• Not on view

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.
Video game software
Gift of the designer
Object number
© 2024 Adam Saltsman
Architecture and Design

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].