Cookie Clicker and Banana Bananza

Earlier this week, I was browsing the XBLIG marketplace when I came across a game that caught my attention. It featured two lesbians on the cover making out and suggestively wielding bananas like they were dildos. I’m not kidding. The game, Banana Bananza, was pulled today from the XBLIG market place. I guess having two chicks make like they’re going to fuck each-other with a banana is just the sort of thing that gets you yanked. By the way, when that happens with an XBLIG you’ve already bought, they WILL remove your ability to play the game from your Xbox. Check it out. Here’s what it looks like on my “recent” tab from the dashboard.

Banana 2

Here’s what it looks like when you try to boot it up.

Banana 3

Sucks, huh? But that’s how it works. If MS deems a game unsuitable for the marketplace, they can delete your ability to play it. No refund. Welcome to the digital age.

I actually did buy it. I figured, why not? Among other things, I live in the San Fransisco Bay Area and I support gay rights, so I’m going to Hell anyway. More over, I can be just as cynical as game developers. These games get attention, and not just for devs. My most popular reviews are all, sadly, games with anime-style graphics and lots of boobies. If not for the fact that I’ve heard from a lot of regular readers who discovered me and the XBLIG scene from those reviews, I unquestionably would be leaving them alone. It makes me wonder if the boob games have been an overall positive for XBLIG as a whole.

I’m being dead serious.

Anyway, Banana was the worst game I’ve ever played in my entire life. I’m not joking. I found out it was based on a popular free web game called Cookie Clicker. The idea being you would press A to “pick a banana” and watch a counter go up. After picking enough bananas, you could spend those on upgrades that pick the bananas automatically for you. And that’s the entirety of the game. But here’s the weird part: people who were making fun of this lazy version of Cookie Clicker were also warning me to not actually try Cookie Clicker myself. For fear of losing me. “We know you. We know your addictive personality. Please don’t Cathy. We all love you.” I was thinking “oh come ON, any game that could have inspired this can’t possibly win me over.

The original marketplace page for Banana had no screenshots of the "gameplay" so I took one myself. This is the entirety of the game.

The original marketplace page for Banana had no screenshots of the “gameplay” so I took one myself. This is the entirety of the game.

50+ hours later, with my index finger swollen from all the clicking, I have to admit, yea, they were right. I was legitimately addicted to Cookie Clicker, which is less a game and more a narcotic, only more legal and dangerous to your relationships.

So yes, you click a cookie to earn cookies which you spend on “buildings” that produce more cookies, or bonus items that increase the amount of cookies you can earn. I vastly underestimated how quickly and poorly the XBLIG clone was handled, because Cookie Clicker has a lot more going for it than just purchasing upgrades and watching cookies roll in. For starters, the XBLIG clone only had six possible things you could buy, and those things couldn’t be upgraded. Cookie Clicker has twelve, all of which can be upgraded multiple times to be more productive. There’s also bonus cookies that appear randomly somewhere on the screen that set off random special effects. There’s holiday-themed special events that unlock new upgrades. There’s even an end game involving the Grandmas you hire. Plus, you know, it’s free. As opposed to not free.

That thing in the corner is Santa Claus. Don't ask.

That thing in the corner is Santa Claus. Don’t ask.

Just playing Cookie Clicker earned me a lot of scorn and “you’re not a gamer” ridicule from the usual gang of idiots. I don’t understand it myself. How do we, as a community, broaden our horizons if we don’t explore every facet of gaming. Especially stuff that’s popular, and Cookie Clicker is popular. And I can totally see why. Some things are enjoyable on a level that defies explanation. Why do people just sit around and pop bubble wrap? I have no clue. And I have no clue why I spent so long watching a glorified number counter go up like I did with Cookie Clicker. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it.

IGC_ApprovedCookie Clicker was developed by Orteil (who I think is now legally my dealer)

Banana Bananza is no longer available.

Cookie Clicker is Chick-Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard. Banana Bananza is most certainly not.

