Outrunning Zombies

After months of waiting, I finally got to do something that I’ve been dying to try.

One day, in what feels like forever ago but was probably only about 7 months, I saw a neat thing pop up on my Twitter feed – a running game about zombies was in the works.  I went to the Zombies, Run! Kickstarter page and researched a little and automatically donated money as a backer because it combines some of my favourite things – my geekish love of zombies and my nerdy love of running apps and if all else failed, I’d at least get a t-shirt and poster out of the deal.

I waited patiently and got a little more excited with each update I got from Six to Start.  I wore my Runner 5 shirt with pride the day it came in the mail.  My non-runner fiance looked at the poster when it arrived and deemed it ‘awesome’ and had it framed.  I admit I had a couple days of jealousy after the iPhone release date came and went while me and my Android had to go without.

But yesterday… Yesterday was the day.  It was finally going to be MY turn.

They had a couple last minute hiccups, but it finally launched around 4pm EST, just in time for me to download it, make sure all the settings were good to go, and then head out for my run.

I didn’t seem to have the file size problem that I saw a lot of people having in Twitterverse – I have a Samsung Captivate that seems to have the biggest storage ever (internal and external) and it didn’t even put a dent in the space limits.  I did, however, have to download the WinAmp app to make my music and playlists work with it properly – it didn’t like my Android Music Player for some reason even though I have the correct version – but that only took about two minutes.

My shoes were on and I was ready to run for my life.

And it was worth the hype, both online and in my own head – I was immediately hooked.  I don’t want to give away any ‘spoilers’ about the plot, but it made my run, which I already love, more fun.  I found myself smiling when I was told that I was about to come out of a forest, when I was actually just going to come out of a forest (which I know was coincidence, but I loved it anyways).  I sped up when Sam the dispatcher told me to, because I didn’t want to be bitten by the undead that were lurking off to my right.  I found myself totally immersed in the story that I was in, I even called the doctor a rather rude name in my head when she said they might not let me into Abel Township if I didn’t have anything worthwhile with me.  I was no longer Lindsay.  I was the new Runner 5 and getting to that gate was the most important thing that I ever was going to have to do.  And I better find something useful on my way to shove into the doctor’s face on my way in.

I only have a couple criticisms, that aren’t really even all that big:

  • The voice that came over while the music was playing telling me that I found something, was really hard to understand over the music.  It sounded muffled.  I was shocked to find out how much stuff I had actually collected when I got home and looked at my base.  This wasn’t a problem with the actual story line part – that was clear as day.
  • It would be awesome if you could input at the beginning how long your run was going to be and then have the story be spaced out for that full duration, because the missions only last about 30 minutes.  I’m not a designer, but I expect that this would be a difficult thing to do and I understand why they didn’t – it would just be cool.
  • It didn’t track my distance, just my time, and while it was tracking my pace while I was running, I don’t seem to be able to find that information now that I’ve completed the mission.  However, I know that I could have used RunKeeper at the same time and from what I understand ZombieLink should be able to do this in the near future.
  • Windows Phone users are getting 5 exclusive missions (I’m assuming Microsoft put in some funding…).  This is frustrating both as a backer and as someone who didn’t get an option on my type of phone when it was purchased (work bought my phone and supports Android).   Hopefully, they’ll release this as an expansion pack and those of us Android and iPhone users can pay for it if we want it.  Which I will.
  • I don’t have a good way to carry my phone with me while I’m running because I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for a clip or armband and it’s hot so I’m not wearing a jacket with pockets, so I have to shove my phone into the back of my sports bra, making it hard to pause when I hit a traffic light.  However, this is not the fault of Zombies, Run – I’d just like to whine about it.

In sum, I loved it.  I can’t wait to go again tonight.  Maybe I’ll even throw in some zombie chases this time…

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