Wearing bandannas and armed with NERF guns and socks, students gave new meaning to what it means to be a human for a week at Webster University. Over 150 students played an advanced game of tag outdoors on campus called Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ).
Video by Lauren Porkorney, Gabe Burns and Evan Mueller
“It’s a massive game of tag,” says senior scriptwritng major and HvZ moderator Fletcher Bohne.
Bohne was one of about 8 moderators for the game this year.
“It’s tag that has a lot more dynamics to it,” senior film production and HvZ moderator Tony Burgesen. “So calling it tag doesn’t really do it justice.”
Sophomore political science major Adrian Barnello was randomly selected as the original zombie, or as he was referred to in the game, O.Z.
On “starting the zombie apocalypse” Barnello said, “it was my job to get the ball rolling, start getting the exponential growth going.”
The humans he and other zombies tagged took the bandana off of their arm and wrapped it around their head or neck, signifying they were no longer human. The new zombies hand over their HvZ ID card to the player who tagged them, which is used to register the tag online. The tag allows zombies them to “feed” themselves and two other players; zombies have 48 hours between tags to feed or they will “starve” and be unable to play.
[pullquote]”Calling it tag doesn’t really do it justice.” – HvZ mod Tony Burgesen[/pullquote]
Players communicated with cell phones and used Facebook groups to strategise. The secret “human safe room” and “zombie horde” Facebook groups were so active that by the week’s end there had been several hundred posts on each side.
This game was the first time Humans vs Zombies played in the fall semester. The number of registered players set a new record. One reason for the increase in participants: visiting high-school seniors, now Webster freshman, saw HvZ being played at Admitted Students day, which overlapped the week of the game last semester.
After a week full of wild play and scheduled missions, only one human remained. Zachary Vasquez was rewarded with a NERF gun for his achievement at the conclusion meeting in the library conference room. Moderators answered questions and players shared stories from the game over pizza and soda at the meeting.
Senior music composition major Ben Young told his story one way he settled a dispute over a tag.
“A bunch of weird people showed up to East Hall in a car and they start pumping some 80s song and we had a dance off,” Young said.
Zombies will return to campus next year for a game in the spring semester.