The lights are on
As is common with mobile games, I came across 10000000 via good word of mouth. At first, I didn’t see what the big deal was, but before long I was hooked and vowed not to stop until I had shattered the titular score.
For those unfamiliar with 10000000, you play match-three with sliding tiles while a little man runs and fights monsters on the top of the screen. You match swords and staves for offense, shields for defense, and all sorts of other goodies to power yourself up. Getting hit and taking too long to unlock doors and chests pushes you toward the left side of the screen until you eventually get a game over. Running time, successful attacks, matching combos, and more all contribute to your final score for the session. Once you hit the score of 10000000 in a single run, your pixel adventurer is set free.
My early scores were pathetic, but I thought the numbers would keep piling up as I kept trying. Then I realized that the number only updated when you earn a new high score. This made the challenge exponentially more intimidating. Yet, something kept bringing me back. There’s always a new upgrade to unlock, a new challenge to crush, or a new rank to earn. My scores kept rising as my skills improved and my multiplier increased.
After weeks of quick and marathon sessions, I had finally upgraded all my equipment and maxed my stats and rank. The game no longer offered any permanent boosts or handicaps. I had to score 10000000 all on my own.
Since I didn’t need any more resources, I activated the shield potion (which disables collecting money, stone, etc.) and tried a few runs. I just couldn’t push through. Then I decided to just go for broke and turn on all the score boost potions. Enemies had added defense and stronger attacks and locks were harder to open. But my matching reflexes had sharpened over hours of playtime and I managed to overcome all. Watching that number tick past 10000000 was exhilarating. And that momentum carried forward to a final score of 16034334.
I had crushed this running game and reached the predetermined end in a genre known for being endless. The victory screen displayed the simple message “You Are Free.” After all I’d been through to get there, I realized that this cheery message had the opposite effect. The fun of 10000000 is in the fight itself. Once you cross the line there’s nothing meaningful left to do (for now, at least). Never before have I wanted to turn my back on the waiting sunset, lock myself back in the cage, and throw away the key.