Posts Tagged exercise
Nexercise, the app for tracking exercise among friends, has always been about gamifying the workout tracking experience. But for the recent 2.0 revamp, Nexercise has undergone major changes in order to make it more game-like, and to hopefully make its users more effective in getting out and exercising. With multiple rewards systems like Kiip and Pocket Change, President and COO Gregory Coleman hopes that his app can be a smashing success. I spoke with him recently about what his company is trying to do with Nexercise.
Gregory Coleman (GC): We wanted to make the entire experience easier, more intuitive, and more elegant. We want new users to quickly figure out what to do and how to do it. We felt like some aspects of the old version created some confusion and friction points.
148Apps: Many of the new features resemble the kinds of rewards and tactics that a lot of free-to-play social games use. Was this intentional? And if not, did you do any further research into how they could help you out?
GC: This is intentional. The key to casual games is that they are quick to use, easy to learn, and fun to play. Our goal is to accomplish the same thing with Nexercise and we deliberately tried to tie into the same psychological components.
148Apps: Have you seen actual users taking advantage of the rewards and social features?
GC: Absolutely! According to surveys of our users and our own internal data, those are two of the most popular aspects of the app.
GC: If a user allows us to use the smartphone sensors to actually track the exercise session, we give them bonus points. This also allows us to do some pattern matching on the backend to validate the activity and reject cheating. As far as self-reporting, it is an honor system. However, our community tends to police itself and is pretty quick to call out cheaters.
148Apps: Do you encourage certain behavior patterns for users?
GC: Yes. Our mechanics are based heavily on the psychology of exercise. We reward behaviors that are scientifically proven to make people more successful in living an active life (exercising first thing in the morning or on Monday for example).
148Apps: What are your plans in the near future for the app?
GC: We’re looking very heavily at integrations with the other tools that our users use. We currently integrate with the RunKeeper app and are evaluating what, if any, other tools we want to connect with.
Thanks to Gregory for his time.
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
Expert App Reviews
Week-in and week-out, the 148Apps reviewers search through the new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
A surprising amount of apps and games like to think that they can change one’s life. In reality, a select few can actually accomplish something that huge. Most of the remaining few might change small elements, such as providing encouragement for those trying to exercise more or give up a bad habit. SuperBetter is part of an even smaller group: it wants to change and improve everything about one’s life. A lofty ambition but one that I reckon it can accomplish, with the willingness of its users. One such glimpse into the importance of SuperBetter comes from this Ted video from game designer, Jane McGonigal, explaining just why the app can help so much. It’s fascinating stuff and ideal context. Essentially, SuperBetter is about turning life into a game. –Jennifer Allen
Oh, look, Layton Brothers Mystery Room. Sounds interesting. The name Layton has pretty much become synonymous with puzzle-solving brilliance. The Professor had a knack for solving most of the world’s problems with a little logic, and that talent has apparently been passed on to his progeny. Alfendi Layton, however, is not his father. Mysteries are still a key feature for this particular Layton’s adventures, however Alfendi and his new assistant Lucy Baker (Detective Constable) are out to solve murder mysteries. Two of which are available for free right from the start and seven more that can be purchased for an additional $5. The each case involves mulling over suspects, inspecting a recreated crime scene (because Alfendi is something of a shut-in), questioning suspects/witnesses, and piecing it all together until a solid accusation can be made. In fact, aside from the world and characters Layton Brothers Mystery Room actually bears little resemblance to earlier games in the series. –Rob Rich
