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Why zombies are the new personal trainers

Like quite a lot of people, I often find running quite dull. I’ll happily play almost any team sport going but work schedules rarely allow for that. And treadmills are essentially the gym equivalent of an accountant at a dinner party. So when I was told about Zombies, Run!, I was intrigued.

Zombies, Run is not really a game. It’s more a GPS-based talking-book, music, game thing for iOS and Android (soon).

Whatever it is, it’s a little buggy, has a questionable user interface, and goes through iPhone battery the way TechCrunch goes through editors. Oh, and it costs £5.49.

But Zombies, Run has turned my running experience into something utterly brilliant.

Essentially, you’re in a talking book with a zombie apocalypse scenario. The narrative weaves in and out of whatever playlist you pick up from iTunes. The game bit works by rewarding you with survival items the further you run (tracked by GPS). And this is where the sheer genius of Zombies, Run is revealed: every so often you have to literally sprint from hordes of zombies who have decided to shamble after you.

Trust me, there’s nothing like the sound of zombies right behind you to make you run those extra few hundred meters. It’s easily extended the length of my last two runs by about 20% and it’s not an activity I consider boring any more.

Notwithstanding the fitness benefits, I wonder if the developers, Six to Start, haven’t just invented a completely new genre here. I still don’t know whether it’s more audiobook than game but the incentive/fear interaction mechanic definitely works. If you’re a casual runner, try it-I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

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