April 20, 2012
By: Chad Richards
You tie your shoes, put on your headphones and take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan — they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!
This is the plot of the newest hybrid game-and-exercise app Zombies, Run! for the iPhone and iPod Touch, in which users are motivated to run by an impending hoard of zombies.
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Survival of the Fastest Through Gamification
Zombies, Run! is much more than just a detailed, plot-driven roleplaying game — it’s also an interactive exercise tool for giving people the motivation needed to get out and run. To encourage exercise, Zombies, Run! uses the idea of gamification, turning boring tasks into fun games. And while the living dead are yet to invade America, a recent study found that 63.1% of Americans are overweight while only 49.6% of Americans get regular exercise. As it is, America spends 14% of it’s gross domestic product ($2.4 trillion) on healthcare, not nearly as affordable as a $7.99 iPhone app. Add in the cost for a visit to the hospital, and suddenly an unhealthy lifestyle becomes much more dangerous than a few zombies.
We at Reset might have a small obsession with zombies
(notice the literature), but what’s really important to us is gamification
. Recently we talked about using gamification to teach safety and disaster preparedness
, and some readers may argue that Zombies, Run!
is saving us from a real disaster — the nation’s obesity epidemic. Rather than encouraging you to sit at your computer shooting zombies in Left 4 Dead
, Zombies, Run!
uses gamification and mobile technology to encourage healthy habits while making your whole world a fun and healthy game.
Turn Your Old Exercise Routine Into A New Adventure
To encourage exercise, Zombies, Run! gives the user the mysterious title Runner 5. Hundreds of lives are counting on you. You've got to help your base rebuild from the ruins of civilization by collecting critical supplies while avoiding roving zombie hordes. The question “Can you save the world and learn the truth about the zombie apocalypse?” runs through your mind as you race through your actual exercise routine.
Aside from the (fictional) predatory undead, Zombies, Run! motivates users to exercise by letting users choose their own music playlists and treating them to mission objectives, orders and voice recordings. Zombies, Run! is still in beta, but it promises users that upcoming features include recording users’ distance, time, pace and burnt calories as well as new missions to soon be released.
“We want to tap into a fantasy that we think a lot of people have when they’re running or deciding to get fit — that you can be the hero of your own action movie,” said the game’s designer, Adrian Hon.
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