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Canabalt helped start the runner Renaissance.

A runner, also referred to as an endless runner or auto runner, is a video game genre where the player controls a character traveling along a scrolling background, and they must respond to hazards. Although the player's character frequently runs, like with Canabalt and Temple Run, the genre's name can be misleading since there are plenty of "runners" where the character doesn't run, but rather slides (Alto's Adventure), flies (Flappy Bird), or uses some other type of locomotion. Runners have aspects of scrolling platformers, scrolling shooters, and driving games, but the input is generally far more basic, usually with only one or two things the player can do.

Although they didn't become especially popular until smart phones became commonplace, runners are actually a very old video game genre, being developed in the early 1980s like 1982's Aztec Challenge. They rarely did well on home platforms because, even in the 1980s, players expected more depth in their game play, however, smart phone users often only get a few minutes to play a game and need basic input due to the failings of touch screen interfaces, so the genre saw a renaissance in the 2010s.


The very first runner I remember playing was a for the TRS-80 Color Computer in the mid-1908s. I don't remember the title, but the player flew through an underground cavern trying to collect gold while avoiding the jagged floor and ceiling. I remember being rather unimpressed by it because the game play was monotonous and the map was clearly randomly generated with gold often spawning in the walls. When runners became ridiculously popular in the 2010s with the smart phone boom and Flappy Bird took over online stores, I didn't see the appeal recognizing it as a game from the 1980s, and I would have been bored with it even then. To this day, I find most runners to be quite dull and there are very few that I like.


This is a list of runners that are important to me, for all runners, see the category.

Title Released Developer Notes
Alto's Adventure 2015-02-19 Snowman Lots of flaws, but it has a very attractive environment.
Aladdin 1994-03-25 SIMS A multi-genre video game with several sections being runners.
Canabalt 2009-08-31 Adam Saltsman Cool concept, but becomes dull very quickly.
Chrome (offline game) 2014-09-25 Google Really dull.
Doodle Jump 2009-04-06 Aidan McCarthy Cute, and the many backgrounds give it some replay value, but still pretty dull.
Edmus 20??-??-?? Inkling Games A multiplayer online runner.


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