Crispy Gamer

Casual Fridays: Canabalt


Now that I'm back from Japan, it's time to get back to Casual Fridays, or as my Crispy colleagues call it, "the comment magnet."

Ha-ha! Only kidding, of course! Nobody ever comments on Casual Fridays, for the obvious reason that unlike almost all my other articles, I do not offer cash and prizes for commenting on this feature. (By the way, games_r_art69, the special Pete Best Edition of The Beatles: Rock Band that you won for commenting on the Seth Schiesel article should be in your mailbox soon.)


But another reason for the low turnout may be that I have been choosing obscure games that nobody wants to play. Oops! That's why, for this week's edition, I picked the game that has our profession's chattering class in a buzz. When they're not wondering who is the Lester Bangs of game criticism* or posing questions like "What is the state of game journalism post-N'Gai?"** all the most esteemed gaming wags are playing Canabalt.

I would mention that Ryan Kuo turned me on to this game, but Ryan has gotten enough attention on the site this week. So I'll lie and say instead that Evan Narcisse turned me on to this game. That's right, Evan sent me a link to Canabalt with a note reading, "This game is hella fun!"***


Indeed it is, Evan. The premise: You are a well-dressed man trying to escape a robot takeover of the city by leaping across the city's rooftops. Your character cannot stop running, for he is terrified of robots. (It's only natural.) Your job is to time his jumps by hitting the spacebar. That's it.† (There's an iPhone version, too.)

Canabalt is fast and the action is addictive. The obstacles are randomly generated each time, so you never play the same sequence twice. What really gives it that extra kick, though, is the pulse-quickening soundtrack. When you're done playing, leave the game on in the background while you work. You will feel like you can do anything! I'm listening to it as I type this, in fact. And while I already felt that I could write an article about an indie game, once I'm finished here, I'm going to jump out of a plate-glass window while spitting a flaming spray of bourbon from my mouth! Awesome!

Ryan Kuo Evan Narcisse told me, "My best score was 8,000 meters, and anything less is whack, natch."†† Ooh, that sounds like a challenge to me. So post your best Canabalt distance in the comments. The commenter with the best score will win nothing. That's right, NOTHING, you COMMENT PRIZE VAMPIRES!


* We will also accept "Does game criticism need a Lester Bangs?"

** An actual question asked by actual people!

*** Evan lapses into fin-de-siècle junior-high slang when he gets excited.

Nope, that's really it. There are no extra secrets down here. The entire game is to press the spacebar. But I hate to have a footnote without any content, so here is a list of exciting "PSP Minis" that will soon be coming to the PlayStation Store for the PSP Go.

- PixelJunk Anything
- Crash Bandicoot: The "Hey, Remember Crash Bandicoot?" Edition
- Canasta!
- Lumines Express (formerly Insultingly Stripped-Down Lumines)
- Double Analog Stick Challenge! Huh? What's Wrong? Oh, Sorry, Our Mistake
- Some Game That Was Popular on the iPhone
- Some Game That Was Popular on the iPhone Deluxe
- Ridge Racer

Download them today! It's go time!

†† Damn, he is excitable!