—Joseph Strong, HvZ moderator
This letter is in response to The Journal’s Letter to the Editor last week entitled, “Why you shouldn’t play Humans vs. Zombies.” I will disrespectfully disagree with much of this. First of the comments saying, “but its precise rules are unknown to us.” We have an open forum online (on Facebook), we hold a question and answer session before the game and have an initiation meeting before the game starts. So if you do not know the rules, then it is only because of your own apathy that you have not bothered to learn them.
As for the comment saying, “it has absolutely no educational value,” this is completely wrong. I am currently getting the video game design certificate from the School of Communications. Getting this certificate requires the process of learning and designing video games. For the six months that go behind the scenes, we do nothing but teach ourselves game design (which is exactly what I am studying).
Now for the “no social or political significance, no artfulness or creativity” comment, I must disagree once again. For social, we have gathered over 250 students, faculty and staff together in one location. A huge focus on the Webster University campus is building community, and I cannot think of an event that pulls in more participants. Political significance? Why yes, our entire game is built around a political theme. Our story encourages players to sign up to vote (in this incredibly important election year). Once again, if the writers of the article had tried to educate themselves about this, they would perhaps see how political it really is.
Next up, “artfulness and creativity.” Really? Really? You are saying that bringing together 250 people on a liberal-arts campus won’t inspire creativity? Completely bypassing the six months of prep and design that go into the game. Just look at the players who organize, create outfits, practice stage makeup and develop personal characters (RE: Agent Turtle Dove).
Finally in response to, “but one more part in the play of a widespread cultural regression, one that unwittingly refuses to face up to the unforgiving facts of contemporary life—war, poverty, gross inequality, untreated sickness and disease, and genocide (to name but a few).” Yes these things exist. But thinking very macro for a moment, is it better to shun mentioning these tragedies or facing them full on by saying, “Yes, they exist.” And why not show the negativity in the physically safe environment of fantasy to help prepare people for the dangerous world of reality?