Zombies, Run! A first look

When I first heard of Zombies, Run! last year, I was excited.  Who wouldn’t want to imagine themselves in a zombie apocalypse,  running and eluding them slow-witted lumbering corpses? So I was eagerly awaiting for this app to appear in Apple’s App store.

I took it out for a spin this morning.  I was due for a 10-kilometer run and was excited to try it out.  As soon as the game started, I heard the rotors of a helicopter, some talk of a guided missile, followed by a helicopter crash.  Before I knew it I was some sort of runner running out into a world populated by zombies.  The game story unfolds in between songs in your playlist and you are picking up supplies as you run.  While you run, there will be moments that some zombie horde will chase you and you have to speed up to avoid them.  The zombie chase lasted about a minute,  so you can look at this game as some sort of interval training routine.    There are 13 missions in the game.  I completed the first mission in about 30 minutes, and in those 30 minutes I think there were two occasions when I was chased by zombies.  Once you get back to base, you can distribute the supplies to upgrade base facilities.

Sounds fun?  It was.  I specifically enjoyed the moments when there were zombies hot on my trail. I looked at my Garmin data and yes you can see when I had to pick up the pace to avoid being caught.   I also noticed that, versus the first time I encountered zombies,  I had to run faster the second time.  Does that mean that succeeding batch of zombies will be faster?

Sadly though, at $8, this app did not actually meet my expectations.  My hopes were probably too high.  I am of the old-school Dungeons-and-Dragons mold, where I enjoy the experience of being immersed in a fantasy realm.   Maybe it was because of the cheesy script, or maybe because I expected a world similar to the Fallout RPG game series, but I didn’t feel the dread and despair of living in a zombie-apocalyptic world.  I particularly didn’t enjoy that, after a mission, you are switched over to a “radio mode,” where two disc-jockeys are bantering in between the songs in your playlist.

Still, it’s an entertaining concept, and it does add an element of fun and variety into your workouts.  The game does have potential.   I would like to believe that the there are twists and turns in the story and that the developers have some tricks and surprises under their sleeve.

Check out Zombies, Run! at the App Store.

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Updating Twitter and Facebook via Siri

So the new iPhone 4S was launched in the Philippines about a week ago. What does that mean to us runners?

For one thing, you can use the new iPhone 4S’s Siri to update your social networking feeds! This means that you can update your Facebook status and tweet while running . While this may not be appear to be such a big thing, consider this: you can keep your friends, family, and other supporters updated in real-time of your racing status. You can post something like “Just passed the 10 kilometer mark and still going strong!” or “I’m exhausted, cramping, and I still have 3 kilometers left!” What’s more, after finishing a race, you can review your posts and relive the experience.

But first, a slight caveat. You actually can’t directly update Facebook or Twitter using Siri. But since you can send tweets and update your Facebook status through SMS, you can use Siri to send SMS to Twitter and Facebook.

The instructions below apply to Globe subscribers. Sorry, SMART and SUN users, I am only familiar with the Globe text commands, but I am sure the other providers have something similar.

Twitter

1) You first have to register your mobile phone to Twitter. For GLOBE subscribers, send TWEET REG to 2363.

2) Then create Twit as a contact in your iPhone’s address book and enter 2363 as the phone number. (Don’t create an address book entry with Twitter as the contact name. For some reason, it confuses Siri)

Now you can tell Siri to send an SMS to Twitter. For example, you can tell Siri “Send SMS to Twit. Tweet I’m tired” and the tweet “I’m tired” will appear in Twitter!

Facebook

1) Go to your Facebook page and go to Account Settings. Click on Mobile.

2) Register your mobile phone. Facebook will send you a confirmation code to your phone and asks you to enter that confirmation code

3) Create Facebook as a contact in your iPhone’s address book and enter 2933 as the phone number. This is Globe’s Facebook number.

Now you can tell Siri to send an SMS to Facebook and it’ll appear as your status.

(Photo Credit)