Created By: UltramarineAlizarin on March 17, 2013 Last Edited By: UltramarineAlizarin on April 17, 2013
Troped

Endless Running Game

A game about enduring an endless sequence of obstacles as long as possible

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(I'm confident enough in my initial search to ask How Did We Miss This One?, but feel free to point out something I overlooked. This proposal is subject to Rolling Updates. Please disregard the tags; I think we have enough wicks and a sufficient body of examples that Iím mainly looking for hats in order to launch.)
A genre of video games in which the player must dodge obstacles as they automatically and continuously scroll onto the screen, with the simple goal of not crashing into anything for as long as possible. When these games offer any sort of context as to why the player character canít slow down or stop, it's usually framed as an Escape Sequence.

A game in this genre is essentially one big Auto-Scrolling Level. In most cases the player character's position is fixed in the dimension in which the playfield scrolls, and the player controls movement in the other dimension(s). For example, in a 2D game with the screen constantly scrolling right, the player character doesn't move left or right and instead stays towards the left side of the screen, with the player controlling up-and-down movement only. The fixed scrolling typically leads to Difficulty by Acceleration. Furthermore, every run entails a sequence of randomly generated obstacles, so the player must rely on sheer reflexes and more than a little luck.

By design these games are Endless Games; the player never actually "wins", and instead the long-term goal is simply to earn a better high score. Many of these games also let the player collect virtual currency during each run, offering enhancements (consumable or permanent) that improve chances of a better score during the next run.

Most games in this genre are Web Games or Mobile Phone Games. Some started as the former and expanded to the latter through porting.

Compare Failure Is the Only Option. See also Ratchet Scrolling, where the player can backtrack only a very short distance, if at all. When a Platform Game adopts this kind of gameplay for a level, it's often Minecart Madness.

Examples:

[[index]] [[/index]]
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • March 18, 2013
    Koveras
  • March 18, 2013
    Arivne
    Example deleted.
  • March 18, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Ski Free doesn't really fit since the player is allowed to stop whenever (no fixed scroll), and the only "lethal" obstacle is the monster. Then again, when the monster does show up, it does kind of turn into one of these types of games since you really don't want to crash. I'm still wary of including it as an example.
  • March 18, 2013
    spacemarine50
    See also Ratchet Scrolling, where you can only backtrack a very short distance, if at all. Always uses Auto Scrolling Level
  • March 19, 2013
    KTera
    BIT.TRIP RUNNER isn't an Endless Game. It fits the other criteria but it has predefined levels and an ending.
  • March 19, 2013
    MrRuano
    Monster Dash, the predecessor of Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick.
  • March 19, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Good to know about B.T RUNNER. BEAT seemed like it was an endless game when I played it, so I assumed the other B.T games were the same.
  • March 24, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    If readers have any further suggestions on what the writeup is missing, I'm all ears. Since this is basically an index within an index (listing games in a particular genre), I'm thinking less is more in terms of descriptive details.
  • March 27, 2013
    Tropeless
    Chop Chop Runner, because I don't see how we could have too many examples if they all fit.
  • March 28, 2013
    porschelemans
    Would Doodlejump count as this?
  • March 28, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ Not quite. One of the core elements in the definition is the auto-scrolling forcing the player to react, which Doodle Jump doesn't fulfill to my knowledge. However, there might be enough examples for a sister index in Endless Climbing Game. I'll leave that to someone else, though, since I've hardly played any of those.
  • April 2, 2013
    clankomatic
    Ok - I know this is unrealeased, but it is a hilarious example. Penn and Teller created this video game where you drive a bus to Tucson, then drive it back. Real time. Eight hours. The bus pulls right, if you don't keep turning slightly you will run off the road (slowly) and get towed - again, in real time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_%26_Teller's_Smoke_and_Mirrors
  • April 3, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^Weird, we have a page for Desert Bus For Hope, but not one for Desert Bus itself?

    • Trigger Knight combines this with RPG elements -- instead of jumping over obstacles you fight monsters and buy gear as your character charges past shops.
  • April 3, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    ^ Yeah, I noticed that too about Desert Bus trying to find specific details on it. While that game might be a candidate for Endless Game, it's not quite one of these because the player has control over the accelerator and brake and thus no sense of forced reflexes.

    Trigger Knight, on the other hand, fulfills the sense of quick thinking by the player to judge when to buy/use items, so I'm happy to put it up.
  • April 16, 2013
    Folamh3
    Would Snake qualify?
  • April 16, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    A good question, but once again, the lack of auto-scroll to bring in new obstacles doesn't fit the criteria I've set. At least the classic form; there could very well be some derivative with a moving maze that qualifies.

    Thanks for bringing it up, though, because it suddenly reminded me of other eating-based games that could fit.
  • April 17, 2013
    CardsOfWar
  • April 17, 2013
    Koveras
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=6wecrdga8946p2sswnqty5o7&trope=EndlessRunningGame