By John Walker on May 17th, 2011 at 4:16 pm.
To look at the way I write, you’d think me a svelte, muscular man, a hit with the ladies and the gentlemen. But the tragic truth is I sport a belly of some substance. What I need is to find a way to exercise that involves sitting at my desk, playing games. But until someone finally invents that, I may have to let City Of Epic suffice.
Apparently there’s a current trend for mediocre “exergames”, but BitBot Media claim theirs is going to be different. It’s going to actually be a game. An RPG, in fact. Just, one that means you need to get off your bum and do some exercise. Hang on, I never signed up for this!
So how exactly will this work? Well, we’re assured by one half of the team, Kelly Maguire, that it will be much more involved than just a decorated fitness log. City Of Epic will have a story. A story about being a newcomer in an absurdist Brooklyn, NYC. You’re trying to gain enough influence in the city to run for public office. (Run for – geddit?) Apparently everyone in Brooklyn is obsessed with fitness, and so it’s through your exercise regime, completing “feats of strength and endurance”, that you’ll gain the respect of your peers. And escape giant squid monsters.
“There are a few different game mechanics at play. Simple skirmishes (aka grinding) are made up of real-world fitness activities, which are then logged via a browser or mobile device. An example scenario: a crazy man with a brick is chasing you, and you’re given a couple different options for attacking or evading him. Once you pick, you’re given a workout challenge, and how you do will determine whether or not you’re able to escape. You have 24 hours to complete the challenge.”
Then on top of that you’ve got items and powerups to use in-game, which will give you an edge over enemies in fights.
“Everything is scaled to the fitness level of the player, so all challenges should be winnable with moderate effort. If not, you can get friends to do the challenge with you for co-op play.”
And finally, for long-term fitness goals there are quests, and there are even boss battles, “that we use to re-adjust the player’s overall fitness.”
I have to admit, as much as I hate the idea of going running, perhaps that could get easier with a game that prompts me with the words:
“The motherfucking zombie apocalypse is nigh, and you’re in the middle of a densely populated city. It’s 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) to the county limit, there’s not much time, and you need to get moving. DO YOU WANT TO SURVIVE?”
BitBot are determined that this be a fully-fledged game, rather than what they call “just another shovelware fitness program.” In order to get there they’ve set up a Kickstarter, which they hope will fund their time so they can really focus on play-testing. A splendid motivation. They’ve so far got nearly $500 of their $5,000 goal. If you fancy helping them on their way, and get one of their rewards in the process, go donate.
Here’s a super-cheesy trailer that somewhat explains it.