This has been something of a phenomenon: a chart-topping app with over a million players, funded initially through Kickstarter, based on a simple-but-brilliant idea from Naomi Alderman and Six to Start. It’s a fitness app that encourages people to run faster by making them a character in an audio drama set during the zombie apocalypse. Believe me, the sound of a ravenous revenant can be enough to make you pick up the pace.
“Certainly put a spring in my step.”New York Times
I was brought in as a script consultant, helping Naomi to shape the drama and make it work as an audio story. I also wrote a five-part story later released as the ‘lost missions’ of Season 1.
The game was nominated for a Writers’ Guild Award as well as three Develop awards for Best Use of Narrative, Best New IP and Audio Accomplishment.
“It’s absolutely charming. It makes me want to go outside. That might be the most impressive accomplishment of all”Kotaku
The audience reaction was incredible too. Not only was it the most successful game project on Kickstarter at that point, but it also topped the Health & Fitness app charts and gained amazing press all over the English-speaking world. My favourite is this feature on Channel 4 News – note the zombie in the studio at the end.
“If you’re a fan of radio, zombie stories or need an extra push to get fit this year, Zombies, Run! excels in concept and execution.”USA Today
“Taking the games world by storm… far more engaging than the athletes’ monotoned encouragement on Nike+.”The Observer
“It’s a potent combination of mental play that causes real emotions to bleed into fiction — which we expect from novels and television shows. Most importantly, it’s the kind of jumble that makes us stop, think about our lives, and consider making a change.”Kill Screen
And a few customer reviews:
“Just tried @zombiesrungame and for the first time in my life I feel truly alive.”
“OMG. THE GAME IS SO FUN!”
“This is the best running app ever – helped me so much in training for the army. :D”
NB If you are concerned about the zombiphobic stance of Zombies, Run!, I have offered this argument in favour of zombie rights to redress the balance.