Temple Run 2 is out now on iOS. You may have heard of it. It’s a simple ‘distance-attack’ runner developed by Imangi Studios. Dave Cook opens up about his addiction.
“Modern games can be brilliant, but this fast food nation of console franchise development, buzz words, shock, awe and other bollocks is getting out of control.”
“Hello my name is Dave, I’m 29 and I write about video games for a living. Although don’t call me a journalist. That’d be insane.
“Why am I here? Well, my friend Brenna suggested I open up about my addiction and share it with the group. I had no where else to turn really, so I thought I’d give this a shot.
“Drugs? No it’s not drugs, or alcohol or sex addiction – the trendiest of all addictions. I’m addicted to a game called Temple Run 2. It’s pretty much taken over my life lately.
“In what way? Well just a few weeks ago I was sitting in my parent’s home having dinner. After the meal we sat down to catch up and then watch a movie on television. I first noticed that something might be wrong when – during the film – I got my iPhone out and booted up the game and started running, just running and running and running.
“Was it just a bad film? Well, it was Iron Man. No, not Iron Man 2, the first one. Yeah, it’s not bad is it? Robert Downey Jr. steals the show and sure the Jeff Bridges scenes drag on a bit as he’s about as threatening as my Grandad after a few whiskeys. But yeah, it’s not a bad film. I still got distracted though.
“When did I realise I had a problem? Well, after falling off a cliff-side and tumbling to my death for about the tenth time I realised just how anti-social I was being and begrudgingly turned the game off to resume watching the film and chatting with my folks. The problem is that I’m doing this everywhere lately.
“What’s it about? What, Iron Man? Have you been living under a rock for the past few years? Oh, Temple Run 2? OK. So, it’s about an explorer who steals a golden idol from a tomb. It’s pretty much the same set up as the boulder chase from Indiana Jones, except you’re being chased by a giant ape. Like King Kong? Yes, sort of. Truth be told the premise isn’t all that original.
“In fact, I thought it was almost a complete rip-off of the recent Pitfall! iOS remake until someone told me that the original Temple Run came first. Funny that.
“Anyway, you grab the gold idol and then make a run for it, and then the beauty of it sinks in. You only need one finger to play it and the ability to tilt the device. It’s applicable to anyone – children, adults, the elderly, casual gamers, hardcore gamers, people with one arm, people with one finger, people who know a lot about games, people who know nothing about games. It’s a game publisher’s dream ticket.
“Is that why I’m addicted to it? Well maybe yeah. I mean, all you do is run, jump and duck past hazards, turn at junctions and tilt to grab coins. It’s hardly rocket science is it? It’s actually pretty impressive when you think of how simple the premise is.
“It was downloaded 20 million times in its first weekend. You do realise that home console developers would probably murder this entire support group and both its close and extended families for through-fare like that? No?
“Why can’t they hit those numbers? Well, because console games are pretty fucked at the moment aren’t they? Some games have production budgets that fall on par with the GDP of small countries you haven’t heard of, yet many of them still wind up being sub-par. In some instances you could just blend the paper money budget and drink it, then piss it away to put the spend to better use.
“Can developers fix the problem? You know, everyone says that next-gen will turn things around but I’m not so sure. I mean games will continue to make money, but it’s going to get harder for console studios to survive en masse. Tech will improve, budgets will go up, and what you get then are fast-food chain production houses that spin out franchise after franchise, after franchise, after fucking franchise. Micro-DLC will become the new version of going Super-Size at McDonald’s, where for a few quid more you can stack even more shit onto your bland, mass-produced, flavourless meal.
“They’ll start pumping this digital MSG, chemical bullshit into your home and leisure life too, in order ot make franchises more palatable. Movies at the cinema are now pre-faced with ear-splitting CGI and live-action trailers that show us nothing of the actual product at all, where none of the stuff you’ve just seen is actually possible in the game. Some have labelled this as deception, nothing more. TV ads run around the clock promising you the new black, set to a pounding soundtrack by some flavour of the week dubtep artist geared towards encapsulating the 18-25 market as if its just a living, breathing wallets, begging to be gutted. You’ll wear clothing brands ‘inspired’ by game franchises that turn you into a walking advert. You’ll drink and eat produce sponsored by a game brand that has nothing in common with the game whatsoever.
“Look, let me be honest here. Modern games can be brilliant, but this fast food nation of console franchise development, buzz words, shock, awe and other bollocks is getting out of control. In Temple Run 2 I can regress to the simple, twitch gaming pleasures I grew up on while playing Space Harrier and Chuckie Egg without being coaxed into it.
“Temple Run 2 doesn’t ask much of me – besides a few pence for boosters that I choose not to pay for – but at least I’m not being lied to. I’m voting with my wallet and not giving them the cash, as fun as the game might be. Some would say that is more intrusive than what the console market is up to right now, but I’m not so sure. A homeless guy begging for cash is one thing, but a secret millionaire posing as one for profit is something else.
“So that’s me. That’s my addiction and my fears. Thanks for letting me share it with the group. If I’m being perfectly honest I don’t feel much better. I feel worse, in fact. Actually saying all of this makes it feel all the more real. But why try to fight the future? We’ll all just keep buying into it anyway.