By Gandalf’s snowy white beard, I sure did!
Today I intend to review the new IOS app “Marchquest” by Loreful, but before I get into what I like (and what I hope to eventually see from this app/game/fitness tool) I want to get a bit real with you.
Now, when I say real I mean true confessions of a gamer geek and outcast kid™ kinda real, because I truly believe that the best fantasy stuff comes from hard places. Just ask Robert Jordan or JRR Tolkien, war is hell & life in general can be too.
So saddle up MarchWarden, let’s chat about the ways we save ourselves and apps geeks will love – click that read more link below!
I was excited to learn about MarchQuest because I’m a geek with more than a few pounds to lose. It’s hard to stay motivated on my own fitness goals because as a mom there is always something for me to do for my family, and as a geek there is always something more fun I’d rather be doing than working out.
Years of consuming comfort foods, soda (a lot of that, as a computer gal), and a diagnosis of PCOS has contributed to a hard time in meeting my fitness goals. To be honest… I want to be around to see my hypothetical grandchildren. So, this app sounded like music to my ears.
When I learned that the app would be released on Apple first, I got a little discouraged; but with the help of my bestie who has an iphone I set a date to go for a walk (and on an adventure.) More on that to come soon… first; let’s talk about what happened when I sat down today to write a standard run-of-the-mill product-review type blog.
In my research for great images to use in the blog I stumbled upon the back story of this app and how it came to be. Take a moment to check it out… I’ll wait. (LINK TO BACKSTORY OF MARCHQUEST)
So, I stared at my screen, full on stunned.
I was reading words that echoed in my head with a familiarity that can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable. It brought back memories of my own “adventure” aka coming to this point in my life. No, not the health scares (though I have had those for a variety of reasons, read my older blogs here to see more) but in particular these lines:
“As children do, I would head out into those woods pretending to be a knight, a paladin, on a quest of dire importance. Those quests gave me solace. And helped me through trying times.”
My about page has the barest hints of the connect (https://deannaross.net/about/) and if you know me exceptionally well, you’ve probably heard me tell the story once or twice.
I survived a deeply troubled childhood. A good part of how I did so well was pretending my life was a TV show that God watched. Yea – I know it’s a bit more God centered, but the setting was the same… and it was inherently focused on the idea that WE ARE OUR OWN HEROES.
I wandered the woods around my home singing songs, talking to invisible people, and playing through epic scenes in my head that made everything I was living through and feeling, more bearable. Prior to my home studies to become an adoptive/foster parent (which involved talking extensively with a licensed counselor) I figured this was probably a pretty good sign I had, what I lovingly referred to as, “issues.” Many of the best writers do though, so I didn’t let it trouble me too much. I just prayed it wouldn’t keep me from becoming licensed to welcome children into our lives.
What I learned from the man assigned to assess my family was this: those stories I told myself as a child… they may well have saved me. They helped me to become a somewhat (I use that term because, is anyone fully stable lol) stable adult.
Every day we hear of more children enduring abuse and bullying so horrifying that they eventually choose to end their lives. My heart burns out of my chest every time I hear such a story because I remember that pain well. Feeling like I was the only one who knew what it was like and that I was utterly alone in my journey towards freedom – adulthood. I could have been a statistic, but stories kept me alive.
I worked through the difficult challenges that I faced (things children shouldn’t have to know or understand) on long walks under towering oaks that reached to the sky, sitting in groves of poplar trees along the creek that ran near my home. It was in these sacred places that I fantasied myself as a hero who could face whatever came my way. Why – why would I do that? The answer is a simple one: because heroes (to be worthy of the definition) must face a relentless barrage of new (and seemingly impossible) challenges at every turn.
Real heroes often walked alone, can feel abandoned, and still they marched forward.
As they say: courage isn’t the lack of fear – it’s the ability to push forward in spite of it.
So many of my “geek” friends are courageous beyond measure. They put one foot in front of the other, every day, even when the pains of life constantly suggest they’d be better off just throwing in the towel. While they dominate in so many areas of their lives, they often neglect the one thing they should treasure most: their health.
MarchQuest offers a fun way for everyone to face the never-ending quest for better health like a true hero.
☺☺☺☺ – Solid 4 (Very Good – Room to Improve)
Please remember I’ve only done the first quest and I’m sure there is much more to be said after checking out the full run of 10 adventures (which come with the launch of the game) and what I hope will be future updates with more quests.
