Nike GridRenowned for its congested, traffic-clogged streets, the inhabitants of London
could certainly be forgiven for seeking alternative means of transportation. But walking is slow, and running ain't much fun -- or it
wasn't, until Grid came along.
The brainchild of sportswear giant Nike, Grid is a project that turns the
entire city -- all 42 postal codes of it -- into a 600-square-mile board
game, awarding its players points for completing runs.
And no, it isn't some high-tech operation involving GPS, expensive portable
electronics, and augmented reality interfaces. (Although that would be
pretty cool.) Instead, players place calls from those iconic (and, these
days, otherwise useless) London telephone boxes at the start and end of
their runs, using personal ID numbers to associate their runs with
their profiles. Complete runs, and you earn points.
And what do points mean? Aside from bragging rights, they also mean
leaderboard positions. Currently, London's home to an epic battle
between the North, South, East, and West (and the South is winning).
London's numerous universities are also locked in combat; currently
Imperial College is the front-runner. It's all compiled and organized on
the game's web site, which also features a ton of cool visualizations that'll show you the state of the various contests.
The 15-day challenge will run until November 6. In its first week, the
website had recorded over 4,400 runs. Remind us again why games are
supposed to be bad for you?