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Work out or the giraffe gets it: Tep app does fitness Tamagotchi-style

A fitness-tracking app called Tep challenges you to walk, run and cycle regularly to keep your adorable pet giraffe alive.

Here's what my pet Tep giraffe looked like after I put it in a new hat and shoes.

Anthony Domanico/CNET

Children of the '90s will fondly (or not-so-fondly) remember Tamagotchi, the small, egg-shaped games that challenged kids to raise a pesky virtual pet from egg to adulthood without having the dang thing die. A new app called Tep brings that Tamagotchi nostalgia into the modern era while also helping you get in shape.

With Tep, you're responsible for caring for an adorable animated giraffe, but instead of giving it virtual food or medicine, you care for it by working out. Every time you walk, run or bike with the Tep app, you earn coins that can be redeemed for food and drink to keep your pet giraffe fed, or for ways to customize your pet and its environment, such as hats, footwear and backgrounds.

After you tell Tep which type of exercise you plan to do, it will begin tracking your movements using GPS, and will measure things like distance, average pace and speed and the duration of your walk, as well as the estimated amount of calories burned. You can also sync Tep with your Fitbit or Jawbone account to use that data with Tep, and the group behind the app is working on Apple Watch integration as well, CEO Akos Boros revealed on Product Hunt.

I took a quick walk with Tep on Monday, and everything seemed to work as advertised. I even managed to score a quick 30 coins that I could use -- in combination with the 1,500 given -- to all new users to buy a new hat, some shoes and a new background for my adorable long-necked friend. And he (or she, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) is looking pretty fabulous.

It's a pretty fun game, I guess, but I probably won't be using Tep long-term. The cuteness of the giraffe definitely doesn't outweigh the fact that it's another silly thing to take care of, and I have enough of that with kids and nonvirtual pets, thank you very much.

But for some of you out there, taking care of an adorable animal might just be the motivation you need to get your fitness routine back in gear. Tep is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, and can be downloaded for free from the respective App Stores.