Let’s start with the bad parts – of which there weren’t many. The only critical feedback I had after my first quest into “The Vale” (the world in which our game is set) was that I wished I could have set our first quest for a smaller amount than 1.6 Miles.
Now, in fairness you can adjust the length of time spent walking to complete a quest, but for your very first quest, 1.6 miles is a long walk if you’re the sort of person whose longest walk prior to this was to the fridge for a Mountain Dew (yea, I’m that gal!)
Seriously though, I had hoped for incremental growth in quest difficulty (like a real RPG.) Heroes don’t rush out to fight dragons at level one (D&D geek flag flying now) they start out bashing Kobalds or something similar. It’s those small goals achieved (and rewards for getting them) that would probably build up the “MarchWarden” (your title in game) and help their confidence in getting fit. While walking our 1.6 mile I kept thinking about how hard this would be for someone who hadn’t done anything physical in many years & how they might never log into the app again because it was too much work. I know it seems a little thing to many people, but there are a lot of folks at that place in their lives and they are the people who are in desperate need of this app. For them it’s a literal matter of life & death.
POSSIBLE FIX: Maybe as simple as a quest that takes them ¼ mile for their first audio reward (they don’t need to level per say – though that’s an option) and the next takes them ½, then the one after that ¾ and the one after that 1 mile. Build people up… literally and emotionally. This game has the potential to truly inspire people. I sincerely believe it.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Give us more audio interjections. For that person struggling to make the first 1.6 miles, I was super excited to hear Bren cut in and talk to me about the history of the world. The world sounds were great (and I read online that we could have listened to music actually – though we didn’t) but it’s the story that sets this app apart from every other walking/fitness app out there that allows you to listen to your own music. The world lore distracts from the urge to end the walk short. It’s exciting and doesn’t require massive quest development. It could be as simple as our guardian telling us about his family and friends (psst: future quest fodder alert!)
Speaking of which – I read that 10 quests were released in the initial launch… UPDATE and update often. I don’t know if you realize how amazing this could be yet… but if you don’t, check PokemonGo and other apps that are getting folks out into the world. Fantasy is much more mainstream than it was when I first picked up a copy of The Hobbit at the tail end of elementary school (back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth) so I foresee big things for you guys if you can keep the momentum going.
Suggestion… maybe tempt users with quicker releases if you reach so many downloads? “We’ll release that new update you’re all waiting for a month early if we get 1,000 more downloads! Share our app on social media and encourage your gamer friends to download it too!
WHAT I LOVE: I’m beyond excited to share this with other friends (been pushing it like mad on social media) but also with my family. My husband and young geek Winnie (she’s 8) will find this a real highlight to family walks. Video games (and RPGs) are a big part of our lives and this will help us take that from the game table and couch and out into the world!
I’m reminded so much of my rp night walks with gamers in college (we’d free form RP while walking late at night to get fast food) it’s also very much like Telltale Games and Choose Your Own Adventure books in that it feels like playing a game rather than “working out” despite integration into apple fitness – tracking calories burned etc. If you’re a fan of those things (CYOAs or Telltale Games) you’re gonna really dig Loreful’s attempt at bridging the gap between storytelling and fitness. Be bold, be diplomatic, be kind… it’s your choice. Psst… diplomacy isn’t always the best policy. 😉 Just sayin. When I get this on my droid I’m soooo gonna be a bit more bold to see how it goes!
I love the achievement system (can I call it that?) Here we have a system that most MMORPG players will be familiar with (ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: BE AWESOME LIKE THOSE BEFORE YOU) Cheer me on for quests completed, for meeting people, for hearing lore, and for burning calories #MarchWardenWins
I was SO AMUSED by the lore interjections as I walked. We came to a city (whose name eludes me at the moment) that was a shell of a place. It honestly sounded like a parking lot and guess where I was… a grocery store parking lot. We had a good laugh over that one. It was neat seeing where we were going in “The Vale” as well as in our own world via the gps map system.
THE FUTURE – I’d LOVE to be able to meet other Wardens in game and go on quests together. If the tech could notice other people with the app nearby, it would be BEYOND COOL to have that unlock quests you can take together!!!
Okay that’s it for now. Tell me what you think of MarchQuest by Loreful in the comments below. Share your twitter handle and I’ll be happy to give you a followback.