Click here for coverage of the first-ever fall semester Humans vs. Zombies Game at Webster University
Innovative students took the game of Humans vs Zombies in new directions this semester by adding a currency system, creative storylines and alter egos. Both players and moderators added these new elements to Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ), enriching and complicating the game.
One idea that HvZ players suggested last semester was having a currency system in the game.
Moderator Tony Burgesen took the idea of currency and “ran with it” this semester. Golden coins were introduced by HvZ moderators as currency, but they had no real value, as there wasn’t initially anything for players to buy.
“This was the maiden voyage for the currency system in the HvZ world, and people loved it,” Burgesen said. “It changed the game completely.”
Burgesen said that player greed made the system work. People were willing to work or do challenges for coins. Burgesen wagered bets with players and “put out hits on humans’ heads” by rewarding zombies who tagged certain humans.
Burgesen also created Black Marty, a gas-mask wearing man of mystery to run a black market. Burgesen wheeled around a suitcase full of special weapons and items for players while fully covered in a large trench coat and WWII gas mask. Black Marty opened shop in the Quad under a tent for several hours during the Black Friday mission.
“I wanted to make sure the game was played right, which is why I wanted to be a moderator, but I really wanted to play too,” Burgesen said.
Black Marty allowed Burgesen to interact with the game more as a player.
“Even though I wasn’t necessarily on one side or the other I could still challenge players in ways that I would normally be able to if I was playing the game.”
Videos were created for Black Marty’s Facebook profile with help from Fletcher Bohne, another HvZ moderator. The short videos explained who Black Marty was, gave hints on where to find hidden coins, and introduced new items.
While Facebook is typically an essential communication tool during HvZ for both the Human and Zombie teams, this year it really showed students creativity and ability to work together with strangers.
A diary started by a player codenamed Turtle Dove on the human team’s secret Facebook “safe room” page grew to over two thousand words. Several different people under various codenames wrote for the diary post.
“2:46 PM – Just had one of the scariest encounters ever. On the walk and dead ahead is an infectant. Real close, small dialogue pursues, not difficult to shoot at all. Fire. Empty. Fire Empty. I then bolt down the way I came and the zombie was intercepted by Comrade Adam. My life is now in debt to this brave soldier.” wrote a player codenamed Blue Clover.
Sophomores Dylan Schnitker, a film production major, and Logan Landolt, an interactive media design major, created a secret identity duo named White Mask and Black Mask. They posted a video online and created a Facebook profile for their duo before ever leaving the dorms dressed in their full costume. Once they did venture outdoors, it wasn’t long before white mask was tagged and the team dismantled.
“We were chased down — he broke left I broke right. I ended up surviving, and that’s when white mask was tagged. I didn’t really know what to do. I lost my partner. ” Landolt said.
Innovations by Webster students have revealed the creative potential for Humans vs Zombies. Next semester’s game sure to bring a whole new set of surprises and innovations. However, neither Burgeson nor Schnitker and Landolt are sure if they will bring back their characters in the spring, but their fake profiles (BlackWhiteMask, Black Marty) remain static online.