Let's get one thing straight.
I'm not a runner.
I'd like to be a runner, but it was never really my thing. I'd dabble in it at the gym, and try to make a habit of it, but to the dismay of some of my runner friends, I've never really found a lot of joy in it. Now gaming, I can marathon Skyrim in a heartbeat. But that doesn't do much for my waistline.
What I am, however is a fan of zombie fiction. And now the two have come together in a way that has gotten me excited about running. Crazy, right? Let me explain.
I don't know where I first heard of Zombies, Run, but being an impulsive App Store shopper, I picked it up. Zombies, Run tracks your run progress via GPS or an accelerometer, not unlike many other running apps like, Nike+ Run. What makes Zombies, Run different is that an audio drama unfolds while you run. You play an individual from a military base who during a helicoptor ride was shot down between two major cities. Your walkie talkie still works, and you're contacted by a guy named Sam Yao, who guides you to the township of Able. During the run, you're asked to pick up supplies, key items, and complete missions as Runner 5.
It wouldn't be a zombie game without zombies though, and while you run, you'll be alerted to approaching hoards, prompting you to give it a burst of speed to your run, and avoid being eaten. What's great is not only are you alerted by a voice giving you the distance between you and the hoard, but you'll hear their growls getting closer.
I have never been as motivated as I am now to run.
I only started running on Friday, and here it is Sunday, and I've found myself wanting to run more and more. Not only does the app track my progress, but I find that I want to see how the story of this township plays out. There are relationships between people in the base, and people who are now zombies, (SPOILER: I was chased by the old Runner 5 at the end if Mission 1, a girl named Alice, who Sam had a relationship with). At the end of each mission, you use supplies you've picked up to build a better base, unlocking more missions, so it kind of has a role-playing game feel to it. Some of the acting could be a little bit better, but I think I've been spoiled by listening to We're Alive (the zombie audio drama podcast) to have an unbiased opinion.
A great feature of the game is that you can set your own playlists for running. I added a lot of high-intensity tracks to keep me pumped while running; my zombie survival soundtrack consisted of a bit of dubstep, hard rock, techno and extra Radiohead. When you're not doing missions, you can enter Radio Mode, in which two of the techs host a radio show, again, playing your tracks, but instead of mission dialog between them, you get quips between the pair, and updates about the surrounding area. It sounds like a lot of what goes on in the radio show help to flesh out the world of Zombies Run, even throwing in some ARG elements.
An added benefit of Zombies, Run is that it got me outside on a beautiful day. After I finished a mission, I decided to continue running to a nearby deli to get eggs and ham, and took the opportunity to take some cool HDR photos.
As I said before, I'm not a runner. I often joke that I run best when something is chasing me. Zombie, Run has done a great job of using the idea of a zombie apocalypse to get me exercising regularly. And who knows, if there ever is a real zombie apocalypse, I'll be really glad that I got the practice.
Zombies, Run is coming out for Android soon, folks so make sure to pick it up.
If you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, it's available now for the somewhat steep price of $7.99.
Here are some shots I took during my run today: