It's Friday night, I'm a little delirious after a long work week and I've just finished collecting cats in Neko Atsume. Searching for a similarly inane and adorable game to waste my spare moments with, I stumble across a game called 10 Billion Wives, complete with a picture crammed with chibified women. "Get married 10 billion wives!" the game invites me. Sure, why not?
10 Billion Wives is a clicker game where you have to generate 'love' in order to marry more wives. You unlock different types of wives. You upgrade your loving power by giving gifts to your wives. The gameplay is inane, the concept of collecting women is downright problematic and the game is obnoxiously freemium. It's everything I should have hated, but for some reason I couldn't stop playing.
"I'm just seeing what it's like, I'll uninstall it the minute I get bored."
That was the promise on Friday night, at least. The premise of the game started out odd and quickly became ridiculous in a hilarious way, a parody of itself and other waifu-collecting games.
The first wife was the plain but pleasant Apron Wife, the default wife. I soon collected fashionable Kimono Wife, high-powered CEO Wife and traditional Japanese Archer Wife. After that came a few trope waifu that would be familiar to anyone who's ever watched anime — Tsundere Wife and the problematic "Active Wife" who seems like she would have been named "Loli Wife" in a different version of the game.
Surprisingly, 10B Wives has no lewd sound effects while clicking your wives, and even the unlockable artworks of each wife that can be seen late in the game are more cute than exploitative. It was just an endless stream of variably themed women.
"Okay, I'll uninstall the game when I unlock all the wives."
There was no going back now. The yet-to-be-unlocked wives had way more interesting silhouettes. One near the bottom definitely looked like a devil, and I had to wonder what other fantastical wives I would collect before reaching 10 billion.
The next silhouette didn't even look like a person — it looked like some kind of bush, giant furball, or even an animal. Even though this is Japan we're talking about, I kind of hoped that it wouldn't get that weird. But no — it was Soldier Wife, crouching in some bushes for camoflague. At least my wives are fulfilling themselves in interesting career paths.
Guessing the odd silhouette of the next wife became the new meta-game. Oni Wife with her horns and knife had us stumped, and we called Maid Wife "Neko Wife" for a while thanks to her cat ears. On a weekend road-trip, I enlisted my passenger to keep mashing the screen for hours of driving, updating me as my 'love' stat topped one million, then one billion, then one trillion. Like other clicker games, the numbers become ridiculously huge in a matter of hours.
Zombie Wife had us both amused and slightly unnerved (especially because she was worth more than all but the last four types of wives), though perhaps she explains how I could logistically get the achievement for acquiring "7 Billion Wives — the entire population of the Earth".
Sweet Devil Wife and Angel Wife followed, my 'love per second' now increasing exponentially. Super Wife appeared with her impressive Resting Bitch Face. We had the penultimate wife in our sights now as Sunday morning dawned. Her unlockable silhouette looked to be wearing a big, fancy dress of some sort. Could this be 'Bride Wife' or 'Wedding Wife' or even 'Wife Wife'? It was a grind to get to the 100 trillion love required for the last wife, but we were almost done with this stupid game.
Finally — success. Wife of Wives rolls onto the screen, transforming it into a beautiful wedding wonderland. We were surprisingly close by calling her 'Wife Wife' all weekend. There's no big celebration, the wives just keep rolling across my screen expectantly, generating love for me. I promised myself I'd uninstall the game, but it was still going. I was struck by that completionist's knowledge that I hadn't completed everything in the game.
In the end, my friend took my phone and uninstalled the app for me — probably not wanting to be stuck clicking all the way home while I levelled up my 10 billion wives. It was probably for the best.
I still miss my wives.
Have you ever caught yourself becoming addicted to a terrible game? Tell us about it in the comments!