MoMA
Adam Saltsman, Daniel Baranowsky. Canabalt. 2009
Adam Saltsman, Music by Daniel Baranowsky

Canabalt

2009
Not on view
Medium
Video game software
Credit
Gift of the designer
Object number
1750.2012
Copyright
© 2015 Adam Saltsman

Canabalt is a new interpretation of an early video game genre, the side-scroll runner, in which the player’s character literally runs for her life. In these games, the action is a balancing of speed and focus, centered on the ability to avoid obstacles. In Canabalt, a small pixelated figure runs across the rooftops of a city handsomely stylized in six shades of gray, avoiding crevasses between buildings and dangerous obstacles. The point of the game is clear—to run as fast and as far as you can without being crushed or falling to your death—but Canabalt is deceptive in its simplicity. The design of the obstacles and of the landscape is as essential to the appreciation of the game as the speed, position, and rhythm of obstacles—as is the auditory experience. Saltsman designed it in under a week, and the graphics and game only take up one hundred kilobytes of the three-megabyte game—most of the code is devoted to sound and music.

Gallery label from Applied Design, March 2, 2013–January 31, 2014
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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource