10/10/12

Zombies! RUN!

Raise the gates!

Alright, Runner Five, let me tell you how I plan on getting fit over the next few... however long it takes. But, erm... first... a little background. Y'see, before the world went to hell, I didn't have a car anyway. I was forced to walk to work. Well... from work... I could usually bum a ride off my roommate to get there, but by the time I left, well... not even owls were awake, I suppose. Don't quote me on that. I don't know the sleep cycle of owls... Anyway...

Then... the world went mad. I think I first heard about the Zoms whilst talking with a friend on instant messenger. And then I read about them on Facebook. And before I knew it, everyone I met had somehow come in contact with a zombie. I knew it was only a matter of time before they reached my township, so I prepared. I forwent the rides to work and built up the strength in my legs. Unfortunately, due to a knee injury, I'm not able to full-out run, but you can still outpace a zombie if you're just able to move above a slow shamble.

I remember the night when the zombies came clearly. Curiosity got the better of me, so I was looking up information on the Internet and before you know it... my casual walks to and from work became a mad dash for survival. I was wary at first... pushing myself probably a little harder than I needed to. I was eventually able to maintain a safe stride without being caught by the horde. And then I came upon Abel Township and the good people therein. Pulling my own weight with this community wasn't a problem because 1) I'm always out walking to work anyway, and 2) well, my own weight was starting to drop off!

In a post-apocalyptic situation, things are bound to go wrong now and then. I was forced to use a secondary application if I wanted to play music while being chased by the walking dead (a necessity if you want to keep up a good pace). And my stat recorder didn't always match up perfectly with the main database at Abel Township. But that's not the point, is it? The point is, I'm getting in shape, and it's fun.

The people at Six to Start are geniuses. There are really only two clear reasons why I haven't started working out sooner. 1) I don't know how. You tell me to go run around the block, I'll start running, wear out after a couple of meters, stop and swear never to do it again. 2) It's just not fun. I understand after you've done it a while it becomes fun, but the hardest part is getting up over that initial hurtle. With Zombies, Run! I'm able to listen to music and follow along a perfectly synced story line - in short: have fun. And on top of that, it molds itself to your level. If you're a marathon runner, so are the zombies. If you can hardly move above a slow shamble, the zombies match pace.

But the real genius of Zombies, Run! is the psychological boost it gives you to put on a burst of speed at just the right moment. When I'm warned that there are zombies 100 meters behind me, it doesn't matter how tired I am, I go faster. Not because I believe I'm going to be eaten by zombies, but because, doggone it, I might lose this game! It literally forces me to keep moving by appealing to my competitive nature without any real person to compete against.

It's not all perfect, though. As hinted above, when you run, the app syncs with "Zombielink," their own internet database. This website is set up well enough with maps showing where you've run and what items you've collected on your runs to build up your township. But the last few times I've noticed the maps have been less than accurate. The places where it tracks where the chases were and when the songs played sometimes are off and by the end of the route it seems like the programming attempts to compensate for the leftover time by going back to the start... which is... odd. But, also noted above, that's not the point of this app. It's cool to look back on what you've done, but the point, as the characters in the game tend to often reiterate, is to move forward. Keep running! Also important is to allocate the items you pick up to different areas of your home base thereby unlocking more missions, but this functionality seems to be working perfectly.

I'm terribly out of shape. Even without the knee injury, it hurts my leg muscles to simply walk for half an hour at varying speeds. My plan is to keep walking until it doesn't hurt anymore. When that happens I know I'll be able to pick up the pace. Maybe a slow jog; nothing that stresses my knee too much. After a while - watch out, ladies! - we'll have a brand new Steve who's in shape and ready for the zombie apocalypse!

Speaking of which... what-... what's that... d'you see that? Over there, mucking about in the bushes... it's probably just the wind, but it could be... Oh no... R-... Runner Five! There are te-... el-... there are a dozen zombies headed straight for your position right now! RUN!