Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wake-Up Club Finally Actually Interesting

So, whether it's seeing whether you can throw a rock higher or farther than your buddy, challenging yourself to perform a tedious task in the shortest amount of time possible or trying to think of as many comparisons as possible before moving on, we as a people can generally turn anything into a 'game' of sorts.  That is kind of a given and it's a pretty neat thing all told.  However, no matter how creative you are, or how out-there your ideas might be sometimes, there are certain things you just never assume will work as a game.  Like, let's just say for the sake of argument because clearly I am not getting to this in any sort of fashion, waking up.  How in the world could you turn the everyday occurrence of waking up in the morning (or afternoon) into a game?  The answer, it turns out, is challenging yourself to wake up at the same time as 11 other people.

The latest free App for the Playstation Vita, announced waaaaay back last year in April, is called Wake-Up Club and it turns the task of waking up into a thing that you get points for and that is kind of amazing in a silly way.  The app allows you to turn your Vita into an Alarm Clock on top of everything else and that is pretty much where the little meta-game of waking up begins.  You set your alarm, the alarm tone, choose a song to wake up to (the App comes with some and will actually offer more tunes later down the road in the form of DLC) and then go to sleep.  I....I don't have to explain how an alarm clock works, right?  I am pretty sure we all have a pretty firm grasp on this as a concept.  I'm just kind of reaching here, I realize, but that aspect of this whole thing is kind of self-explanatory.

The part -after- the alarm clock bit is the important part as it is where the Wake-Up Club begins.  At some point, I'm not quite sure if it's when you set your alarm, or during the night while you slumber, the App matches you up with 11 other people that have their alarm set for the same time and puts you all into a Wake-Up Club.  (Hence the name!)  When the alarm goes off, your Vita will wake up and I'm not sure if it bypasses the Lock Screen entirely or you still have to deal with that, but regardless, the alarm goes off and then you get back into the Wake-Up Club app somehow to see that your Avatar is bouncing around, taunting you in your newly awakened (or still half-asleep) state to touch it which will confirm to the rest of the club that you are awake.  All 12 avatars will be displayed in a manner much like the one you see above, with a clear indication as to who is a light sleeper and who is a long-term dozer.  The Playstation Blog post that details the app states that you can tap sleeping players Avatars to 'cheer' them into waking up, but I'm not sure what that means - perhaps it means a sound effect will add to the tone and tune, or perhaps it means absolutely nothing.

These 11 other people who are tenuously linked to you by virtue of wanting to be awake at the same point in time (I assume it adjusts for Time Zones, btw, so East Coast 9 AM would be West Coast 6 AM, allowing for easier matches at the expense of not being the same 'time' but the same 'moment') aren't just nameless, faceless placeholders, of course.  By clicking on anyone's avatar, you'll be able to check out some information on them, perhaps while you're waiting for them to wake up.  Things like their profile, basic stuff like that, but also their individual Wake-Up Club stats, like say, if they actually wake up on time, how long it usually takes to wake up, and the amount of times they've actually woken up relatively on time.  Of course, if you're just so swept up in this inseparable bond that you have forged with someone that you want to send them a Friend Request, you can do that as well, with all of this really going the distance to reaffirm why this is called a 'Social' app.

Wake-Up Club is definitely something of a weird thing as a concept, but weird does not exclude it from also being neat and/or useful.  At the very worst, this might end up as a sort of novelty that nobody keeps up with, but at its best, it could be something that is really helpful to a few people.  I'm a heavy sleeper myself and I know that I've had problems with alarms in the past, but I also sleep with my Vita off to the side of my bed, hooked up to the charging cable which means that I could, by all means, attempt using this.  I'm not convinced it'll work better, but I'm more than willing to give it a shot, because if it'll help me wake up when I actually want to wake up as opposed to an hour or so later, all the better.  As a free app, there's absolutely nothing you stand to lose by picking this up when it comes out next week, so if you're interested at all, go for it.  Who knows who you'll Wake-Up with?

wait, that sounds kind of creepy actually

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