Limbo, the 2010 Xbox Live Arcade release that also made its way to other platforms, has finally come to mobile. For those who have not experienced this haunting puzzle-platformer, this is as good a time as any to jump in. Limbo is dark and mysterious, thanks in part to its silhouetted art style that renders most the world in black and white. There’s little guidance given, as players just kind of have to start running, and taking on the challenges that face them, from tricky jumps to finding ways to dispatch enemies, and avoiding traps. This is very much a horror game, as plenty of opportunities to scare the player are presented. Seriously, this game is nightmare-inducing. The deaths in the game aren’t particularly gory, but they are rather gruesome. That it’s a kid on the receiving end of most of the carnage is part of what makes it unsettling. That, and some of the things that are encountered in the world of Limbo. –Carter Dotson
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As some readers may have noticed, I do not personally review many word games. Very few word games gain my attention because I am terrible at these types of puzzles, finding them for the most part frustrating and demoralizing. Therefore, it is quite a compliment from me to have enjoyed reviewing Coolson’s Artisanal Chocolate Alphabet as it is a word game that has won me over with a charming narrative, wonderful sense of style and an abundance of whimsy that I have greatly enjoyed. –Amy Solomon
The Terrifying Building in Eyeville is a thoughtfully written and wonderfully illustrated children’s storybook app. This is a very personal storybook developed by Joel Grondrup as his daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina. The Terrifying Building in Eyeville is an allegory for this cancer as a small man named Kanser arrives in Eyetown after falling off the back of a truck during a rain storm. He knocks on the door of Mr. Nice and asks if he can start building onto Mr. Nice’s home as he is a traveling builder who looks for houses to build onto. –Amy Solomon
The best games, for me, are ones that are simple, easy to control and, more or less mildly infuriating. It’s why I pulled my hair, shedding years while playing Super Hexagon. It’s probably why I find Space is Key so intriguing. It mocks me. To my face. It’s evil. Space is Key is about as simple as they come. Looks-wise, it uses switching primary colors with opposing hues to highlight obstacles. The color changes do an interesting job of creating a psychedelic atmosphere reminiscent of Super Hexagon that doesn’t internet with the gameplay. –Tre Lawrence
Warmly is an atypical productivity offering from The Chaos Collective that seemingly wants to make the descriptive term “alarm” a misnomer by changing the way we do alarms and wake patterns in the first place. The opening user interface is a clear cut celebration of simplicity, and hints at the design elements that govern the entire app. It gives a scroll-through window for setting the time (with an AM/PM toggle), and nine (9) big square buttons. After a scheduling check-off and an off and ok button, THAT’S IT. Laid against the soothing yellow backdrop, the relatively minimalist viewers are hard not to like. –Tre Lawrence
Nevosoft’s LandGrabbers is a fun hybrid game that is surprisingly dependent on strategy and quick thinking. The land that makes up this game is ably represented by effective graphics the encompass several mythical environments. In the first stage, the 3D graphics do a good job of giving life to the structures, and further down the line, the scenery becomes even more intricate; rolling hills, stone bridges and shrubbery all add up to cushion the action in a reasonable looking shell. –Tre Lawrence
It’s a plight suffered by many. I want to be fitter. I want to be able to run a 5k without feeling like I’m going to die. Heck, I want to be able to run any distance without feeling like I’m going to collapse into a wheezy heap. I’m not overweight, I don’t smoke, drink or anything else particularly negative. I am lazy, though. Given the choice between hitting the gym or playing a video game, I’ll take the latter every time. I suspect I’m not alone there. However, this is starting to change, courtesy of my iPhone and the wealth of apps I can pick up to encourage me to achieve my goals.
Last year, I discovered the Fitocracy website. It turned exercise into experience points, it offered me awards and challenges to work towards. It immediately boosted my motivation levels. Relatively soon afterwards, the iOS app for Fitocracy was released.
Released: 2012-03-29 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
It’s great. I can enter all my activities while I’m in the gym. Reps take a second to enter and I can watch the points flow in. It’s not perfect, though. Given my weak cardio exercises, the points aren’t massive. Longer runs or cycles are needed, and that takes time and effort. I needed an extra carrot to tempt me along.
I dabbled with MiCoach, a great gadget that connects to your trainers tracking my every move.
Released: 2010-08-01 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
It’s a useful app and gadget. Tracking how I was performing was great and I could also use my stats to progress in MiCoach Soccer. I needed more newbie focused guidance, though.
