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Temple Run is a winner

By Gabe Hewitt, iLander Student Editor

A game only half-a-year-old is rising quickly in popularity. It's run its way to the top ranks of Apple’s App Store.

The object of Temple Run is simple. You are Guy Dangerous and you have just stolen a treasure from an ancient temple. You must now run from man-eating monkeys through a never-ending obstacle course. You control the character by swiping the screen to turn, jump and slide. You tilt it to move. The further you run without failing, the more points you score. However, the further you run, the harder the obstacles become. You can collect coins in the game to purchase power-ups and characters.

CHHS Junior Hector Leon started playing the game after a friend showed it to him. He said it was hard at first.

"After I got the hang of it and got better, I really liked playing it," he said. "I like that I progressively get better at it. When I get to a million, I get an adrenaline rush."

Temple Run was created by developer Imangi Studios. According to its website, the company is based in Washington, D.C., and was founded in 2008 by husband and wife team Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova. Artist Kiril Tchangov joined the staff a year later. Together, they created Temple Run and released it to the Apple App Store on Aug. 4, 2011.

The game was originally available for 99 cents. Imangi Studios’ decision to make the game free might be part of the reason for its rise in popularity. Since going free, the studio has nearly quintupled its revenue from in-game coin purchases. It became the No. 1 downloaded free app in the App Store in late December 2011. As of Feb. 16, it has only dropped to No. 2. It's now estimated that the game is downloaded almost 500,000 times a day and has been downloaded more than 36 million times total, according to Tech Crunch.

"It successfully combines simple gameplay with endless amounts of fun," said CHHS senior Nathan Wiig. "A free game like this is priceless. Literally."

What's different about Leon and Wiig is that they don't own an Apple device to play the game and only get a chance to play it when their friends have it. They won't have to do this for long, though. Temple Run's popularity in the App Store resulted in Imangi seeking to develop the game for Android users. It expects the game to be released to the Android Market this month.

In a market of countless apps, Temple Run's simplicity and price make it stand out from the rest.

All that aside, Leon has one request: "I just want to know how far you have to run before you get away from the monkeys.”

(Photo: In Temple Run, the player runs through an endless obstacle course for a high score. Photo from the Apple App Store. Used with educational license.)