Struggling to find motivation to lace up those shoes and hit the pavement? Would you run faster with a horde of bloodthirsty zombies in hot pursuit?
In what might be the best application of gamification to date, an app called Zombies, Run! to be released next year promises to shake up your exercise routine and get your blood pumping.
You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first few steps outside. You’ve barely covered a hundred yards when you hear them. They must be close.
You can hear every gutteral breath, every rattling groan - they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!
In this alternate zombie reality, you are a "runner", tasked with collecting essential supplies to bring back to your group of fellow human survivors.
The more you run, the more items you collect. Pretty simple stuff.
As creator Naomi Alderman puts it, it doesn't matter where you run, how fast you run, or how far you run. Just run.
"If you want to get fit while also saving the world, this is the game for you."
She says the idea was born of an amateur running class, when a member jokingly gave a reason for participating as "to outrun the zombie horde".
Zombies, Run! records your distance, time, pace, and calories burned. Once you return to base, you'll get to assign your swag to different divisions and decide who gets what – potentially life-or-death decisions. Oh, the power.
App designer Adrian Hon told wired.com: "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."
Gratuitous gamification was something they wanted to avoid.
“We haven’t just put experience points and levels and nonsense badges onto running – that stuff feels really shallow really quickly. It’s probably more like a role-playing game than anything else.”
Nearly 3,000 people have pledged close to $60,000 toward the project on Kickstarter – way beyond its original $12,500 goal.