If you were thinking the zombie apocalypse had arrived, that is not the case. In actuality, I am referencing the game of human versus zombies! Ever heard of it? Many people do not come in contact with this game until college, but when they witness the phenomenon, they cannot avert their eyes.
How does this game work? Well I’ve just experienced the game from the University of Washington campus, but I imagine rules applied are similar everywhere. There are two teams: humans and zombies. A few people start out as zombies, signifying their team with orange bandanas wrapped around their heads. The rest of the people, sporting bandanas tied around their arm, are humans. From here the one week long game continues exactly as you would imagine a zombie epidemic; whenever a human is touched by a zombie they must join the zombie team. However, humans have a form of defense: Nerf guns or socks. One hit to a zombie with either causes a “stun” which renders that zombie useless for 15 minutes while the human gets away. Humans also have refuge in any building on campus, but beware as everywhere else on campus is considered a danger zone! To make the game even more intense, when zombies tag 10 people they become super zombies. It is as intimidating as it sounds; these zombies cannot be stunned and all a human can do is run away from them.
The game is all regulated as well. Rules are posted on a Facebook page specific to the campus. Basically, anytime a human is tagged they must hand over their ID card. To ensure people aren’t just staying in doors all day and avoiding any contact with the outside world, “Missions” are also held where attendance is taken. Anyone not in attendance is no longer considered a survivor. It all sounds super intense, but don’t worry, perhaps the most important of the regulations indicates that no weapons may be used or physical harm occur.
This may seem like a simple, silly game, but let me tell you, people get into their roles and play them mercilessly, and I have seen some crazy circumstances you would never see elsewhere! So, after watching all the mayhem go down, I decided to give it a try myself and I am here to report to you first-hand the exciting madness that is the game Zombies versus Humans.
From watching all the Zombie versus Human skirmishes before, I made a mental list I knew I must live by if I were to survive:
1. Avoid openly spaced common areas as much as possible. These places will be crawling with zombies no matter the time of day! Such examples include Red Square and the Quad at the University of Washington.
2. Traverse areas will lots of pathways and buildings. That way if you are spotted, you can quickly divert your path toward safety.
3. Give yourself extra time getting to class, if you’re spotted by a zombie and need time to hide or escape, this rule will serve you well.
4. If you see a zombie and they begin chasing you just play it safe, and head straight for a building, unless, I suppose, you’re a shot equal to Katniss.
5. If you spot a zombie before they have seen you, don’t play hero and pull out your Nerf gun or wait for them to come near, just get out of there!
6. Intense players like to hide in bushes or trees (yea I’m serious), so if your campus has some green patches, be sure to be on the look out for zombies hiding here while passing.
7. Dress up for the occasion! Wear leggings and shoes that are easy to run in. Make sure you look cute though, I consider it a distraction to the boys playing-and it may just be enough for you to get away.
8. NEVER wear the orange bandana in class. I guarantee a zombie will be in your lecture and will identify you as his/her next target.
9. Overall, just act like those with orange bandanas are legitimate zombies, avoid them like its life or death, and you’ll for sure be a winner.
So, with my rules in mind, I set out on the first day feeling prepared with my little Nerf gun. From here, the game quickly divides the true players from the not. Who is willing to spend extra time traveling to class in order to take routes less likely to be ridden with zombies? Who is willing to dart across open passageways and risk odd glances from their peers? Who is willing to encounter awkward Nerf gun wars, intense shouting, and possible humiliating circumstances? Well, I was.
In fact, I had a rather embarrassing zombie encounter. Whilst running away from two foes who were close on my heels, I flung a door open in haste to get inside. Sadly, I was in too much of a rush and ended up hitting myself in the face with the door. My head hurt, I broke my glasses, and I was utterly humiliated as my attackers began to laugh at what they had just witnessed. If I were in an actual zombie apocalypse I would’ve been a goner right there, but whether it was that the zombies took pity on my situation, or decided to give a girl a break (Rule #7), they let me crawl inside the door without an attack. So, the point of the story is, running wildly away from zombies may cause you some embarrassments, but the game is all worth it.
Despite such occurrences, for the first couple days I stayed alive, running from and avoiding orange bandanas when I saw them (Rule #4). Even with all the stares from other students, it was exciting to play the game! One such circumstance occurred when two zombies spotted me and chased me into a small building with only three exits. When I ran inside the front door, the zombies each took a remaining exit, not expecting me to go back out the front. After peering out a window and seeing this, I ran back out the entrance and away from the confused zombies.
Other humans I spotted weren’t always so lucky. It was as I made my cautious way around Red Square, hopping from building to building (Rule #2), that I heard a zombie scream, “HUMAN!!” in the most inhuman and frightening voice I’d heard (like I said, people get intense). I booked it quickly to a nearby building without any chase, but what I saw startled me. Where no zombies were before, ten suddenly appeared, surrounding three humans in the center of Red Square. I could tell these humans would not make it and the fight was over quick as they were overrun by sheer numbers. Needless to say, that is why you don’t go milling about in crowded open spaces and obey Rule #1.
Yet, even will all my rules, the day came when I was eventually tagged. It was a weak moment when I had let my guard down as I walked back from class. I hadn’t noticed a zombie behind a tree so when he popped out I was surprised and merely ran around in circles trying to get away. As I got desperate, I pulled out my little Nerf gun and shot at the zombie. It was a pathetic attempt as the dart slowly flew out and landed half way in between the zombie and I. At this, my foe knew I was done for and tagged me, forcing me to hand over my ID card and human status. Though I was disappointed in my defeat, I was also very proud that I had made it that far. I’m sorry to say I did not make it the full week as a human, but the game was so much fun, I would definitely play again.
If your school plays zombies versus humans, I strongly suggest you try it at least once! If it doesn’t, maybe you could start the game at your school?
For those Huskies reading, UW zombies versus humans starts the 3rd week of the quarter, which means sign ups are going on this week. If you decide to play, stick by my rules, and visit the zombies versus humans booth in Red Square to register!