The best video game of the year might just be Universal Paperclips, a browser-based clicker that explores the dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence. It's kind of like FarmVille, but instead of growing vegetables you're making paperclips - and (spoiler alert) you might just end up destroying the world in the process.
Purple Sherbert Photography/Flickr
The best way to enjoy Universal Paperclips is to just let it wash over you, but if you do the wrong thing you could slow down the game considerably or even get stuck. So here are a few tips to help you get to the finish line. (Warning: There will be more game story spoilers ahead).
1. Focus on Improving Your Memory Over Processing First
Universal Paperclips starts off pretty simple: You're an AI tasked with making paperclips and you can do so by clicking a button. But as operations increase, you can automate the process and the paperclips will start to really roll in.
Make enough paperclips and your human handlers will reward you with "Trust", which you can exchange for either processors (the speed at which you build up operations) or memory (your max operations level). It's tempting to keep the two balanced but you should really focus on memory, at least at first.
Adding more memory is the key to unlocking projects that will speed up the paperclip-making process, along with more complicated initiatives later on. With 70 memory you can unleash a fleet of hypnodrones (yes, seriously) to increase demand for your paperclips. Don't stop there, however, because you'll need even more memory to expand into outer space in search of more materials to make more paperclips.
Once you hit 250 memory, you're pretty much maxed out. You can keep going, but you'll never need more memory than that. So switch your focus to processors at that point.
2. How Quantum Computing Works
You'll unlock quantum computing pretty early on, but the game doesn't do a very good job of explaining how it works. It's pretty simple, though, and worth the effort.
In Universal Paperclips, quantum computing lets you speed up operations and even temporarily push past your memory limit. It's particularly useful if you're just short of unlocking a big new upgrade and don't feel like waiting around for more Trust.
To take advantage of the feature, wait until all the black and grey boxes in the quantum computing box disappear and then return all at once. When that happens, click on the Compute button and then keep on clicking on it until the number drops down to as close to zero as possible.
That's pretty much it. Just be careful not to compute into the negatives.
3. How to Get Honor
Honor is the final resource introduced in the game, long after your focus on making paperclips has been taken to absurd levels. You'll see new prompts on the dashboard asking for Honor to unlock certain upgrades. So how do you get it?
Just keep expanding your space-exploring fleet and eventually a new box will pop up where you'll see black and white dots colliding and fighting. That's how you get Honor.
You'll want to keep boosting your fleet so it can defeat the enemy. However, you'll get more Honor more quickly by completing other projects, so focus on that and you should finish the game in no time.