A game to reduce crowding in San Francisco’s public transit system

Starting this spring, the “City by the Bay” will test a new program based on rewards to incentivize riders to use the public transports outside of the rush hours. Points, gifts, games… a positive motivation system that goes against the tide of what is done elsewhere in the United States. Continue reading A game to reduce crowding in San Francisco’s public transit system

From High Tech to Hilarious Tech: How Restaurant Gamification Keeps up with Homo Digitalis

Yes, the nostalgic romantics among us are bound to complain about alienation and dehumanization. But the digital generations who have grown up with the smartphone as a vital sensory organ will simply feel more at home as touchscreens, virtual reality and gesture control technologies come to restaurants to enhance customer experience (and incidentally, optimize profits and efficiency)! Continue reading From High Tech to Hilarious Tech: How Restaurant Gamification Keeps up with Homo Digitalis

Sesame Credit opens the door to gamification abuse?

At the end of 2015, Sesame Credit got itself talked about. And in a pretty scary context. What was seemingly just a credit app in China was allegedly about to turn into a country-scale Big Brother to monitor the citizens and give points, rewards or disadvantages in real life. To sum-up, China may have just invented the gamification of totalitarianism. Much has been said and written about it, as yet mostly speculations. Worrisome speculations. Continue reading Sesame Credit opens the door to gamification abuse?

When Altruistic Fun Meets Capitalistic Gain

Philanthropy has long had recourse to a broad range of motivational instruments and effective means of pushing social activism through entertainment. But these tools have largely been designed, proven and tested in live fundraising. In 2010, ‘fun-for-a-cause’ came online with the crowdfunding website Crowdrise, which has since become ‘the world’s largest and fastest growing fundraising platform dedicated exclusively to charitable giving’. Continue reading When Altruistic Fun Meets Capitalistic Gain

Character sheet: Jane McGonigal, the Super-Optimist!

Play to save yourself, that’s the idea of the game designer Jane McGonigal. After experimenting in her own life, she shared how to get better from a physical or emotional condition. Games, she argues, also give us a collective intelligence to solve problems that are threatening mankind. Continue reading Character sheet: Jane McGonigal, the Super-Optimist!

Zombies Level Up Fitness Gamification


Why we need fitness gamification

Just consider the huge amount of effort, deprivation, and discipline involved in regular exercise, and workplace gamification might suddenly seem like child’s play :).

‘Working out’ is worse than work since you don’t depend on it.  You can’t even fall back on constraint and necessity: on the job, even if you don’t feel engaged, you have to do what your boss says or you’ll get fired and lose your income.
With fitness and exercise, there is no external authority and obligation other than your own willpower (and mirror).

On the other hand, the internal motivation is supposedly not an issue when you’re at the stage of shopping around for fitness apps. You presumably want to get fit and know what you stand to gain. You’ve embraced the goal but it doesn’t make the process any easier and progress can be discouragingly slow. And this is where fitness apps are supposed to help.


As we can never stress enough in this blog, points and leaderboards are essential but not enough for successful gamification. The market offers a myriad of apps to monitor your stats when working out – heart rate, speed, distance, etc, etc.
But while good design can make these tools quite engaging to use, at best they remain
useful, not fun. What the British Six to Start developers did was to use a story as the key to unlock the fun.


From Kickstarter to commercial success and one million players

Zombies, Run! is a 2012 video game co-developed and published by Six to Start and Naomi Alderman for iOS and Android platforms. 
The storyline of the game is written primarily by Naomi Alderman and a team of writers, with guest contributions by notable science fiction authors such as Margaret Atwood and Andrea Phillips.
The game was funded by a Kickstarter campaign which raised more than five times what was expected, a total of $72,627 from 3,464 backers. Zombies, Run! became the highest-grossing Health & Fitness app on Apple’s App Store within two weeks of its initial release.






Zombies, Run! is an immersive audio adventure. The story unfolds as dispatchers speak to you through your headphones in-between your own music . You are one of the main characters and while you complete missions and collect supplies and artifacts, you gradually get to know other characters, learn the history of the world you’re in, and try to unravel the big mystery – what brought on the zombie apocalypse!


The story
Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home.


200 Missions
Here is the very first of 23 missions in Season 1:
While en route to Abel Township from Mullins Military Base, your transport helicopter, “Jolly Alpha Five Niner”, is hit by a rocket attack and crashes. The crash site is full of zombies and Sam Yao, the radio operator from Abel, begs you to run for your life. You proceed to run away from the crash site and the zombies as well as your dying/dead pilot.


Zombie Chases:
If enabled, the game randomly switches to ‘zombie chase’ mode when you have to speed up and maintain the high pace for about a minute. If you don’t accelerate enough, the zombies start catching up and you soon hear them breathing down your neck.


After the run:
The game doesn’t end with the run – once at home you will use the items collected to build your base.

And of course, you can check your run logs for all the stats (total and average distance & time, average and fastest pace, even what music tracks you played).



Why it is a success story:

Now in its 4th season, with spin-offs such as books and real-world events in the works, the game boasts 200 missions, one million players, and a huge online community! What’s the secret behind its enormous success?

maxresdefaultRun For Your Lives Zombie 5K


To put it in a nutshell, it works because it’s not like a game, it IS a game.

Moreover, a game that appeals to all aspects of our individual player personality:

  • Killers, who live for competition, will obviously get their fill of thrill and will love the occasional ‘heart race runs’.
  • Achievers will enjoy ticking off missions, improving their track records, collecting supplies and building up their base in-between running sessions.
  • Explorers will look forward to discovering more of the zombie universe and to unravelling the big mystery in the zombie apocalypse story.
  • And finally, running needn’t even be a lonely business anymore – socializers will be happy to connect to the other runners in the growing online community of Zombies, Run!


The story and role-play enhance runners’ experience – they await their next run as the next episode or chapter in an audio book.

And once immersed in the zombie universe, runners can look forward to the exhilarating rushes of dopamine every time they survive a ‘zombie chase’.

The app thus turns physical effort into play. It provides an illusory context and reason for physical exertion, as well as immediate gratification and bursts of pleasure to sustain them in the pursuit of the more abstract goal of ‘keeping fit and healthy’.


We all know that great feeling AFTER your workout, which is an awfully demanding means to a desired end. With Zombies, Run!, the process itself becomes enjoyable and fun – and that is the ultimate goal of any gamification project.


“Make your next run fun!”:


Google Play

iTunes Apple 


Character sheet: Gabe Zichermann, the boredom slayer

Games are good for us all. They are good for our children. They sharpen their minds and keep them motivated. Because all we want – and what makes gamification successful according to Gabe Zichermann – are the 3 F: feedback, friends and fun!


Continue reading Character sheet: Gabe Zichermann, the boredom slayer

Why Player Types Matter in Gamification

Tell me how you behave in a dungeon and I’ll tell you who you are. I’ll tell you what you like. And also how you want to be rewarded.
We all belong to categories: man or woman, tall or short, blond or dark-haired… And when it comes to games, we also follow some patterns.
During a gamification process, knowing your target audience and how they behave will allow you to understand what they expect. Continue reading Why Player Types Matter in Gamification