Zombies, Run!

“Gamification is the application of game elements in non-game contexts.” – Sebastion Detarding, MindTrek, 2011

Entering the second week of the University of Pennsylvania MOOC on Gamification via Coursera, I have to say it is better than what I was expecting in both content and delivery. Over 66,000 people from 174 countries are taking this 6 week course, and after enrolling with a large amount of skepticism about ‘gamification’, am quite enjoying the discussion taking place in the forums. Much use of the term ‘gamification’ is often grossly oversimplified or sometimes just plain wrong, but the discussions taking place in this course seem to be elevating the dialogue around this topic.

Zombies, Run! was mentioned in Week 1. Whilst hearing about Zombies, Run! when it was initially a Kickstarter project, I thought it time to see what it was all about. Zombies, Run! is described as,

“an ultra-immersive running game for the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Windows Phone. We deliver the story straight to your headphones through orders and voice recordings – and back home, you can build and grow your base with the items you’ve collected.”

It’s not too bad. Whilst you are running the story unfolds between songs in your playlist, you engage in interval training whilst trying to escape zombie hordes and you pick up objects (seemingly at random) that can be used back at base to unlock further missions. The results are collated for you where you get access to statistics on distance travelled, time, average speed, calories burned etc. As you can see below, I have just started an exercise campaign after 6 months of 100% inactivity…

Screen Shot 2012-09-02 at 6.50.14 PM

I’m going to continue using Zombies, Run! until I finish the storyline. What is interesting is that games or ‘game-like’ activities continue to invade real life – a real-life Zombies, Run! has already been implemented with http://runforyourlives.com/ events springing up everywhere.