Two of my all round favorites are Two Hundred Situps and Get Running, the apps that I recommend to anyone vaguely interested in pursuing such things. They do a great job of keeping me exercising while not exhausting me, reminding me not to push myself too far.
As a zombie loving gamer though, I have a huge soft spot for Zombies, Run! 5k Training. It’s quite new compared to the competition, but it’s great. It offers a similar set plan to Get Running but with a zombie themed storyline to follow. It’s the little things like that which make me keen to ‘play’ the next section and actually look forward to the next treadmill session.
Released: 2012-10-12 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
The best part? I have a direct route planned for once I, hopefully, complete the 5k, in the form of Zombies, Run!
Released: 2012-02-27 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
For those days where I’m not on the treadmill but I want to keep track of my progress, I stick to Striiv. Offering me a steady trickle of trophies and rewards for walking a lot, it gives me a nice sense of satisfaction, even if I’m just walking around the grocery store. Even better, it’s free and helps me resist the temptation to pick up a more expensive solution such as a Nike+ FuelBand.
While I might still need the motivation to get out of bed on a cold, wintery morning in the name of getting fit, such apps encourage me to do it. Sure, I should have the willpower alone but no one’s perfect! Fitocracy, in particular, has changed my outlook immensely. Turning potentially tedious work into a game is guaranteed to help matters.
Tempted? Go sign up and feel free to follow me on there to see my progress. I’m slightly behind at the moment, as no app can yet keep you 100% healthy at all times!
What is Six To Start?: Six To Start describes itself as next-gen storytellers. Made up of a variety of different staff from backgrounds as diverse as the theatre and neuroscience, the company works on online games, as well as apps for iOS, each with the focus on storytelling as well as providing memorable experiences. One glance at the team page on the company site ably demonstrates just how varied skillsets the team offer.
What is Six To Start most famous for?
Zombies, Run! One of the most successful Kickstarter projects in recent times, Zombies, Run! manages to make running (or walking) fun by adding a zombie twist to proceedings. Stick your headphones in as you run and an immersive audio adventure kicks in, distracting you from the aches and pains as well as telling a fantastic story, courtesy of award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman.
What’s next on the horizon?
There’s been a steady stream of new content for Zombies, Run! since it launched earlier this year but CEO Adrian Hon has promised us that a new app, Zombies, Run! 5k Training, will be out in the near future, aimed directly at beginner runners. New updates for Zombies, Run! will continue, also.
Anything else I should know about Six To Start?
Yup! We asked Adrian Hon how Zombies, Run! came about.
148apps: What was the inspiration behind creating Zombies, Run?
Adrian: It came from a couple of places – I’ve been a runner for a long time now, but it didn’t come naturally! I only really got into it with the help of gadgets like the Garmin Forerunner GPS watch, which at least helped you see how much you were improving. The problem was that they didn’t make running any more interesting or fun, and even when GPS tracking apps became commonplace, no-one seemed to be making running games for smartphones, so it was something that I’ve wanted to do for some time.
The other half of the inspiration came from our co-creator and writer Naomi Alderman, who fairly recently joined a running club. When they asked people why they’d joined, some people said ‘to get fit’, others ‘to lose weight’, but one person said, ‘to survive the zombie apocalypse’! We put two and two together, and that’s where Zombies, Run! came from!
148apps: What’s your favourite thing about iOS development?
Adrian: There’s a lot to like – the solid development environment, the consistency across devices (although the iPhone 5 does make our life a little more difficult!), the comparative smoothness of publishing on iTunes Connect, and the absolutely massive potential audience. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good.
Where can I find out more about Six To Start?
Quite a few places. The Six To Start website is a good starting place, there’s also the Twitter page. For more zombie based updates, check out the official Zombies, Run! website and its Twitter account. And, of course, we’ll keep you informed on any updates and the progress of Zombies, Run! 5k Training