Games like Farmville and the iPhone knock-off iFarm throw in a unique twist in the realm of strategy gaming: crops that get planted mature in “real time”. If a crop takes 24 hours to grow, then you need to literally wait the full 24 hours. Great for making an app “sticky” and getting users to repeatedly log in. Side fact: Farmville sells more virtual tractors in a day than real tractors sold in the US in a Year.
Game producers keep upping the ante in terms of real-time strategy games interacting with the real world. Take the latest for instance, a free iPhone app called Lose It!. Everything in this game runs in real-time–a game day is always a full 24 hours. Instead of conventional points, it uses “calories”, which are gained by the actual foods you physically eat, and subtracted via actual exercise. The app includes a massive database of food items and exercises to help you keep an accurate record, apparently on the honor system. The goal: to set a calorie target for each day and come in under it. A secondary scoring system is based on your own weight, though you will need an accurate scale (not included with the app) to measure it.
So far I’ve done pretty well at the game. I’ve averaged better than 1000 calories under my goal for the last several weeks, and have done well on the weight number too. And it’s pretty interesting to have a log of everything I’ve eaten. What will they think of next?
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