You may remember the whole way back in February when I linked to a talk by game designer Jesse Schell, about how games can change people’s every day lives. Looks like someone took that initiative, sandwiched it around a(n overused) meme, and created what’s probably the best “useless” app I’ve ever seen – EPIC WIN.
Back in Schell’s talk (cropped for relevancy below), he talked about how daily life normal stuff could eventually, with the right tech, be likened to a game, where we get rewarded for doing everyday stuff with experience points and level ourself up. Life’s little achievements, if you wish. Wake up, eat your breakfast. Did you brush your teeth before going to work? Yes? BOOM! +50 XP! Did you shower? Yes? +100 XP! Got lunch at the same place all week? LOYALTY BONUS! +200 XP! That’s basically Epic Win in a nutshell.
Epic Win, designed by Rex Crowie and developed by Supermono, takes a lot from these 10 minutes, and converts them into the most fun to-do list you could possibly have. I’ve only had it for a few days but the amount of things I’ve got done since I got it has been jaw-dropping. While it’s nothing major or anything, I’ve added in usual mundane chores in my list at 50 XP each (tasks can go from 50 to 300 depending on how epic they are in your estimation, of course you can cheat by setting every task at the 300 maximum, but that’s not how I roll), and surprisingly I’ve gotten more of them done, just to pick up the cheap bonus at the end, getting myself to do and track even the smallest of things, like washing dishes, tidying my room, walking the dog, actually spending time exercising.. the list goes on, and it only stops when you stop adding things to it.
Of course, if you use it wrong and cheat just to see everything, you obviously fail at life (failing being not winning, and you can’t Epic Win without even a regular win), so the idea is to give you an incentive to do something that you may or may not normally do. Set it up on your list, give it a priority (amount of XP granted upon completion), and go and do it. I’ve got most of my side assignments from work, as well as a few blog-centric tasks, chores and stuff set up for the next 2 weeks, with more points emphasis on the important stuff so that I won’t forget to do it, or get it done quicker. (true story, I was supposed to type this up yesterday, it’s actually in my overdue list of tasks) It doesn’t penalize you for doing it late, but seeing a big “1″ over the app icon indicating there’s something I didn’t do just motivates you to get rid of it for some reason. A bit like having 0 unread e-mails or Facebook notifications.
The characters are really well drawn, look funny, and certainly fit the RPG theme they’re trying to go for. You can choose from a handful of starter avatars, that have rubbish weapons and armour, but over time, they will improve as you level up and unlock new loot, as well as progress your 5 main skill areas (Strength, Stamina. Intellect, Social and Spirit, which you can designate one category to every task) which change your class description. I’ve not done a hell of a lot, and no major tasks that would cause me to level up, so I’m still a lowly Level 1 Stumpy Dwarven Miscreant, wielding a small and flimsy wooden shield and a yard broom. But some day, I’m going to want that broadsword or battle-axe and hoping for it is what will push me to kick on and do things for my XP.
I only called it a “useless” app in the opening paragraph because I feel that an app like this shouldn’t exist. We should be doing all these things without the need of extra motivation from an application, without incentives or bonuses. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying it, and it being a fun way of getting things done, but if you’re already an organised sort of person, this probably isn’t for you. If however you’re a lazy sod like me though, that needs a good reason to do anything at all, then the small payment will be a drop in the ocean compared to the way you change your daily habits for the better – or if you’re feeling cheeky, for the worst!
It’s €2.39 in the Irish App Store anyway, it will obviously vary depending on country and currency, but for the amount of mundane stuff you’ll do to unlock new things, it’s well worth it. I’ll leave you with the app’s trailer, it’s available now, and I’m going to go cash in this task for my 150 XP.