Apparently some game called Cannabalt (which I’ve never played and know virtually nothing about) is credited as the progenitor of the forced runner video game genre. Playing “Baby Mammoth’s Journey To Mars” gave me a stunning realisation by reminding me of the first forced running platformer I’d ever played (though I’ve never thought of it that way before): “B.C.’s Quest for Tires”. This game came out in 1983, and I loved it on the Commodore 64, and I don’t think it’s generally thought of or referred to as a forced runner, yet it undeniably is. Here it is for reference:
I think the prehistoric/mammoth theme of “Baby Mammoth’s Journey To Mars”, more than anything, is what lead to this revelation for me. Hey, maybe all the cool kids have been remarking on this for years, but this is the first I’ve thought of it, which is all I know.
“Baby Mammoth’s Journey To Mars” has a cute premise, and at least one gameplay innovation in the left-hand side of the screen bringing instant death which forces you to not only jump, duck, and bash through obstacles, but to also be careful you don’t get too close to the instant death to the left. Worth 80 Microsoft Points to me just for making me realise that 30 years ago I fell in love with a forced runner, long before the genre even had a name. And Cannabalt gets all the glory? For shame.
Here’s what the developer (Slashstar) has to say about the game:
“Help the baby mammoth escape the end of the world! Outrun the avalanche, duck under hungry vultures, and bash through trees in this epic fight against extinction! Made by SlashStar Games ^^”
EDIT: Who just edited Wikipedia to give credit where credit is due regarding B.C.’s Quest for Tires’ place in the history of forced runners? That’s right, this guy just did.