March 5, 2012 at 4:41 PM ET
Augmented reality gaming usually involves looking at the world through a smartphone lens, to witness video game elements superimposed on real life. Rarely has the same been done on a purely aural level. "Zombies, Run!" rectifies this, and gives you a healthy fear-based workout to boot.
The brainchild of interactive storytellers Adrian Hon and Naomi Alderman, the iPhone game was originally pitched as a Kickstarter project last fall, one that was successful in the end. The following is the video that accompanied the campaign, which explains the "Zombies, Run!" in detail:
As Alderman notes, there are countless apps available already that tracks a runner's progress, which is why the iPhone has become an invaluable asset among joggers. But none have infused game elements into the proceedings, let alone provide a narrative.
The game is divided into two parts: first, the player must go on excursions for supplies or other essentials, as dedicated by the particular mission's narrative. As you run around, you get dispatches from control center telling you that there's zombies running after you. In the video, you can hear them on the runner's heels.
Only the amount of distance covered matters, exact locations do not (so if you want, you can just run in place on a treadmill).
Items collected can be used to help build your home base and recover what's left of humanity. Doing so also unlocks new portions of the game, advancing the story. Since the game using the iPhone's accelerometer, it's the movement that counts. Because of this, even cyclists can enjoy "Zombies, Run!"
The Kickstarter page states that multiplayer support is in the works, as well as a version for Android as well. The app is available to the public via the App Store for $8.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.