Somesuch Blog

A blog about the things we do.

Temple of Doomed Leisure Time

Three months ago I got addicted to Temple Run, a game designed by Imangi Studio for the IOS platform.

Richard Kylea Cowie and Wayne Rooney are also adherents.

Temple Run is straight up divorce in an app. IOS crack. You might as well free-base your iPad, douse yourself in 151-proof rum, and then set yourself on fire. It will ruin your life faster than a night out with Michael Barrymore.

In the game you play an explorer who steals a precious idol from a temple, thereby invoking the wrath of a troop of demonic monkeys from whom you have to escape. While pursued you dodge obstacles and attempt to run as far as possible without getting caught. Along the way you collect gold coins to score points and try and grab various ‘power-ups’ to enhance your abilities. It’s basically some Indian Jones shit. Initially you get to pick from three different characters, but if you gather enough coins you can unlock others.

I like playing as Barry Bones. He’s got a wicked gait. Although, I also unlocked conquistador Francisco Montoya, and pigskin wielding grid-iron star Zack Wonder. Zack is a rude boy.

Writer Tom Bissell identifies what he calls iPad gaming’s Movement Problem, ‘whereby precision navigation within a given game-space is complicated by the necessarily imprecise nature of tracing your finger along a touchscreen’.

This isn’t really a concern with Temple Run. It should be taught in remedial video game class. Before the Sony Playstation brought an ineluctable sophistication to gaming, dilettante players were able to get by with button mashing on 16-bit consoles. Street Fighter 2 was the worst. Some chief could just play as Blanka, pound the controller like an ape, and somehow grapple the shit out of you before you had a chance to bust out your Hurricane Kick, Dragon Punch combo. Temple Run is even more primitive. It flows inexorably forward and you can only move left or right, or duck or jump. As the game gets progressively faster, so your spasticity seems to increase. After running for a couple of minutes you find yourself launching uncontrollable swipes at the iPad’s screen. What the fuck am I doing? Smack. Smack. Pause. Then another palsied attack. None of it seems to matter too much. As long as you time your blows, and they’re vaguely in the right direction - horizontal or vertical - it tends to work out.

But, holy shit, it’s addictive. I was staying up to 3.00 am playing it. And when I wasn’t playing it I was thinking about it. Constantly. Not since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came out in 2002 have I been so hopelessly obsessed by a game, and it pales in comparison to that masterpiece. I played Temple Run so much that it made me feel sick. As I went to bed and closed my eyes, the ocular spasms would kick in. I could see Barry Bones running in my mind’s eye. Nauseated I’d drift in and out of consciousness until I found myself floating on a raft inundated by 3D monkey chimeras, screaming and scratching, like Klaus Kinski at the end of Aguirre, The Wrath of God, caught in a fucking animated sui generis temple fever dream.

During the day I didn’t fare much better. I played as soon as I woke up. I played on the bus. I played when I went for a piss. My motor reflexes were so fuse-blown that I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes. I had persistent headaches. And I still didn’t manage to clock it.

I truly have no idea how you can achieve the final objective of scoring 10 million points without spending £699.00 on ‘In App’ gold coin purchases.

Maybe you need to be a premiership footballer. Or a rapper.

Anyhow.

We’ve made a ton of new work in the past few months that I should have got round to posting and writing about. You can find it here.

Adverts for HTC and Stella Artois drop in the next few weeks, as well as a new video from Romain Gavras.

I also wrote a piece about our Cobra shoot in India here.

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Ice cold.

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