Thursday, September 9, 2010

Canabalt: One Year and Still On the Run

It’s been a year this week since Adam Saltsman (Adam Atomic) released his critical darling Canabalt into the world and Simon Parkin of Gamasutra wrote this nice article on the creator. It discusses the success and failures of Canabalt and where they’ve led him. He also interviewed Saltsman for the article who vaguely mentioned an upcoming title and his infatuation with escape and hostile environments. Please give it a read.

I’ve been playing Canabalt since it first came out, at least since I can remember it being out and there are two things that make this game so incredible: the addiction to play and the aesthetic which allows that addiction. I have spent hours of my life running away from something I don’t even know, tapping my iPod and praying I make the next leap. It is the perfect game to be played on the go or while waiting. But that is solely because of the completely unique style the game blasts its player with.

From load-up you get a grey background, a title, and the early trills of a heart-thumping techno beat that will haunt and inspire you to keep on. Then you enter the game and there is only one goal: RUN! Run across rooftops, jumping to avoid obstacles (the only action you can do in the game) because everything is out to get you in this grey, decaying future, aside from the doves thankfully, and maneuvering this dim, linear path is the only thing you can do.

You have no idea why you are running, where you are running to, or from whom you are running but there is one thing you do know and that is any moment you can trip up and fall, run into a bomb, hit the hedge of a wall or billboard. There is no safety and the scariest part is YOU CAN’T WIN! You never win the race. A bleak message to an incredibly exhilarating game. Yet you’ll keep coming back to try again. No video game has ever come so perfectly close to the aesthetic which make the works of Franz Kafka so powerful.

Anyone without this game on their iPhone or iPod Touch needs to get it. Anyone without can play it HERE for free! It was one of the best games released last year and still is.

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