Fandibuff: I Am Runner 5

ZombiesWithin the realm of stereotypes we gamers are not cast in a favorable light. Often depicted in popular culture as brainy-yet-socially clueless shut-ins with a hatred of all things sport and a penchant for obscure science-fiction reference (but not cool obscure like the hipster set), we are further done a disservice by being the target demographic for foods of dubious nutritional value and, in some cases with soda, of such questionable coloring that it would seem better suited turning turtles into Manhattan’s latest crime-fighting teens. (I’m looking at you, Mountain Dew.)

These associations have always bothered me. To enjoy one thing is not necessarily to the exclusion of something else, and to insinuate otherwise only needlessly limits a person. (I mean, I like sports! You can’t imagine the sound I made when I found out what Fantasy Football really is, though.) And while our perceived ignorance in social graces or competitive athletics is one thing, it’s the image of the physically unfit nerd that really pisses me off.

Like one day we all agreed that not only do we love Star Wars but we also hate treadmills.

(ED. NOTE: I was gonna make fun of the Detroit Tigers here but Christ that’s like slap-boxing an infant.)

(Add’l ed. note: Considering the real editor is from Michigan, this was a wise decision. GO TIGERS.)

So armed with this burning desire to combat this unfortunate light cast on nerdkind (I will be using the terms nerd and geek interchangeably, please come to terms with that now) I set out to engage in the one activity that I knew would put me on the path to get the results I wanted: Running.

FYI, those desired results are looking friggin’ great at the beach, because let’s be clear my motivations at any given time are not complicated and I am pretty shallow.

Okay, so there’s just one problem: Running is boring. Even if I listen to music it’s just agony with a soundtrack. I needed something that would add a level of excitement and meaning to the activity. Something with a narrative, maybe? Oh, and how about clear achievements to help me mark my sweating, feeble-bodied process? That sounds good! But where would I find such a thing? That’s when I got the app Zombies, Run! by Six to Start.

Designed as an Alternate Reality Game, Zombies, Run! is a game you play on your phone that places you in the role of Runner #5 in a world full of, you guessed it, zombies. As a runner it’s your job to venture out into the undead-filled wastes of what once was civilization and retrieve life-sustaining supplies as well as plot-progressing items such as a mysterious case belonging to the Center for Disease Control. By integrating your playlists with the audio from the game (mostly taking the form of characters contacting you via radio) the game offers the most delectable of motivations: Listen to music, propel a storyline forward and OH SWEET SASSY MOLASSY THEY ARE RIGHT BEHIND YOU GO GO GO.

The method of completing each mission is simple: Run. there isn’t a specific speed set to the game, so you can go at your own pace (you can even walk and progress through the game) so long as you’re ready to give a bit of speed during the inevitable moment when the sound of gnashing teeth and hungry, un-earthy moans punctuate your otherwise lovely run through post-apocalyptic ruins. The game is also playable on a treadmill if that’s more your thing, though I haven’t had the chance to try it out because I hate treadmills. And I love Star Wars.

I was already willing to spend the money on a game that offered audio terror added to my Ke$ha mix, but the game also incorporates a visual component on your phone. Missions, distances, time elapsed and objects acquired are all presented, as well as a visual overview of your sleepy hamlet of a community. The best part? The more missions accomplished, the more the picture of your encampment changes. Oh, and you can choose how to spend the resources to build different buildings. This resource economy incentivizes going for a run when you have a chance like you would not believe. It’s much easier to push through a cramp in your side when you’re the only hope innocent people have of getting these bandages and goddamnit those walls aren’t going to reinforce themselves.

So I think I’ve found my answer to the quandary “What would it take for me to get my ass out of the house and getting in shape?” Ensuring my characters in Fandible are physically fit has always been a simple issue of number allocation, but this has only served to emphasize the difficulty of changing these attributes in myself in the real world. Luckily the answer seems to be not to take physical activity more seriously, but instead make it a game.

If you know of any other resources that might help make me a dice-rolling Adonis, then I’d love to hear about them in the comments section. Do you know of any games that can help a person learn a new skill? Lemme know.


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About the Author
David is a human, standing at average human size with human features. He is not an android, that would be ridiculous. He is fond of horror movies, so-bad-it’s-good movies, stand-up comedy and humor sometimes inappropriate for a given setting but within the accepted parameters of average human interaction. David reads H.P. Lovecraft with human eyes, speaks about Cyberpunk with his human mouth (using vocal chords, not embedded speakers) listens to podcasts with his human ears and typed this from an undisclosed location with his human hands. He was created in New England.

