The first Nike+ game turns your real-world actions into experience points.
The buzzword "gamification" has been thrown around a lot in the last few years, but the sneaker and athletics wear manufacturer Nike just released a game that might just get me off my office chair to start running. The brand Nike+ has been kicking around since 2010 when Nike and Apple combined forces to let you track steps on your iPod. That has grown to include an Android app, NikeFuel bands and even a Kinect training game for the Xbox. With NikeFuel Missions though, all that running and tracking is given a story framework and actual game mechanics.
Here's how it works. If you don't have one already, sign up for a Nike+ account and link up one of the participating devices or applications to it. Once you do that, you'll get a mission like "Run 300 paces in 30 minutes". The timer starts and you go about your business. When you're done, you log back in and link up with your account to complete the mission and earn points.
The cool thing is that all that exercise has an in-game purpose. According to the video promoting Missions here, the world is covered in ice and constant storms and you have to get to fabled safe haven called the Ark. To guide you are several notable athletes - Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, track star Allyson Felix, U.S. Olympic soccer player Alex Morgan and the Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr - who have already made it to the Ark and make it their purpose to help survivors. It's not exactly an imaginative story, but it sounds close enough to the actual games I play that it piqued my interest.
I have to test it out to see if it's actually as fun as it looks, but at least I don't have to purchase anything to do so. The Nike+ app is free for iPhones and Android devices.