What is the term/genre for games like Candy Box 1/2 and A Dark Room, where there's almost nothing at first but then it grows?

Wikipedia says it's a role-playing game... but... I don't know how they got that.... Anyway, that's too broad a category; I'm looking for a term that's specific to this type of game.

A quick Google search for "candy box genre" led me to this review, which said (not particularly helpfully):

It’s hard to pin down what genre it is too because while it seems fairly RPG-ish, it isn’t, really. But, I’m not entirely sure WHAT to call it, so we’ll just call it “Candy Box!” genre.

So, what's the term or genre for these types of games?

  • Role-playing Game sounds fine by me. – user57112 Oct 30 '13 at 12:19
  • @JohnDoeSanta How is D&D or some 3D MMORPG (for examlpe) considered a Candy Box-like game? – Doorknob Oct 30 '13 at 12:22
  • I've heard Candy Box called a "clicker" but I think that's mostly due to Cookie Clicker. I don't really think it describes Candy Box any better than it describes a First Person Shooter (hey those have a lot of clicking too) – Ben Brocka Oct 30 '13 at 12:23

As far as I'm aware, the umbrella terms for games like these (including less adventure based games like Cookie Clicker) that seems the most popular is incremental games. The best source for these type of games I've seen so far is /r/incremental_games on Reddit.

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We've also seen these games classified as "idle games". (not to be confused with Idle Games Inc.)


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Candy box is an unfolding game, a game that starts small with little to no hooks and then surprises you with something, making the player want to see how much more content can be unlocked and how big the game gets. Like a piece of paper folded many times in on itself you can only see a small portion until a game mechanic reveals itself.

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  • 1
    I really think the term "Unfolding Game" should be more used – Oreo Apr 19 '16 at 14:31

This is an Idle game. Idle games can be left on in order to progress automatically in the games, whether it is collecting coins, cookies or candies. Popular idle games include Candy Box, Candy Box 2 and Cookie Clicker.

It may also be classified as an RPG or Adventure game.

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Dark Room and Candy Box are "idle games" as per the Slate Magazine and New Yorker Magazine

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Games like this may be classified, technically, as a text-based game. Similar to the old Zork series, however, due to the differing elements, such as the ability to travel on screen and fight, I suppose it could be an RPG/Text-based game. Or perhaps an Adventure/text-based game. Or even a combination of the three.

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