8 comments on “Fandibuff: I Am Runner 5

  1. Mawdrigen says:

    See I can’t run, I suck at it utterly, but when my newly (relatively) single self decided that being overweight was
    not going to get me any dates I turned to swimming and Cycling.

    Swimming is relaxing anyway and is surprisingly good exercise, although I’ll admit it took a LOT of willpower to get
    most of my clothes off in public. I’m good at swimming (I’m from Grimsby, effectively Britains Innsmouth) and this plus
    a change in diet got me to the point that I could start cycling. To make swimming less dull I bought a Waterproof walkman,
    and I regularly swim to the soundtrack of Pacific Rim (Although 2500 tons of Awesome always makes me swim so fast I nearly
    have a heart attack :P)

    I like the Wilderness so Cycling works for that, we’ve got lots of Canals round here.It’s fun to explore.

    Given I’ve lost 10 or so kilos (23 odd pounds) since Jan 1st it’s working for me.

    Also I did learn how to do weights, but my Gym-phobia is very strong, so I’ve done very little of that.

    Games for exercise… well here in England our Larps are high contact, and very physical, seriously I have charged full speed up hills in chainmail
    it really helps and I definitely noticed the difference since I started the exercise. Not sure what the Larp Options are around Fandi-central but if you can find
    a boffer larp (I think they are called) you will find it is very good exercise.

    Zombie run I have heard of, and one of my friends uses, but as I don’t run I can’t speak on that one.

    I have to admit I’m not being very useful to you, I hate exercise so have chosen two that I don’t hate, and don’t need to
    find distractions to! I am however another Gamer who does the Exercise.

    Painful though it is!

  2. Barsha Da Barsha says:

    I run. And I hate everything about it. I also do a regiment of push ups and sit ups at night. And I hate everything about it.

    I have a sister and I have friends who are always telling me how excited they are about a work out. My sister is pretty big in the Future’s Tour and she can talk my ear about how amazing such and such workout program is. I have a hard time understanding why there are people who love work outs. God, I just don’t get it.

    Literally the only reason I work out is because I want to look marginally good in a bathing/birthday suit. The entire time, it’s just me thinking “I’d rather be fondling my mother in law right now than doing this.” However, it’s good for me, and everyone really should find a way to keep fit or fit-ish. Blah Blah blah one body blah blah blah heart disease.

    Moral of this tale? I will probably get Zombie Run so I can act like my running is an apocalyptic hell rather than just being hell.

  3. Angela says:

    My opinion on running is best summed up by Ann Perkins:

  4. Katsushiro says:

    I ran. Once. It was.. I.. I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like tears… in… rain. Time… to die…

  5. Arvandus says:

    Someone asked me to walk a mile in their shoes. I knocked him out, took his shoes and ran.

    I think I finally understood him now. I would be grumpy too if I had to rwalk around with such poor padding.

  6. Angela says:

    This is all evidence that our fans are better people than we are. Keep up the good work, Mawdrigan, and please pity us when you are our buff overlord.

  7. Mawdrigen says:

    Oh don’t get me wrong. Things like Push ups (which I cannot do :P) and weight work… bore me to absolute tears. I very much have to force myself to do them, but I do them in quick rotations while waiting for my daily roulettes to pop on Final Fantasy. Do a dungeon, do a rotation of weights.

    Find something that you enjoy doing as exercise is the best advice I can give. I did that with Swimming and Cycling, because it’s awesome getting up early and cycling along by the Thames and seeing all the Wildlife.

    The other thing is… It’s not a competition. I had a guy cycling along with me the other day who made it obvious he wanted to race. So I stopped and waited till he was out of sight, then went back to my cycling.

    Theres no such thing as a better person just because someone exercises at any way. This was one of the first things I had to get straight in my head when I started.

    Find what you are willing and able to do then go do as much as you want. Motivating yourself with Guilt doesn’t work, you have to make anything you do a victory.

    Wow.. Philosophical.

    And I still haven’t found any games to help you all!

    Also… The concept of me as a buff overlord is slightly terrifying!

  8. Mawdrigen says:

    Oh and the work out high people talk about…

    Never seen it, never experienced it, and i think they might be fibbing.

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