Vancouver was recently added as a playable location in a popular mobile game – or at least an interpretation of Vancouver designed by someone who has never visited.
Subway Surfers is an endless running game that works a lot like its slightly older cousin Temple Run. In fact, if you took Temple Run and placed it in a futuristic metropolitan environment, you would basically have made Subway Surfers. In both games, your character gets caught doing something they shouldn’t (stealing an ancient relic / spray paint from a train carriage), then you have to run away from the local authorities (an ‘extinct monkey / a portable police officer and his dog’), so that you do not have to be looted / arrested.
Vancity was added to the game’s playable cards as part of a virtual world tour. The game featured former Mexico City, made eerily with a Day of the Dead theme.
In the game you run at ever-increasing speeds while collecting coins and power-ups while at the same time trying to avoid a myriad of obstacles. In Subway Surfers’ Vancouver location, released on November 1, these obstacles include the game’s classic buffer stop as well as some … not-so-specific-to-Vancouver additions.
Oh no, not the leaves! Not the leaves! They are in my eyes!
Blade. If there’s one thing the game designers at Subway Runner want you to know about Vancouver, it’s we have magazines. When you open the game, you are greeted with the Vancouver logo spray-painted on a railroad car. The logo has three generic skyscrapers, a massive maple leaf and a cluster of trees in the background that – if you squinted – could represent Stanley Park.
Red and orange leaves swirl around the opening screen. Leaves keep flying around while you play too. As you run along the train tracks, what fills the open railroad cars you can climb? Blade. What is the special surfboard you can spend hours getting? A giant maple leaf.
Aside from the magazines, there are some other vague Vancouver references. Apartment buildings with old-fashioned street lamps power to represent Gastown? A special angular building could be Hotel Europe? Could the white and blue train cars maybe to be TransLink SkyTrains? A general tribute to Stanley Park is paid, however, when the cityscape disappears into a forest of thick-stemmed trees.
Is this a Vancouverite? Right?
Along with the many, many magazines and the Vaguecouver references comes a new character called Mala, the “spiritual environmentalist.” Mala is available to anyone who is able to collect 25,000 event tokens within the seasonal event ending November 22, 2021. Combined with the fully upgraded maple leaf surfboard, Mala can activate a power to plant trees and other greenery while evading law enforcement … On second thought, this is perhaps the most Vancouver game ever made.