We all know, at this point, that the internet is watching us—that as we click from site to site, we do so leaving an ever-growing trail of information about our habits and demographics. A cloud of data and images forms around us, creating a consistent “user” that can then be marketed to with shocking specificity.
These ideas are at play in a low-key, funny way on clickclickclick.click, a browser-based game that makes transparent just how keenly the internet observes us. A bright green button (labeled “Button”) takes up the center of the screen. As you move your mouse around the screen, switch between windows, click the button, or let the computer sit idly, the game documents your actions, both in an ever-expanding onscreen journal and via breezy spoken narration. “Yes, there we go, very happy,” the narrator says as the site logs your browser type, time of day, and speed of movement. “Subject is about to leave! That’s troubling!” he says as your mouse dawdles. “Don’t leave, don’t leave!” Achievements are tracked for everything, including inaction, and if you do leave, don’t worry: The game remembers right where you left off, and, of course, documents it.
The lo-fi, low-investment design evokes the play-all-day goofiness of clicker games like CandyBox and Cookie Clicker, even as its sprightly narration and meta-interactivity recalls the more ambitious video game The Stanley Parable. It’s the product of a collaboration between the design studios Moniker and Studio Puckey for a project called We Are Data, which aims to question our conventional ideas about security and privacy. You can drag your massive exoskeleton of cookies and user data here for more information.