DeComposing in the Twitter vs. Zombie Game

I can’t say I am a big fan of zombies (well, who is, really?) and I have often wondered about the ways zombies have taken anchor in popular culture. But friends in the Digital Writing Month adventure launched a Twitter-based game called Twitter Vs. Zombies is more complex than I can go into here (although you can find all the emerging rules here). It’s essentially a massive game of Twitter Hashtag Tag, and I have to say, it drew me in this weekend.

I started the game out as a zombie (no comments from the peanut gallery, thanks), and throughout the day, I tried to bite (#bite) humans to turn them into zombies, as they used various hashtag commands to escape (#dodge) and save themselves (#swipe) as a cooperative survival experience. What struck me early on is how easy it was to become immersed in a game that was entirely virtual and in text. And it was fun, particularly as folks got more and more creative with their tweets as they ventured into the imaginary landscape. Pretty amusing.

I was reminded a bit of Jane McGonigal’s theory around gaming, particularly large-scale social gaming, and how the act of play and invention brings together a myriad of people (even zombies). I wonder how this could translate to the classroom — without zombies, perhaps, but in some other vein, so that the nature of game and play would become an undercurrent throughout the day, week, or month. I think some schools have done this, and I need to do some research.

Another thing that struck me was how different this kind of game is from other games that I play — from video games, where we are mostly in the world of someone else’s imagination, to board games. Here, although the rules provided some boundaries (I got called on the carpet for exceeding my #bite ratio and it was my own fault — didn’t read the rules carefully enough), it was the imagination of the folks playing that created the “board” on which we — the “pieces” — were moving.

I admire the folks who set Twitters vs. Zombies up, and how they created not only rules set for adaption and potential flexiblity based on users comments and suggestions, but also a spreadsheet for keeping track of data. Very interesting.

Plus, I just earned another #bite for posting this blog post. Booya. I’m back in the field …


Peace (in the game),

PS — speaking of decomposing, that is also the name of the blog of my friend, Paul Oh. Maybe he’s a zombie, too?


  1. This is truly interesting, a game made up of strictly text, by texting? Also, the application of using more games in the classroom as an undercurrent of curriculum, happens to be what I am learning to do in a teacher course. This course has the objective to help prepare teachers to create a classroom where English Language Learners can not only survive, but succeed and thrive, using the SIOP method. The professor makes sure to emphasize the interaction portion of the method and this is a great place to integrate the use of games into the curriculum. We just got done with learning a couple that aid in the students’ vocabulary acquisition. Just as you were sucked into the Zombie game, so too will students become engaged with content when it is paired appropriately with a fun game, if it catches their interests.

    • I’d love to learn more about what you are doing and learning in that class …. is it immersive gaming?
      PS — thanks for being so thoughtful with all of your comments and reactions here to my posts. I want you to know that I appreciate the time you take to write.

  2. Pingback: Digital Writing Month: Running from Zombies (Comic)

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