Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Someone is about to be turned into a fine mist.

You're the fastest man alive and somebody's really really mad at you. We think.

Canabalt is a 2D Side Scrolling arcade game that was created by Adam Atomic and Danny B. You play as a man who, immediately after the game begins, runs down a hallway and leaps through a glass window into open air. If that wasn't enough, he goes on to run across rooftops and jump through other buildings at ever increasing speeds until he finally meets his demise. It's never said exactly what he's running from, but the falling missiles and the giant bipedal shapes in the distance provide some clues (and someone even wrote an unofficial backstory designed to explain everything).

It is found here. There is also an iPhone version with a few additional features, including an alternate soundtrack. An official Commodore 64 version of the game exists(!), see here.

If you are wondering if this could be any more awesome, check out Robot Unicorn Attack, which is a prettied up version of this.

Tropes used in Canabalt include:
  • Benevolent Architecture: The buildings are always spaced close enough together that you can jump from one to the next at whatever speed you happen to be going, unless you get slowed down by an obstacle.
    • Or land on a damaged building that's too long for you to run across before it completely collapses.
  • Bomb Whistle: Just before a bomb (pictured up and to the right) lands on the roof right ahead of you.
  • Camera Abuse: The screen shakes when buildings collapse, a ship flies by, or the bombs land or explode.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: In the iPod version of this game, an additional obstacle is added in. After a one-building warning noise sounding like metal crumpling, this gargantuan thing crashes down through and completely obliterates the next building you were going for! Only a small platform remains.
  • Cool Plane: Or at least, we think so. Whatever it is will fly by too quickly to see with no warning or interaction.
  • Deliberately Monochrome
  • Disturbed Doves: Many roofs have birds on them that take off when the agent passes.
  • Endless Game: Keep running, little man.
  • Have a Nice Death: When you finally stop running, the GAME OVER screen will tell you how far you got and what took you out. For example:

You ran 3604m before hitting a wall and tumbling to your death.

    • See the bomb in the page image? Run into it and the message will be:

You ran 2509m before turning into a fine mist.

    • The iPhone port features even more messages for various situations, most of them snarky. For example:

You ran 102m before barely stumbling out of the first hallway.
You ran 3780m before riding a falling building all the way down.
You ran 4510m before knocking a building down.
You ran 2287m before somehow hitting the side of a billboard.

  • Humongous Mecha: As background scenery.
  • In a Single Bound: As always, your jumping prowess is inhuman.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: It is possible to build up so much speed that it becomes impossible to react in time.
    • In some cases, it's actually a good idea to run into the cardboard box... things, which will slow you down. Just don't do it right before the edge of a building, or you won't be able to rebuild enough speed to make the jump.
  • Le Parkour
  • Press X to Not Die: The only control in the entire game is a jump button, so that you jump across buildings instead of falling between them.
    • Extra points: the jump button is "X".
  • Randomly Generated Level: The buildings are pre-designed, and generated as you go.
  • Roof Hopping: The game is made of this trope.
  • Scenery Gorn: Columns of smoke rise into the sky and the buildings silhouetted in the background have chunks missing out of them.
  • Shout-Out: If you pause the game when you're on a crane, or if you die around a crane, you can see that the crane is clearly labelled Canabalt Crane Co., which might give you some ideas as to the backstory.
  • Soft Glass: The windows shatter spectacularly, but they don't even slow the man down.
  • Super Window Jump
  • Temporary Platform: The buildings with cracks all over them. (Though, to tell the truth, all platforms in this game are 'temporary', it's just that they sometimes fall downwards, not only to the left.)

You ran 5087 characters before running out of trope.