+5 to Athleticism

Yesterday Jason and I got FitBits, and after running around with mine for a while, I got an idea for a game. Inspired somewhat by the game/gtd app, Epic Win*, it would use your real life activities to help you progress through the game.

It would be a turn-based RPG style game that connected with a pedometer to determine how far you could travel: you walk X steps in real life, translating to N steps in the game. While playing the game, you can run around, do quests, and kill monsters; but after you’ve used up all your steps, you’ve got to put the game down until you build up more.

It wouldn’t be a game you played while exercising, and I think it’s important to make that distinction. We have more than enough real time streams of distraction (twitter, email, etc.), so this game would not sporadically interrupt your life by demanding attention. Instead, your daily activities build up in-game ‘credit’ which you can then use at your discretion. You could take a ten minute walk and play for a short burst, or save up a week’s worth of steps to play for an extended time on the weekend.

Unless the game is created for a mobile device with a built in pedometer (I’d rather it be a Mac/PC game), I envision it connecting to one of several online fitness accounts, such as FitBit‘s or Nike+. This way, it would be more likely to encourage real fitness, rather than just spawning new and creative ways to ‘cheat’ pedometer steps… such taping it to the front of a washing machine, or clipping it to your cat.

Things to think about:

  • More ways to integrate gameplay with fitness level.
  • Character stats being affected by daily activity, instead of by exp from killing monsters. Lightly active vs. fairly active vs. very active: the number of steps stay constant, but stats could increase at a variable rate.
  • Ratio of real steps to game steps. 1:1? 2:1? 1:2? Would ultimately need to be determined via beta-testing.
  • Saving. No save points (à la FFX), but would it be free saving anywhere on the world map or real time saving which would prevent ‘rebooting’ to reallocate steps.
  • Is there an API to pull data from FitBit or Nike+? (Probably not.) What similarities do these two have in the data they collect? Ideally the game could connect to one of several account types.
  • Single- or multi-player? I predict multi-player being too difficult to coordinate, but could friends’ data potentially determine party members’ stats?

What do you think? Given an engaging storyline, would you play a game like this?

Update! FitBit has an API now!

*I have not played Epic Win, but I’m in love with the concept, and am patiently waiting until it gets ported to WebOS… but that’s another story entirely. :)

  • Anonymous

    This is a fantastic idea! I would love to play this game!

  • Hitokage

    I would definitely, definitely play this game!

  • http://www.binaryfever.com/ Fred

    I would for sure!!!