Humans vs. Zombies takes over campus
Driving rain and a high-wind warning did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those taking part in this quarter’s round of Humans vs. Zombies.
Calling Humans vs. Zombies a “campus-wide game of tag” oversimplifies its complexity. During the five days that the event takes place, participants adopt the game as part of their lifestyle. They participate in designated missions, form teams and always watch their back, just in case a zombie lurks around the corner.
“Campus is just a game, all week long, every day, every minute,” player Jacob Rodan said. “It doesn’t stop. It makes the ordinary, extraordinary.”
Around 80 players participated in the game this time around, which is lower than the average turnout, according to game moderator and club official Koyle Kendrick. Kendrick attributes this drop to lack of advertising on the part of the club and the stormy weather. Despite this, the group hopes to recruit a few more players in the next day or two with a booth in Red Square.
The Red Square booth, known as the “Mod Table”, is one of the few outdoor locations on campus that is a designated safe zone, where zombies cannot tag humans. If a human gets tagged, they become a zombie, and their objective shifts from survival to hunting down the human players who remain.
At the Mod Table outside Miller Hall, first-time player Mariah Crawford leans against the building with her “blaster,” a Nerf gun, at the ready, planning out her route from this safe zone to the next building where she has class. Zombies, identifiable by their orange headbands, circle the area waiting for any human to enter the danger zone. If a zombie is shot by a human’s blaster, they are stunned for five minutes and cannot tag any other players.
While there is still plenty of time for the tables to turn, she considers herself lucky so far.
“I managed to get to class without seeing any zombies this morning,” Crawford said. “So I’m not going to die yet!”
A five-time veteran of Humans vs. Zombies, Kendrick recounts various stories from his years over at the Mod Table. He recalled one time he ran into three zombies, all sprinters on Western’s track team. A chase ensued.
“I saw them, they saw me, and we had this moment where we froze, looked at each other and I just bolted,” Kendrick said. “It took me 2 ½ minutes, bolting, to get to Miller Hall. It was just a scary situation when you have three zombies chasing you to get all the way across campus.”
As day one came to a close, casualties and epic stories are few, but the intensity will build as more and more humans are “transformed” into zombies. But more than anything, many players are just looking forward to the camaraderie.
“The biggest thing about this game is that I’ve made so many friends and had so much fun all while going to class and being on campus,” Rodan said. “One of the best things I’ve done in school.”