Blog / The Rolling Dead

This is an idea for a zombie game using smartphones and Sphero devices that I came up with at an AT&T mobile app hackathon. I’m kind of ashamed. I hate zombie games! But the Sphero device looks really cool, and watching Yahtzee’s review of The Walking Dead inspired me.


Humans and zombies have Sphero devices. Humans hide in a cubicle farm. Zombies are blindfolded and hold a Sphero device to their face. The Sphero color shows bright red when it’s pointing at a human’s Sphero. But the zombie’s Sphero goes dim if they move quickly. Humans’ Spheroes vibrate when a zombie is near. Given a time limit, can the zombies find the humans?


  • 1 Sphero device and smartphone per person
  • 1 blindfold per zombie player
  • Large play area (e.g. 20+ office cubicles)
  • Internet access for smartphones in play area (3G or Wi-Fi)
  • (Optional) Computer with Internet connection to watch players moving around


All players must buy Sphero devices and install the zombie game app.


Clear out chairs and stumbling objects from play area. Turn off the lights. Bring all players with their Spheros and smartphones to the same spot. Pair Spheros to smartphones and synchronize zombie apps. While the zombie players are blindfolded, human players hide. Move the zombie players to slightly different starting positions. After two minutes, the zombies are unleashed and the game begins.

Playing as a zombie

You are blindfolded. Hold the Sphero close to your face and turn your body. When the Sphero turns red, it’s pointing at a human. Walk in that direction. But if you walk too fast, the light will go out, like a match. Try and catch a human!

Playing as a human

You are not blindfolded, but you must carry the Sphero device. It vibrates when zombies are near. If multiple humans group together, the zombies’ Spheros don’t light up as brightly, but the humans’ Spheros don’t vibrate as much. This creates a tension: it’s easier to get found as a solitary human, but it’s harder to house and keep a large group of people quiet.

Optional ideas

  • Let humans mess with each other. If a human shakes their Sphero violently, the zombie app picks a random human and points all zombie Spheros at that person for 60 seconds.
  • Show the zombies and humans as dots on a map in a companion web app. Let computer users tap a human to have that person’s Sphero attract all zombies for 60 seconds. Or tap a zombie to snuff their Sphero for 60 seconds, or have it point in a random direction.