Zombies, Games, and Writing…oh My!

 

After thinking about gameplay on Monday, I thought I would write a short post for today on gamefication of exercise and chores and how this might be applied to writing.

Gamefication of Exercise

I basically don’t exercise without making a game out of it. Six to Start, a London-based game developer, have created Zombies, Run! and Superhero Workout. They have other apps but these are the two I use.

Zombies, Run! is a dialogue-driven game that places you in the shoes of Runner 5, a runner for the town of Able in the zombie apocalypse. It’s exciting, can be a little scary sometimes, and is the only thing that gets me out on my run three times a week. When I run out of missions, I will start all over again.

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Rule 1: Cardio

In fact, Zoe and I run missions for Able so often in Zombies, Run! that Zoe has learned to sprint when I yell out, “Zombies!” much to the entertainment of random pedestrians around us.

Superhero Workout provides strength workouts under a similar concept–creating a character and integrating your work into that character’s actions and progress. I’ve only played a few missions but I always look forward to the next strength day!

Gamefication of Chores

Here’s a widely known fact: NO ONE LIKES DOING CHORES.

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Pictured: The common reaction after realizing you have chores to do.

via GIPHY

I use Habitica to track chores, daily tasks I need to accomplish, habits, and big to-do items. There are numerous online-based games that rely on completing tasks to earn points, materials, rewards, etc (Chore Wars is one that a friend recommended and provides an element of competition, as well). I think Habitica works because you can join a little productive community, connect with friends, and be held accountable for your actions.

Gamefication of Writing

If making exercise and chores into games can help me not only get up and do them but also just enjoy the activity, can we add an element of gaming or competition to writing?

I actually incorporate daily writing habits into my Habitica tasks, but, in that sense, Habitica is a faux-reward system, bringing me strange foods and digital pets to grow into mounts. Zombies, Run! is so effective because it distracts me from the abject misery of running and tells a story.

But, writing fiction is telling a story. So how do you make a game out of that without removing the story’s own storytelling?

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Write it in the sky? Via broomstick?

I think I might try a model of rewards and penalties that allow the writer to progress or decline in a fixed “route” towards an ultimate goal, with smaller goals to achieve along the way–standard 90’s racing board game.

Others might suggest turning the writing, itself into a game as a distraction from a writer’s main project. You could do this with something like joint-storytelling, flash fiction challenges, or anything that lets a writer flex his or her creative muscles outside their WIP with some kind of reward attached for the “winner.”

That’s it for this Saturday! How would you turn writing into a game? Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

Author: JA Goodsell

I write YA fantasy, blog about it, and then take my dog out for therapy. My current manuscript is INNATE, a story of two sisters caught up in a war between the gods. Find me on Twitter at @JAGoodsell or Instagram at books_and_dogs

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