Last Sunday I found Outbreak! Zombies BETA, an app that uses the Google Maps interface with your Android phone to let you and other users in your geographic range run zombie attacks or infect survivors. Previously I’ve been paranoid about my phone locating me; using a service like FourSquare to voluntarily broadcast my exact location in real time seems like a big-brother-creepy, boring-for-most-of-my-friends-to-read, stalker-inviting thing to do. But putting myself on a zombie/survivor map with a bunch of people I don’t know? Cool.
I sign up. “Congratulations on taking your first step towards survival. At Apocalypse Survival Industries your survival is paramount…” They want me to live. That is why I now have access to their GeoLocation Apocalypse Survival Tool, or G.L.A.S.T. Cool.
Next I have to scan my thumb to see if I’m “clean” or “infected,” Survivor or Zombie. GOOD NEWS! I’M CLEAN. I’m a Survivor. Time to attack some zombies and level up. Zombies look like evil red claw-hands on the map, and survivors have green icons. An attack is launched by tapping the opponent’s icon on the screen, but only if the two people are close enough to one another geographically.
Now I load up my Map, a Google map showing me as a dot in my apartment complex. Oh! There is ANOTHER Survivor right in my complex, actually right in my building.
I’m excited. I yell to my husband, “BB, there’s another Survivor right in our building!”
BB: “I know. I just downloaded the app.”
So then where are the zombies and the other survivors? I have to zoom out and then, BOOM! In a few of the towns around me, evil red claw hands and green-lit Survivor silhouette flags pop up. The closest one is a Zombie by the name of hotpepper, about 2 miles from us–out of range for me to tap their icon on my phone.
Me to BB: “Honey! The closest Zombie is 2 miles away! He’s out of range!”
BB: “So let’s go get him.”
So then we’re on the path in the woods that goes to two towns over where we are going to attempt to take down the Zombie. I will be the spotter and update my location as we approach (we still do not completely understand how much it “knows” about where we are when we don’t have the app up on the phone). When we are in range, BB will check in and take hotpepper the Zombie down.
Finally one of my location updates hits: “Warning! Infected users detected in your area.”
Me to BB: “We’re in range!! Go, go, go!!”
BB checks in. “It doesn’t say I’m here. It says I’m about a mile back. You’re going to have to take him down yourself! Do it!”
“I got him! He’s out for 15 minutes! Let’s get out of this infected zone!”
High fives. Triumphant, we head back to base in the rain.
Me: “See? It’s a good thing there were two of us.”
BB: “Yeah. My gun jammed.”
The moral of the story? Download Outbreak! Zombies BETA on your Android phone, and play with us. If you’re on our map we won’t get any closer to you than we have to…