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A Banana clicker game is going viral on Steam – and here’s why

A Banana clicker game is going viral on Steam – and here’s why

What is a banana worth? Depending on the day, a diamond banana can be worth €70 or €165. The gentleman banana – a banana with a hat and dress shoes – costs less than a dollar. The pickle banana, a banana-shaped pickle, costs about $40. There is even a banana, the golden, shiny banana, which sold for over a thousand dollars. But most bananas, regardless of appearance, are only worth a few cents – even the ones made of dark matter. Does this all make sense to you? You shouldn’t, unless you’re one of the thousands of people “playing” Bananaan idle clicker game where you simply click on a banana to make a number go up.

Okay, so what Banana? Once you download Banana and start it up, a window will pop up. It’s a banana on a vomit green background. Click on the banana and the numbers go up. I’m at 772. And… that’s it! You just click. Every now and then you’ll get a banana drop straight into your Steam inventory: one of dozens of differently decorated bananas currently available, like the diamond or men’s bananas. “Bananain the own words of the developer theselions, Banana is pretty much a stupid game, a copy of Egg but much worse,” team member Hery told Polygon.

A golden banana

Image: aaladin66, Pony, Sky, AestheticSpartan

According to SteamDB, more than 141,000 people clicked on a banana at the same time last week. Now that number has almost doubled. There are a lot of people playing Bananabut the numbers don’t quite add up. Banana has a bone problem; Hery told Polygon that a third of that 141,000 number were real players – so about 47,000 people. (They contacted Valve customer service to find out how to stop this.) But since then Banana has continued to grow. As of June 10, there were more than 252,000 computers Banana Open. By June 17, Banana peaked at 858,915 players, briefly making it Steam’s most played game. The point is that 858,915 people don’t necessarily all click the banana all the time; to get the drops, you just have to click every now and then to drop a banana into your Steam inventory. The majority of players probably keep the tab open and click every now and then. (You will receive drops every three and eighteen hours.)

It’s likely that more of these players are now “real”; the game’s virality has continued to grow as more people learn about the game. The higher it scores on SteamDB – currently it is just under Counterattack 2 and has surpassed Dota 2 – the more people learn about the game. But there are still bots.

“Unfortunately we are currently facing some issues around botting, as the game actually takes up 1% to no resources of your PC, people are abusing up to 1000 alternate accounts to get rarer drops or at least drops in bulk,” said Hery. Discord chat.

Now we’re getting closer to the value of the bananas: each banana is an item that ends up in your Steam inventory, where they can then be bought and sold on the Steam Marketplace. (They don’t do anything in the game.) Most of it is very low-stakes trading, as most bananas are only worth a penny. My “cherry blossom mana,” a banana painted with cherry blossoms, is worth $0.04. If someone buys it, I make money because I don’t do anything. The rarer the banana, the more expensive it is sold. One banana – the Crypticnana – sold for $378.92 on May 31; it’s a mystery banana, and only 25 of them exist. On June 11, the Crypticnana sold for $514. But the top banana is the Special Golden Banana (that’s what it says on the tin) which retailed for $1,378 on June 9, 58 was sold on June 11 for $964.67. Currently, only one is for sale for $1,345.01. Meanwhile, I sold a cherry blossom mana for $0.02.

More bananas are added occasionally, made by the community. But some bananas are changing: “I think you’ve noticed lately that we’ve changed some images of bananas to something else,” the developer wrote on Steam. “We are reviewing all bananas that are public because things have exploded faster than any of us could have imagined and we are taking this very seriously. We have three artists working on the new redesigns and we will be extra careful and strict about what we are allowed to upload in the future.” For example, the Amazin’Horsenana is used Badgers animator and creator MrWeel’s Great horse art without permission, and has since been replaced by other art. Hery told Polygon that the popularity growing so quickly was a bit worrying: there’s a lot of pressure to keep things in order. But so far they’re making it.

Despite the game’s popularity, bananas are in Banana still largely selling for pennies, but I’m seeing more in the $5 to $20 range. Some bananas are increasing in value, like the Picklenana, which was $15 when I first wrote this story. Now it sells for $35.

“I really believe the reason it caught on in particular is because it’s a legal ‘infinite money glitch,’” Hery said. “Users make money playing a free game while selling free virtual items.”

Because yes, people Are buy even the least valuable or rare bananas. It’s hard to say why – maybe because of the meme? Or because the investment is usually so low? People like to collect things, even virtual bananas. It’s not quite an NFT, but it works something like this, but without blockchain involvement. It’s a very weird virtual trading card.

The money you make from selling your virtual bananas goes into your Steam Wallet, which you can use to buy things on Steam. The developer team (a group of four people spread across the world, from South America to Germany) makes most of its money from the Banana item store, which sells certain bananas for $0.25. (Hery declined to share how much they’ve made from the item store.) But the developers also take a small percentage of marketplace sales, as does Valve, with the rest going to the seller.

A GIF of a banana with several hacked screens
A GIF of a banana with several hacked screens

Image: aaladin66, Pony, Sky, AestheticSpartan

Several people on the Banana Discord and Steam forums have speculated about the game’s validity: is it some kind of scam? A Ponzi scheme? Something to do with cryptocurrency or NFTs? A game for the developer just to make money? Is there something hidden in the game? You can understand why people would be wary. It’s weird. Hery said the team disagrees with all of these assessments. It’s just a stupid game of bananas.

Hery said Banana will likely get updates, including a way for people to use their items to change the way the banana looks in-game. It could also become a mini-game, and perhaps a way to trade multiple bananas for another. Users can also submit banana art that can eventually be added to the game a lot of of people have submitted designs to the Banana Disagreement.

But for now it’s just bananas clicking.

Update (June 11): This story has been updated to reflect increasing player numbers.

Update (June 18): This story has been updated as Banana continues to grow, reaching a peak of 858,915 players on June 17, briefly becoming Steam’s number one game.