Always Running from Something
There is a new sensation within the mobile gaming industry. It has become popular as a “sit down and play for a few minutes” game that people, whether on the go or on break at work, desire to have on their phones. These games, called “endless runner,” are designed with the intention of having no real ending to it. There is no way to “win” at an endless runner game. The goal is to keep going until the character dies. Then the highest score is determined based on the number of points connected.
An “endless runner” game is very simple in concept. The protagonist of the game is always running away from an enemy that is chasing him/her/it nonstop. In addition, numerous obstacles are put in the way of the protagonist in order for him/her/it to slow down and be caught by the enemy. There can be cliffs, spikes, fire, arrows, pillars, lamp posts, bars, fire extinguishers, and so many other objects put in place. It’s all up to the imagination of the developer. Meanwhile, the protagonist must collect gold coins or pellet points that are always placed in front. The most points received before dying gets recorded on the leaderboards.
Why So Addicting?
What makes these “endless runner” games so addicting in the first place? Probably because of their unique “pick up and play” nature. Because there is no real ending, there’s no stress to play a game to the very end. And because it is point related, there’s always a desire to try and reach the top of the leaderboards.
Features Are Important
It can be very fun, especially when it comes to certain “endless runner” games that have unique features to them (such as Temple Run or Sonic Dash.) When a game keeps giving a reason to continue playing, it’s doing something right.
What’s Old is New
Now the “endless runner” formula is nothing new. In fact it carries the traditions of some of the oldest known games. The old arcade games of the past such as Pac Man, Tetris, and Donkey Kong had the same elements as these modern day games. They always had leaderboards, they were simple to play, and there was always an incentive to keep going. But now, instead of feeding a machine quarters, most of these games start off as free to play and can be downloaded on any mobile device.