It's An App. It's A Movie. It's All The Above.

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"Bank Run" Takes iPhone Games To A New Level: Video-Based Gaming Meets Interactive Movies

Bank Run Game

"Bank Run" is an Apple iPhone game with actual video footage -- not CGI characters, but real humans in real locations. In addition, this App is integrated with an interactive movie.

Imagine finding yourself tied to a chair. Standing over you is a man swinging a large golf club. He keeps asking you menacing questions, but you have no idea what he's talking about. Frustrated by your lack of answers, he decides to take a massive swing at the spot right between your eyes... How do you escape?

Well, there's an App for that.

To be more exact, there's an App and an interactive movie. "Bank Run" is an Apple iPhone game with actual video footage -- not CGI characters, but real humans in real locations. In addition, this App is integrated with an interactive movie. Located at http://www.BankRunGame.com, the "Bank Run" film lets viewers make key decisions for the main character and tackle a series of challenges in order to survive.

In "Bank Run," players take the role of Evan, a young office drone caught up in a deadly conspiracy involving beautiful secret agents, crooked cops and an army of armed thugs in ski masks. Players have to dodge cars and bullets, while deciding whom Evan should trust and whom to kill. If players make the wrong choice or the wrong move, they have the option to hone their skills, test their luck and try again.

"Bank Run" is the creation of SilkTricky, a Portland, Oregon-based digital agency that has worked on campaigns for such brands as Nike, Coca-Cola and Lexus. SilkTricky launched its first live-action interactive film, "The Outbreak," in September 2008. "The Outbreak" featured rampaging zombies, bloodied characters and viewers in charge. Fueled by reviews on blogs and social media, "The Outbreak" attracted over one million views during its eight-month run online.

"The reaction to 'The Outbreak' inspired us to go even further," said Chris Lund, SilkTricky's founder and the director of "Bank Run." "We wanted to push the envelope of interactive storytelling, and the iPhone platform presented the perfect opportunity to do so."

Rather than drop another game in the iPhone store and hope fans discover it, SilkTricky is hosting part of the experience online where it can be more readily promoted and discovered. The experience continues on the iPhone with several shooter-type games. Once beaten, the games unlock additional scenes to unveil the player's fate. Players can also opt for an infinite arcade mode.

The entire movie runs approximately 20 minutes, depending on the player's choices. The iPhone game costs $1.99 and includes the second half of the movie, a side-scrolling shooter, and a third-person shooter. In addition, an arcade mode adds continued playability. Both the movie and the game contain graphic violence and adult language, and are recommended for mature audiences only.

"Bank Run" was filmed in Portland with local actors. Lund won't reveal the budget, but noted that "it cost a little less than 'Avatar.'" He added, "Our goal wasn't to make a cinematic classic, but to create a fun fantasy experience for our users. There's some cheesy one-liners and a few over-the-top scenarios, but who wants to play a boring movie?"

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Lynn Lund
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