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Humans versus Zombies: relief from the finals grind

Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07

Two survivors scan the perimeter, carefully searching until a bright red color catches their eyes, and a figure crouches behind the bushes. As they pass the bush one of the survivors discharges their weapon, and the figure falls. A roar is heard, and another shape rushes at them. The other survivor turns and fires, but it's no good; the gun's jammed. The survivor's groan and the zombies cheer, taking their identification cards and rushing off to find another target.

This is Humans versus Zombies, an extremely fun, stress-relieving experience to be enjoyed and encouraged and only a little childish. Humans versus Zombies is defined by the official Web site as, "a game of moderated tag commonly played on college campuses. Human players must remain vigilant and defend themselves with socks (Molotov cocktails) and Nerf guns to avoid being tagged by the growing zombie horde."

Campus games and activities like this are healthy sources of stress ventilation, and extremely fun for those who chose to participate. Wearing a bandanna around your arm and carrying a Nerf gun attracts a lot of stares and curiosity.

"Pretty much everyone who wasn't playing just seemed to be talking about it," said freshman political science major Mason Kuzmich, one of the students responsible for coordinating the event.

As a student who participated in the first Texas A&M Humans versus Zombies game, I can guarantee that games like these help to knock the fear of exams and approaching deadlines away.

The game doesn't require much. One can play with just a headband to reveal the student as a zombie. Old socks are the cheapest weapon, but those most prepared spend $10-20 on a Nerf gun, before becoming ready for action.

Best of all, the game creates its own societal unity. I've met the most friends I've made all semester through playing this game. It's easy to head to Sbisa, see someone else with an arm or headband, and next thing you know you've got someone coming to the next football game with you.

"We'd just go around campus and people would go hey, we know these guys; they're the moderators who set it up. It's a really social game," said freshman biology major Taylor Waisanen, another of the game coordinators.

The way the game is played is simple. Everyone registers to play on humansvszombies.org. Then one person from that list is chosen at random to play the original zombie. The randomly selected initial zombie is unmarked in any way on the first day, and then tags human players, identifiable by the headband around their arm, and turns them into zombies.

The goal of new headband wearing zombies is to hunt down at least one human every 48 hours to avoid starving, as the humans try to outlive the zombies.

The game ends when either all of the zombies starve off or every human is turned into a zombie.

The best thing about the game is the freedom you have to play the game. Indoors are designated as safe zones to prevent interference with regular educational activities, you can just scout out members of the other team between classes or take the game very seriously. People have been known to modify their Nerf guns with stronger springs, laser sights and flashlights, and I have seen people who have worn zombie face paint.

According to Kuzmich and Waisanen, the next game is scheduled to take place during dead week, from Dec. 7 to Dec. 13 and will be halted for finals.

"Check out our Facebook group, look for updates," said Waisanen. Times are not set yet for the next match, but they can be found on the Facebook group or at http://tamu.hvzsource.com/.

Campus games like Humans vs. Zombies and Water Wars should be enjoyed and appreciated, not insulted. College may be our only opportunity for these games and nothing's wrong with a bit of fun.

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