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by James Huang
April 1, 2018
Photography by James Huang
Zwift has always seen itself as a video game as much as an indoor training platform for avid cyclists, and the company plans to step things up with some new features that should enhance the experience even further.
Spy Hunter was a popular video game back in the 1980s, and a memorable one at that for anyone who grew up in the era — including many of the programmers at Zwift. In it, players pilot a James Bond-like sports car fitted with a variety a crime-fighting gadgets, including missiles, smoke screens, and oil slicks, all of which could be deployed on-demand.
Similar features will now be integrated into a new bike on Zwift, albeit translated into more cycling-specific analogues. Just as you can already activate bonuses such as enhanced drafting and reduced weight, Zwifters will now be able to forcibly flick wheelsuckers out of their wake by blowing snot rockets (by pushing the “s” button on your keyboard), guarantee a win against a fellow competitor by shoving a frame pump into their spokes (“f”), and clearing a path ahead by squirting the contents of your water bottle on rider in front of you (“w”).
“Spy Hunter was always one of my favorite games when I was growing up,” said Zwift’s new coding director, Peter Gunn. “The idea of integrating some of those types of features into Zwift is something I proposed on my first day here, so I’m super stoked that it’s finally becoming reality.”
Zwift has even partnered with several other brands to bring the features to life. That frame pump will be shown as a Silca Impero Ultimate, the Skratch Labs logo will adorn those water bottles, and, a bit of a marketing coup by Zwift, the cloud of mucus coming out of your nose will subtly turn into the logo for Flonase, a popular over-the-counter allergy medication.
All of the new features sound wildly entertaining, and cost nothing to activate. Well, not in terms of money, anyway. Zwift will only make them available to the most experienced of users — Level 50 and up.