: How much time per day do you actively play it?
Shisheyu : A lot at the beginning, maybe 6 or 7 hours, but since a good week I play mainly passively (idle) with probably 1 hour maximum of active play per day. This is also the principle of these games, you have to prepare the ground at the beginning to be able to play passively.
Mandatory: Do you have any idea when you will stop?
Shisheyu : I think I'll stop when I've completed the Pokédex of available areas. Maybe I'll push through to the end of the achievements. But certainly not after all the shinys.