80's Ads: Trapper Keeper

The folks at Decision Problem have created a little trifle of a game called “Paperclips“. It’s free, there’s nothing to download, and you play it in your browser.

It’s got a fairly simple concept: you create paperclips. You start with little more than 1,000 inches of wire. Press the button and create a paperclip. You can sell this paperclip for somewhere around 25 cents (though you can raise or lower that price) and purchase more wire when you have the dough to do that. There’s a bit of an economy… The price for more wire fluctuates between $13 and $25 at first so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t run out of wire because you want to make paperclips. Though when you’ve made your first five bucks, you can buy your first “AutoClipper”. It makes one paperclip per second and you don’t have to press the button at all. Make $100, and you can upgrade your marketing (and increase demand for paperclips). Make more AutoClippers. Sell more paperclips. Buy more wire. Make more paperclips. Improve your computational resources. Improve your AutoClipper efficiency. Improve the amount of wire you get when you purchase another spool. Develop creativity. Set up systems to buy wire automatically when you run out. Play the stock market. Set up energy farms. Leave the planet. Terraform other worlds. Make paperclips.

This is a game that you can walk away from and leave open while you, for example, go to sleep at night or leave for your job at work. You can come back and see how many more paperclips you’ve made and how many efficiency advancements have been discovered while you were away. Apply your upgrades and then go to the grocery store.

Come back and realize that the game has changed and you’re no longer playing the game that you left 2 or 4 or 8 hours ago.

It took me about 24 hours (including going to sleep, going to work, going out to dinner with mom, doing chores around the house, doing things in other windows) to “beat” the game (well, one of the ways to beat it, I guess). It was also one of the most surprisingly satisfying games I’ve played in, like, *YEARS*.

You should check it out. Make some paperclips.

So… what are you playing?

(Picture is HG Wells playing a war game from Illustrated London News (25 January 1913))

Staff Writer
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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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5 thoughts on “Saturday!

  1. I played paperclips for roughly 8 hours, at which point all the resources of the world were mine. That felt like enough. As you say, I left for lunch and came back to it with no real harm. I mean, we’re just making paperclips, right? What could go wrong?

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  2. Back in 2001, Falcom, the company behind Ys, Sorcerian, Brandish, and the Legend of Heroes, released a one-off action RPG for Windows called Zwei!!, and it was one of my all-time favorites. It was adorable, beautifully animated, laugh-out-loud hilarious at times, and had an excellent soundtrack, which is the other thing Falcom is known for. I think you mentioned Recettear before — it was kind of like that in terms of general flavor, but without the shopkeeping element and better in every other way.

    They procedeed to sit on the IP for seven years — though I think of Gurumin as kind of a spiritual successor — and then released a sequel, disappointingly titled not Drei!!! or Zwei Zwei!!, but just Zwei II. It didn’t even have the exclamation marks. It was the last PC game by one of the last family-friendly Japanese game developers to develop for PC. You go to a game store in Japan nowadays, and the PC floor is pretty much wall-to-wall porn. </Kimmi>

    Anyway, I bought a copy of Zwei II back in 2011, and as much as I loved the original, it ended up sitting on a shelf for six years. I was reminded of this when I heard that XSeed was going to be releasing an English version on Steam on Halloween, so I finally decided to dust it off and give it a go last week.

    So far it’s not quite living up to the legacy of its predecessor, but it’s still a lot of fun. It retains most of the charm of the original, and it added some features, but the high points aren’t quite as high. It’s good for a chuckle now and then, but never really hilarious. The music is good, but not great. The dungeon crawling and combat are fun, though they can get a bit repetitive. The graphics weren’t cutting edge in 2008, and they sure aren’t now, but they’ve aged fairly well due to the cartoonish style and art direction.

    None of which is to suggest that the game is bad or even mediocre, just that the original was that good. Overall I’d say it’s 8/10 and well worth the $30 and 25-30 hours it takes for a playthrough.

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