I recently got massively addicted to an iPhone game called The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Its premise is fairly simple: After Homer accidentally destroys Springfield through a catastrophe at the nuclear power plant, you have to help him and Lisa rebuild and repopulate the town. You do this by collecting in-game money that’s generated periodically by the buildings you own and by assigning your characters automated tasks like “Shop at Kwik E Mart” that pay different amounts based on how much time they take.
If the game is moving too slowly for you, you can spend another type of in-game currency called donuts to let your characters complete their tasks immediately, rather than waiting up to 36 hours for some of the more time-intensive ones, or to purchase buildings and decorations—Hank Scorpio’s volcano lair, Mount Carlmore—that are unlocked at later stages, or that can only be bought with donuts. You earn donuts in the game, but at an excruciatingly slow pace. If you want enough of them to buy anything of substance, your only real choice is to buy them with actual money through an in-game transaction. A rack of 132 donuts costs $9.99, and will buy you Mount Carlmore with an even dozen to spare.