Late last week, a new fashion trend swept the CSM campus combined with a sudden rise in physical activity. Students wearing green headbands or armbands seemingly took over campus in some sort of contagious outbreak. Called Humans versus Zombies, it is a whole lot of fun.
Kate Lyssy, the mind in charge of the Mines Urban Gaming Club, recounted that it started with a basic online chat, “My friends at Penn State were playing a game and I noticed their headbands and wondered what was up.” After a little bit of research, Lyssy and a few others began to get interested in bringing a game to campus. Humans Versus Zombies (HVZ) is what she terms as a “video game-based live action game.” Unlike other forms of live action games, HVZ is set apart by a lack of identity. Players are either humans or zombies. Humans try not to get “infected” and zombies try to “infect.”
Of course, the game is slightly more complicated than that. Zombies can die if they don’t “eat,” and humans have missions that they can carry out to get antidotes or other fun abilities. “Today they had to follow a lot of clues to get an antidote,” laughed Lyssy when asked about missions, “[Missions] are used to get the humans outside so the zombies can feast on them.”
The future of the game looks bright too. While last week’s game was more of an experiment, this week holds a much broader game that should find more people wearing the green bandannas. The club want to progress beyond this year by holding one HVZ game each semester and several smaller events through the semester. “We want to get people away from their computers and get them playing outside,” revealed Lyssy.
When asked about what it is like to be behind such an interesting event, Lyssy revealed that it was extremely stressful. “We currently have three [moderators]; this is not enough. We hope to have more in the future so we can have more missions and events during each game,” she said. On the other hand, it appears to have been very rewarding, especially in watching the dedication to the game. From people solving missions through outrageous means to the sheer fun of watching students bombard each other with Nerf darts and marshmallows, Lyssy is extremely proud of how this first round is turning out. “Watching it come to fruition has been very rewarding,” she admitted as a few zombies ran by outside the window.
It has not just been the players that have made the game such a fun experience; the reactions of the bystanders has made it truly unique. “When the observers realize whats going on, for some reason they start cheering for the zombies,” remarked Lyssy, “It should be the other way around; the humans definitely have it harder.” Since it only takes one “bite” from a zombie, the humans have become very paranoid, travelling in packs to keep their side alive.
From the perspective of someone inside the game, it is fun for both zombies and humans. Ryan Peck, now a zombie, has been rather proud of his technique, “I have food for the next 48 hours, I am pretty sure I can make it until the end.” The next game will be underway by Monday and the club will carry on. “Everyone should play,” boasted Lyssy, “Someday we hope this will be just as recognized on campus as E-days or the M-climb!”