The #3 Game On Steam Is Just A Picture Of A Banana

The #3 Game On Steam Is Just A Picture Of A Banana

Clicker games are inherently stupid, and the best ones lean in. That’s why Cookie Clicker is an all-time classic. Years of increasingly idiotic ideas piling on top of one another, but always boiling down to the core concept of clicking on a picture of a cookie. Well, Banana reduces this down to its titrated, purest form. It’s a free game about clicking on a picture of a banana for no discernible reward, and it’s taking over Steam.

It’s important to emphasize just how ridiculous Banana truly is. You’re likely thinking there’s more to it, that there are surprise twists and turns, all the usual gimmicks and features of the breakout clicker games. Please, I implore you, put these hopes and dreams aside. This is a “game” about clicking on a static jpeg of a banana, while a crude, Arial-font number counter ticks up. That’s it. It doesn’t even remember your clicks when you load it back up. And right now, as I type, it has over 400,000 people playing it.

The game—such as it is—originally launched in April, and no one noticed. By mid-May a few people started paying attention, but in the last week that number has shot up to see Banana sitting high on the Steam charts, and seemingly only going up. And this implausible success is leading to conspiratorial claims and furious Steam reviews decrying its cynical attempts to [clutch petticoat] make money.

Screenshot: Kotaku / Valve

Every three and eighteen hours, if you’ve got the game running and you’ve clicked at least once, Banana will drop a picture of a banana into your Steam inventory. Every three hours you get a “common” banana, and every eighteen hours you get an allegedly “rare” banana. Then, if you can be bothered, you can buy and sell these images via Steam’s Community Market. There’s also a rotating supply of five different bananas you can buy from the “Banana Item Store” for 25 cents each.

So, because gamers, there’s a roaring trade going on Steam, and a lively community developing in its Discord. And that’s making people mad.

It’s understandable that some are drawing associations with the miserable NFT pyramid schemes we saw come and go over the last few years, given both are ways of exchanging worthless images. However, it’s important to note this is not that. Banana isn’t burning down rainforests to log its jpegs on a blockchain, nor taking part in a pump-n-dump that’ll leave its marks having spent upward of millions on literally nothing. It’s just an asset flip on Steam that’s making a good chunk of profit off of people goofing around selling their banana images for 3 cents a time.

It’s dumb. Unquestionably, enormously dumb. And yeah, the developers behind it are making money, given they get a slice every time there’s a sale on the Community Market. Those cents add up, and there’s a decent chance they’re making a few thousand bucks a day while the game grips onto the zeitgeist. But, to break out one of the great philosophical arguments of our time, so?

Screenshot: Kotaku / SteamDB

These chancers took elements from a couple of Unity asset packs, and then saw if they could make a quick buck from the hype that attaches itself to something this silly. Unless they start trying to fix prices on the Market, or it’s revealed that the banana images contain secret mind-control micro-drawings that turn us all into their robot minions, then they’re simply taking advantage of a system that allows people to goof around.

It’s odd to see people leaving livid reviews at how this is conning people into thinking they’re going to be able to make money selling their items, despite the game making no such claims, and, you know, being free. The reality is, it’s just stupid. It’s a stupid, boring non-game, taking advantage of the stupidity of communities swapping stupid jpegs. And, at some level, it’s 400,000 people clicking on a picture of a banana.

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