As we do on most weekends, we got called for an impromptu family gathering at my aunt's house this past Sunday. After dinner had been served and our bellies had been filled, we moved on to dessert and more conversation, family connection. While eating cake I started talking to my high school aged cousin. We both had our iPhones out, she getting text after text from friends, me checking work email as I was waiting for an important email from my colleague. Somehow we got on the topic of apps and she told me I "HAD" to download Temple Run because "its the iPhone game everyone is talking about." Her cousin from the other side who had been working on homework on her Macbook, also periodically checking texts on her iPhone, chimed in "its the best game out there. You get hooked and its what all the kids are playing now." Since, at the age of 32, I'm not one to be motivated by high school trends (I don't think I was even when I was in high school), I asked if it is free. As you may recall from a previous post, I rarely pay for iPhone or iPad apps unless they are for my 2 year old son or for work productivity. Only after she told me it's free did I ask her more about it. She immediately flipped her iPhone around, having started up the app already. She handed me her phone and said "try it." The game had started: a man on a bridge coming out from under a tunnel. He was being chased by six or seven black furry monsters. My cousin told me to use my finger to jump and to swipe left or right at a turn. "Tilt the phone to get the coins" she exclaimed as I fumbled with her iPhone. I ran straight into the first tree, because I reacted too slowly and I was hooked. What is it about game apps that get our attention in the first 5 seconds? What motivates us to tilt our phones to collect fake coins and keep hitting "start over" when we hit the roots of the tree, get eaten by the black furry monsters, or simply fall into the murky dark water? Whatever it is is pretty powerful to get a 5 star overall rating and over 37,000 reviews from iPhone peers alike.
It's the day after. I'm sitting in the doctor's office now, working on my iPad, waiting for my name to be called. If you'd asked me before the age of the iPhone what bothers me the most about going to the doctor or the dentist, my response wouldn't have been the discomfort and/or pain of whatever procedure awaited me; it would be that I would have to wait for LONG periods of time, first in the main waiting room, then in the cold, lonely exam room. But for the first time, I don't want my name to be the next one called. I just need to reach my next goal: 100 coins. Yes, like the many high school students 20 years my junior, I too am hooked!