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The Web goes undead with Halloween zombies

Doug Gross
A page on the Sears website zombifies models wearing the department store's clothing.
A page on the Sears website zombifies models wearing the department store's clothing.
  • Websites and apps are going to the zombies
  • Mobile app SCVNGR "infected" 10 users to watch the zombie virus spread
  • Sears and Yahoo! both rolled out online zombie features

(CNN) -- The internet loves zombies.

They're kind of our vampires.

With Halloween approaching, maybe it's no surprise that more than a few sites and mobile apps are taking the opportunity to unleash the walking dead on their users.

Mobile, place-based app SCVNGR (think "scavenger") has "infected" 10 users with a zombie virus that they can spread when they check in somewhere with other users.

Those users, who get a zombie badge on their account, in turn, spread the virus when they link up with others, spreading the infection on the way, theoretically, to a virtual apocalypse.

The zombie feature was expected to be active late Wednesday.

SCVNGR is similar to apps like Foursquare and Gowalla that let users "check in" wherever they are, earning virtual rewards and letting their friends know where they are in the process. SCVNGR adds an additional gaming element, creating challenges for users at certain locations.

Yahoo!, meanwhile, is rolling out a zombie game that the Web portal, email and search-engine creators hope will teach economics to its players.

That's right, it's George Romero meets Warren Buffet.

Shambling Horde is a Flash-based game created by Yahoo! Labs.

The game lets two players direct an army of shuffling ghouls as they try to take over a map and capture each others' home base.

Along the way, the players skirmish, deciding how to allocate their troops for the win.

The game hits on basics of Yahoo!'s business model, including "user engagement -- studying the learning curves and interaction patterns of players -- to online advertising exchanges -- identifying the dominant allocation strategies for dynamic marketplaces," according to an email sent to CNN from a Yahoo! spokeswoman.

"Why is Yahoo! Labs developing a game like Shambling Hordes? Well, first of all, because Zombies are awesome," reads a Yahoo! blog post. "And second of all, because using technology and new experiences to look at thorny intellectual problems are a big part of the experimentation we do in Labs."

And here we were thinking it was just a cool chance to make digital zombies eat each other's brains.

Even venerable department store Sears has gotten into the act.

A page on the Sears website Thursday featured decidedly dead-looking models showing off the store's clothing.

Clicking a link for "zombian" translates the site into a metabolically challenged language similar to that used by players of the online, text-based game "Urban Dead."

Those are the ones we've seen. Noticed any other newly minted undead creeping around the Web?


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