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12 online games even more useless than FarmVille

Liking your friends' photos of cats and babies is about to seem a lot more productive.


Mike Fenn

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 15, 2013   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 12:41 am CDT

Liking your friends’ photos of cats and babies is about to seem a lot more productive.

It’s Friday, which means people are online for one reason only: to waste time. Believe it or not, there are things you can do on the Web that are even more useless than browsing Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Here are 12:

1) Watch paint dry

We often describe most workplace tasks as being so inherently boring that we’d rather watch a coat of primer harden on a wall. With this page on, you can actually do that.

Providing all of the joy conjured up by the term “house paint” without any of the messy cleanup, this site actually acts as an endurance trial of sorts. After the paint is applied to the wall, your job is to merely sit there and watch it. After 20 seconds, you will earn commendation, after one minute you will earn another, and so on. 

The game allows you to slightly reposition your line of sight, but not by much. Your eyes literally cannot leave the wall.

2) Make words on a refrigerator 

Our parents’ refrigerators suffered scratches due to our desire to drag anything magnetic across their metallic doors and sides. Today, thanks to the site, you can recreate that experience without ruining an appliance.

There’s a massive array of magnetic letters. Simply click and drag each one to form words. Be forewarned that other people are using the game at the same time and can thus create their own words—or sabotage your own.

3) Flick peanuts

How many times have you idly passed the hours at your favorite bar flicking peanuts around, gradually irritating your bartender, fellow patrons, and anyone else in the vicinity who may be actually enjoying themselves? On, you can enjoy that same experience without any of that pesky social interaction.

Using your mouse, flick peanuts across the bar in a surprisingly detailed re-creation of a dingy neighborhood tavern. In fact, the activity’s constant sound—the din of a crowded bar—is a little disheartening. It inadvertently says that, even online, non-existent people are socializing more than you are. You are sitting at a fake bar flicking fake peanuts at fake squirrels.


To liven up the depressing activity of flinging virtual legumes around, the game creators gave players an object: to hit a small soccer goal—or the near-motionless, adorable-looking squirrels surrounding it—with as many peanut shells as possible.

4) Operate a light switch

The official site of the annual “Earth Hour”—during which electricity consumers are encouraged to go Amish for as long as possible—shows how easy marking the occasion can be: with a virtual light switch.

Choose a light switch (everything from standard switches to pull-chains are available) and a location (“cheap hotel” is fun), click the mouse, and the source that appears to be illuminating your browser window will be turned off. While you cannot turn it back on, you can claim that you need “more practice” and turn off additional online lights.

5) Sand timer

Sand timers have all but disappeared from real life. Think about it: When was the last time you actually saw or held one?

While microwaves, wristwatches, and of course cell phones have replaced sand timers IRL, their reach has yet to extend to the Internet. On, you can set a desired amount of time and watch virtual grains of sand fall from one triangular globe to another. The world’s shrillest, most obnoxious bell sound effect will play when the total time has elapsed.

Unfortunately, you cannot break it open and pretend to have a very limited beach party. 

6) Pick your nose

Thanks to the minds behind, everything you pick can now be a winner!

Without common nose-picking problems like disgusted onlookers or nosebleeds plaguing you, a simple click of the mouse will have your online presence yanking impressive wads of mucus from your nostrils with ease.

The site also contains a number of intriguing links, from “Are Boogers Made” to “Booger Kids” (we don’t want to know).

7) Flip a coin

This one might be the most useful thing on the list.

Physical currency is slowly becoming a thing of the past. As more and more people turn to debit cards, Google Wallet, and other payment methods for their purchases, objects like coins and dollar bills are on the cusp of becoming relics.

There are some things that such methods cannot replicate; making snap decisions is one of them. In a further blow to real coins, the virtual coin flip allows you to do just that: flip a coin.

Tools built into the application also allow you to measure probabilities, ratios, and other such numbers.

8) Use a soda machine

Vending machines can be frustrating devices. Our favorite items aren’t stocked. Coins fail to register. The dreaded evil coil dispenses the product roughly 95 percent of the way—then leaves it suspended in midair, mocking you and the inflated amount of pocket change you just wasted.

The virtual soda machine eliminates all of that. It also eliminates, you know, actually getting a product, but perhaps the advent of the 3-D printer will eventually change that.

The crudely designed application is situated on an MIT student’s personal Web space. In a marked improvement over reality, you have a never-ending supply of quarters to feed into the machine. Press the button of your choice, receive the soda, and actually simulate drinking it. 

9) Roll dice

A staple of casino games and D&D excursions everywhere, dice have determined the outcomes of everything from financial windfalls to execution-by-goblin. Unless you are a hardcore gamer, however, chances are that your belongings are typically dice-free on a day-to-day basis.

The Javascript-enhanced dice throwing program eliminates this setback.

The site features the ability to roll up to three two-sided dice at once. By holding in the “roll dice” button, the dice faces will flash through each and every possibility; releasing the button will produce the final result.

NOTE: Yelling “Come on, 7!” while using the dice-throwing feature is just as pointless as it is in real life with physical dice.

10) Vacuum

We all know how much fun it is to vacuum. Unfortunately, this joy-filled activity is done on an as-needed basis at best. Fortunately, has satisfied the constant itch to run a vacuum cleaner with its vacuum-cleaner game.

The object is to use the arrow keys to mop up various “dust dots.” If you hit one of the moving dust monsters that leaves the dots, you will lose a life (yes, cleaning appliances have lives now) (you, personally, still don’t since you’re playing with an online vacuum cleaner). There are special “power pellets” that allow you to destroy the moving dust monsters; this was in no way inspired by any sort of 1970s arcade staple.

Once you clean up the entire room, you can move onto an entirely new room with entirely new dust spots!

11) Throw away trash

Finally! An online trashcan! Why don’t computers come pre-built with such features, perhaps right on the desktop?

Designed to test a user’s ability to operate interactive Flash games, the sole object is to drag crumpled-up balls of paper into a sleek garbage bin. Once everything has been placed into the receptacle, the lid slams shut and you receive applause.

I have been throwing out things in real life since childhood and have never once received any sort of accolades for it.

12) Fill a bathtub

The virtual bathtub, a product of, works wonders for your water bill but doesn’t do much in the way of your personal hygiene. 

Designed to increase the awareness of water usage, the online version of your bathroom fixture allows you to slowly fill a bathtub up to–and beyond–its brim with water. Using the very ancient faucet handle, you can choose to fill the tub more quickly or turn off the water altogether. While this happens, you can watch the outflow slowly drain excess water through your virtual pipe system.

Unfortunately, there are no rubber duckies to play with.

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*First Published: Feb 15, 2013, 11:04 am CST