Running. It’s good for the heart. It’s good for the soul. Maybe not so good for the knees but that isn’t stopping anyone, certainly not here in LA.
I’ve taken up running recently and it is destroying my life. But of course the type of running I’m talking about is most effectively done from the comfort of my sofa or bed. I’m talking about the insidious, evil, soul-sucking phenomenon that is the addictive iPhone game “Temple Run”.
Can’t. Stop. Playing.
Surely there must be groups for this sort of thing (ahem, addiction). Some support group where one can talk freely about cheats, meters run, coins gathered, and the frustration of how low it takes for resurrection wings to return after use. And no, I don’t want some online, impersonal forum where we share high scores or compare tilting strategies. I need honest to goodness face-to-face support. I want someone who can look me in the eye and say, “It’s ok, you don’t have to use Zack Wonder if you don’t want to. Guy Dangerous is a perfectly respectable character to keep using.”
But I do so love this game, with its Indiana Jones-esque premise, its promise of exciting power-ups around every bend (please let it be a Coin Magnet!) and the endless pursuit of a new high score. Sigh.
This is highly embarrassing and not at all who I would like myself to be. It’s even found its way into my dreams, fitful night terrors that involve me running along an endless seafaring barge (why a barge, I don’t know, but there you have it). And I can’t stop running!
What’s even more upsetting, though, is that I have conspired to send another down this dark path of time-gobbling nerd-dom. I have in no uncertain adolescent terms said to someone else, “Go on. Try it. Everyone else is doing it,” all the while knowing that I was encouraging this innocent to ruin his life as I have ruined mine.
Why, when confronted with a great evil, are we so quick to pass it along to others? Why are we so incapable of shouldering the burden of a bad choice without demanding someone else participate? Why must misery always, always seek out company?
So I am now quiet when he emails me hateful words. I say nothing when he curses my existence. And when angry texts appear on my phone at ungodly hours (why sleep when you can RUN?) I do nothing but accept his condemnation. I am a bad, bad person, and I humbly bow my head in shame. (It’s the best angle to keep playing.)
Writing about a popular game inevitably brings with it a host of unexpected readers with one thing in common: “Cheats”.
I confess, as soon as I realized how much I liked this game I too searched the web-waves for tips, tricks, and helpful hints. Alas, unless you are willing to jailbreak the game (call me a purist but I think this is a no-no) Temple Run has no hidden Easter eggs (save for the tutorial mode, two quick swipes to the right on the first bend, run forever without being able to post a high score yawn-fest).
This hunt for a shortcut to riches, high-score recognition, hint at immortality (or at least an endless supply of resurrection wings), compels us to go public with indiscretions that were once considered best left unmentioned. Oh, the shame of admitting you were a cheat. Horrors! But of course those days have past. In today’s “everyone is famous all of the time” “reality show as life” landscape, it is far more important to be recognized than to be worthy of that recognition. Who cares how you got the high score as long as someone knows you did. Right?
So if you must cheat, go ahead. Google that “Temple Run Cheats” search item. Or how about “Temple Run Hints”, “Endless Coins”, or “Unlimited Invincibility”? Better yet, cut to the chase with a Temple Run hack and you too can join the ranks of several tens of thousand of other “unique” players with their 2,147,483,647 high score.
It sure does make you special.