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20

Jan

2013

Gamification FAIL (Zombies, Run!)

By ActionGeek. Posted in Action/Geek | No Comments »

OK let me first say that I love the concept, the interface is very nice, the way the app syncs to the website is smooth and effortless, there are loads of options and even the voice acting is pretty good… but unfortunately, for me at least, the app is broken due to a fundamental flaw. The problem is that the app is designed for “missions” of a very specific length – 30 minutes, or 1 hours. If your runs don’t fit with those 2 options then the app really doesn’t work as well as it should.

The first time I tried the app I stepped out the door and started running, and I was impressed. The “game” starts immediately and worked well. It didn’t work with my music, but turned out that I just needed to select a playlist so that was my fault (though they could have made that clearer) The problem though, was I did a quick loop and got home after 25 minutes with 5 minutes of “mission time” to spare. No problem, I figured that would just be added on to my next run.

So, next time I stepped out the door I clicked “continue” and it picked up from where it left off before – fantastic. This time I had set my music up, so in between game audio it played Green Day to me and I was a happy boy… until after 5 minutes of game time and 2 songs when it just stopped… no zombies, no music, just silence!

Got home, synced the app to the web site and turns out the app just plain quit after the first “mission” was ended. But there was no audio warning, no “would you like to start mission 2″, nothing.

That means the final 20 minutes of my second run were not tracked, no data at all. Now to me that’s just annoying. The game uses GPS so it knows when you get home, so why not just start mission 2, or at least keep tracking data (and playing music) until you get back to the start, or the user clicks a “end run” button?

So I’m afraid I won’t be using Zombies, Run again and I’ll be going back to Runtracker… I just hope that they either fix these annoying problems in a future update, or a sequel because like I say the idea is great, but the app is useless for someone like me who doesn’t run for exactly 30 or 60 minutes every time!

 

3

Jan

2013

Beating arachnophoboa

By ActionGeek. Posted in Crazy/Weird, The List | No Comments »

Time to cross another item off my list, but this is a strange one… and while I’ve crossed it off, it’s technically still a work in progress and I suspect it will be for some time – beating my fear of spiders!

It’s something which has bugged me (pun intended) for a very long time. I’m not really afraid of anything else (nothing irrational anyway) and I know they are “just little spiders” and that (in general) they can’t hurt me – but I’be always had a profound and deep fear of them. The weird thing is, I’m still not 100% sure what it is about them that has always bothered me. They have lots of legs, but so do crabs and lobsters and I’m fine with them… they are small and fast, but so are crickets and I’m fine with them… they have big teeth, but do does my boa constrictor and my rottweiler!

Anyway, long story short I’ve been wanting to face and beat this fear for a long time, and last year I decided to make it happen – and bought a tarantula after lots of pleading from my wife (her argument was that if I was allowed snakes, she should be allowed a tarantula and I couldn’t really argue with that!)

Over time I became more and more desensitised, and more and more interested in tarantulas and spiders in general. I started reading books, and researching online, and soon one tarantula became two, and then three, and then four…

In fact I’ve become really fascinated by them. I still have that niggling arachnophobia in the back of my mind, but it’s getting less and less every day and now firmly under control. I’ve actually written an article about how I beat arachnophobia over at tarantula-care.com so anyone interested in the subject can head over there to ready the whole story. For now though, that’s one more item ticked on the list ;)