September 25, 2014 9:08 am

Make Fitness a Game with Run Rabbit Run

Can you make a game out of exercising? Over the past few years, there has been a movement to find ways to combine our passion for gaming with fitness, and help to get our collective derrieres off the couch.

For many of us, the first attempts at exercising while gaming could be found in the Wii Fit, where animated versions of ourselves could be seen running in exotic cartoon locations while our physical self simply ran in place in the middle of the living room trying not to look silly or knock the lamp off the side table.

More recently, you can find a great assortment of fitness-related apps in the Windows Phone Store (such as Endomondo Sports Tracker or miCoach train & run), many of which have integrated social elements so you can share your workout with the world.

Or, you can grab the Fitbit app which ties in directly to a wearable device that tracks your movement and other physical attributes. Again, sharing of results is encouraged. (See also the new Misfit app, which we shared here in Conversations the other day.)

But all of these examples tend to fall more in the role of personal trainer and not really within the realm of games.

Say hello to your new friend the rabbit

Enter the rabbit. In this case, it is a cartoon critter in the new Windows Phone app Run Rabbit Run who is hoping (hopping?) to jump-start your fitness routine.

RabbitRunning_900

The app was developed and published by the same team at Microsoft that previously released the Spaceselfie app. But in this case, the rabbit is there to demonstrate the capabilities of the Lumia SensorCore SDK, which works with the latest Lumia smartphones (such as the Lumia 630 or 930 and any device with the latest Lumia Cyan firmware update).

The SensorCore SDK is intended for use with apps that are all about both motion and location, and there are plenty of health and fitness apps in the Windows Phone Store now that take advantage of this capability.

The rabbit, however, is an entirely different animal when it comes to fitness apps. You see, you’re not just recording steps taken when you go out for a brisk walk or a run. Your activity helps to keep your rabbit in tip-top shape, too.

“We wanted to take the concept of fitness gamification a step further and make it an actual game where you move in real life,” said Microsoft’s Sami Pippuri, who is one of the people that worked on the project to bring these rabbits to virtual life. “While it’s a bit risky of a game for digital rabbits, hopefully we can encourage folks to get up out of their chairs a bit and move about to feed their rabbit.”

Take a quick peek inside the rabbit hole

When you first start the app, you will be asked to pick a rabbit to keep and care for. There are 30 rabbits to choose from. I chose the rabbit named “Pickles” (shown at the top). As you move in the real world, your rabbit goes for a run, too. The more you move, the better your rabbit will be. A fit rabbit has six-pack abs, while a lazy rabbit will become massive and fat. (You can see the kind of rabbit I own.)

The app shows your statistics, tracking things like your total step count, steps taken that day, and a graph of the past seven days.

RabbitOutfits_900

You also earn carrots for your progress in the app, which you can then use to adorn your rabbit with various goodies from the “costume shop.” Another way to earn carrots is via an actual game built in to the app where you must help your rabbit to outsmart a pack of mean foxes.

In the costume shop, you can customize the look of your rabbit with various headwear, outfits, shoes, and there are even assorted toys and accessories to ensure your rabbit looks better than all the other virtual bunnies. If you really need motivation, there is a “Deal of the Day” that you can unlock for your rabbit when you achieve a certain number of steps.

RabbitDeal_900

To share your progress within the app, you are encouraged to tag your posts with #RunRabbitRun, so other fans of the rabbit can see how you are doing.

Run Rabbit Run is free to download from the Windows Phone Store. Check the app description to see if it is compatible with your Lumia.

If you want to learn more about the Lumia SensorCore SDK, please have a look here.