Check out a review of Banana Bananza before it was pulled from the market from my buddy Tim Hurley of TheXBLIG.com

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11 Responses to Cookie Clicker and Banana Bananza

  1. Pingback: REVIEW: Banana Bananza | the / . / XBLIG

  2. tarhik says:

    There used to be a game called “Twin Blades” by “Press Start Studios”. It was a very good game, although a little bit pricy. They did well in XBLIG and Windows Phone. Then they decided to port it to PSP, where they got a raiting of “M” for “Mature”. Since gamers from any age can access the marketplace, they got pulled out of the Xbox.

    However, I can still play that game. I got the original one, the one with red blood spatter. The images are still there too.

    • I have no explanation for that. I do know that, if a game is pulled because of overt sexual content, they will lock it out. Presumably so as to pretend it never existed and thus not damage Xbox’s image. And Banana Bananza was probably yanked over the cover art.

      I support the position. I really do. They’re trying to build a brand here. Having games of that nature is bad for business. There is a place and a market for them, and that’s not really it. I also think the cover art is hugely misleading for the type of demographic they were aiming for. I don’t support not refunding those that bought the game, since it’s not their fault the system for approving indies on the Xbox 360 is so lax and vulnerable to abuse. They bred that atmosphere, so they kind of need to own it.

      • Should say I know the reason behind the game being pulled.

        1) As of Last Tuesday (April 1st oddly) an update was released for Banana Bananza which made the game unplayable.

        2) I bugged the hell out of Microsoft when I found out it was broke (when I went to get a picture of the gameplay itself). I seriously was an annoying pest. I initially tweeted at them then posted in two support forums of theirs about it. The simple reason was the game was not playable and being sold.

        That error screen you’re seeing is not because the game was removed that is what happened to the game after a recent update to it. I have to think if I hadn’t pestered Microsoft and essentially posted the review on Destructoid with the line “This is a Scam, Microsoft are taking money from the sale of a broken game and scamming consumers” then honestly I wonder if the game would still be up now.

        • I was never prompted to update the game, and it *always* prompts you to update XBLIGs. I also know that it was being reported by MVPs to Microsoft for its flagrant violations of the evil checklist.

      • gryzorgames says:

        Uh..what market? DLsite? Last I checked, we’re still stuck with an industry of stingy prudes peeking over our shoulder making sure we’re not having ‘that’ kind of fun with our games. Steam, Desura, even “open” mobile platforms are no better. Adult games will always be stuck in a ghetto as long as this attitude of ‘go elsewhere with your filth!’ prevails.

        I mean, yeah, XBLIG is Microsoft’s turf and they can do as they please with it; but I find it discouraging that softcore (at worst) level titillation can still get a game pulled.

        To be clear, I’m also no fan of lazily made games that use bad pinup art and outright deception to trick people out of their money. Anything can be done well (even T&A games); but MS’ consistent neglect of XBLIG doesn’t tend to favor devs that actually give a shit anyways.

        • It really wasn’t the softcore titilation that got it pulled. Even though after the “break one out” scandal Xblig rules were tightened to have a “no actual nudity rule” this title wasn’t in danger any more than the hundreds of others similar to it. The problem was the game ended up broken and in an unplayable state.

          That corrupt game state existed before it was pulled.

          I do agree that games need to be allowed to grow up and there does need to be a less prudish attitude however part of it is public awareness that the ratings are there for a reason. We’re still stook in an age where Fox News can decry a game with an 18 rating for “corrupting our children” though it does seem to be breaking at last.

          MS’s neglect of XBLIG is because the XNA creators club is due to close soon anyway, these are the last days of XBLIG pretty much unless they pull something out soon.

          • gryzorgames says:

            Ah ok, gotcha. :)

            I just see this sentiment come up a little too often. It’s like adult bookstores… can’t sell the stuff in any mainstream shops, can’t even go to the niche shops because the religious folks (typically) run them out of town. My state (Alabama) even has a law against buying through the mail ffs.

            No shelves to put stuff on (digital or physical) = no market.

      • tarhik says:

        Oh I was not making a point. I was just shared a fun fact about the history of XBLIG. Most likely, this kind of situations are addressed manually, and the way they get “fixed” depend on the IT support guy that got the ticket.

  3. once I figured out you can just open the firebug console and change the money value to infinity it was all over. eventually after a few hours the javascript memory leak killed the browser and that was that.

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