Zombies, Run! – Fitness App
It turns out that spending endless hours on the couch watching TV is terrible for your waistline. I should know – I partook in a marathon (the viewing kind, not the running kind) and now have the extra poundage to show for it. But it was The Walking Dead, so I stand by my decision.
The fact that I’ve fallen sorely out of shape in the past few months, and that I have a newfound obsession with the undead, led me to download the new fitness app, Zombies, Run! by developers Six to Start and Naomi Alderman. The app places you smack dab in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and your mission, as explained to you by Mission Control, is to collect supplies that will grow your little community and rebuild civilization. The longer you run, the more supplies you pick up.
Basically, you can get in shape while saving the world. Everybody wins!
As I set out on my first mission, I couldn’t help but notice that my surroundings lent themselves perfectly to this app – through drizzling rain, my mission unfolded as I made my way around the Vancouver Sea Wall. With people few and far between, a feeling of isolation abounded. It was awesome.
I won’t get into too much detail, since the less you know, the better the experience, but I will say that my first encounter with the zombie hoard was more visceral than I expected. They creep up on you, in all their groaning glory, and an alarm beeps faster and faster the closer they get. In order to escape you have to increase your speed by… a lot. It’s exhausting. The funny thing is, I found myself glancing backwards at one point – “I know there aren’t really zombies behind me, but I’m going to have a peek, just to make sure.” That made me smile, which also means I must’ve looked like a weirdo, grinning like a fool as I ran like my life depended on it.
Every time I was told that I had picked up an item, I did a mental fist pump. Mission Control does a pretty good job at making you feel like you’re actually helping the cause, and I have to say it was the quickest 40 minute run I’ve ever done. The only annoying thing is that the cyborg voice telling me what items I was picking up sounded quite garbled, so I couldn’t quite make out what it was saying. Except for “underwear”. I grabbed quite a few pairs of those, strangely enough…
By the time I encountered the zombies for a second time, I was running on empty. I tried to sprint as fast as I could, but unfortunately ended up ‘dropping’ some of my items to distract them. As I rode in the elevator back up to my apartment, I checked to see what I had lost. Turns out I dropped five hard-earned items (probably underwear), and was so disappointed in myself I actually cursed out loud.
I should note that Zombies, Run! is best used on a running path with few obstacles. When the zombies come a knockin’, you definitely don’t want to be dodging baby carriages and Sunday strollers.
The app is also great at tracking your progress, as it includes a run log which records your time and distance. A friend of mine is using it to train for a half marathon, and to fire up her running partner (daily progress can be set to automatically update your friends on Facebook).
If I had to describe this app in one word, it would be… priceless. It’s delightfully amusing, and anything that gets me running from zombies instead of watching them from the couch is invaluable in my book.