Confessions of an Overweight Gamer: A Look at a Different Kind of Zombie Game
Ever since George A. Romero’s film Night of the Living Dead premiered on October 1, 1968, the modern zombie mythos has become a prevalent part of American popular culture. Countless movies, books, music, and games have been inspired by this one film. Recently I came across a different kind of zombie experience. Before I get to the meat and bones of the article (get it! lol yeah that was kinda lame), I want to talk a little about my personal history. Growing up I was never much for physical activity. My younger sister got all the athletic prowess, whereas I got more into things like playing music and video games. So except for a few instances in my life, I have always been “chunky.” I would rather stay inside and play video games than go for a run or something requiring any sort of physical activity. Needless to say I was headed for trouble and fast. So in February of this year, I got a bad case of strep throat. Naturally I went to the doctor, but since I hadn’t been to the doctor in a long while, she wanted to do additional tests just to see where my current state of health was. Now I never considered myself too big, but after some concerning test results I found out I had fatty liver disease. Now I don’t know how many people have heard of it, but what it boils down to is that unless I changed my lifestyle I would eventually have cirrhosis of the liver. This shocked me as I was only 23 years old at the time, way too young to be having major health problems. At first I thought if I just walk things will get better, well that quickly failed as I fell into old habits. Then I started using a running app. called Ease Into 5k, and was doing OK at first. About a month later though, I was growing bored of it and boredom led me to fall back into those old bad habits. Things were looking bad, but then a good friend of mine (Lucy Niess) told me about an interesting app….
Now what this app by Six to Start does is amazing! It turns a boring run into a freaking video game! No longer do I run without a purpose; I am now runner 5 and I have a mission to do! Since I did the first mission on this game, I no longer have an excuse not to run. I want to run all the time just to see what is going to happen next. At first I thought this was going to be just a gimmicky app, with like zombie noises and just be generally lame. I am glad I was wrong; instead what I found was one of the most engrossing stories ever! There were nights where I felt like I was a part of this post-apocalyptic world, experiencing feelings of grief, joy, anxiety, and badassedness. How the app works is you’ll be introduced to a story element (usually depending on the mission), then your music will play. This process will repeat until the mission is complete and then it will switch into the awesome and hilarious radio mode. During the run you will “pick” up items. Certain items are important for story progression, while the rest can be used to upgrade parts of the town. The point of upgrading the town is to unlock further missions down the line. Now as you can see this sound like a freaking video game! Instead of a controller, you are the person in it!
For added realism and a good challenge, you can enable Zombie Encounters. How they work is that at random (usually at the worst times, but in a good way) you’ll hear an alert saying “Warning: zombies approaching.” When this alarm sounds you have to up your pace and I mean run like hell. If you fail to up your pace after about a minute, you ditch all the items you had collected to distract the zombies. Many times I thought I was giving it my all, only to hear that alert and find bursts of speed I didn’t know I had. Now for novice runners who have not been working out and are badly out of shape, I recommend disabling this feature. I also recommend using this app in conduction with another app like Ease Into 5k, as this app doesn’t teach pacing all that well. However, my runs have never been the same. I am now down over 30 lbs. and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. If you have been anything like me, get this app! Not only will it get you moving but if you like video games, you are going to want to level up yourself (yeah that was lame too!). In all seriousness though if you want a reason to work out, this app will help. It is available on multiple platforms like the Android Market Place or the Apple App Store. Support them at their website here. For more game stories and news, stay tuned to Velocity Gamer.