Juvenile or just plain fun?: Humans vs. Zombies offers social outlet for students

 

I hate to sound like the “old man across the street” on this one, but the very presence of Humans vs. Zombies can at times be a juvenile and bothersome spectacle to watch.

With hoards of participants sporting bright green bandanas chasing one another through open areas on campus, all during class hours, my initial reaction to this game when it arrived last year was, “Are these Malone students? Where do they find the time for a large-scale game of tag?” I think I remember even saying something to the effect of, “Do these ‘zombies’ have career goals, or are they content with playing a $30,000 game of tag once or twice a year?”

Even professors got involved. Dr. Allen Plug, professor of philosophy, was tagged and became a zombie during the game. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

But this year I find myself having a different opinion about the popular game.

While I might not find the nature of this fictional game to be fun personally, the participants do. Sure, their warlike antics may seem like a nuisance to those who find themselves caught in the middle of an epic zombie/human chase, but this game is just another outlet for students to express themselves and capitalize on their extracurricular interests.

We all have pastimes, hobbies and games that we partake in when not in the classroom. For some, it’s four-plus hours of Call of Duty before bed. For others, it’s religious events hosted by Malone or local churches. And still for others, it’s checking out the nightlife in nearby Akron or Kent.

That is the very essence of university culture—a diverse culture of  young adults finding creative ways to take their minds off of the constant routine of 400-level courses, work-study, mandatory chapel and the laundry list of other expectations placed on college students.

From the looks of it, HVZ is basically a week when participating students can drop the expectations of normalcy and run around campus recreating a scene from Night of the Living Dead.

I can assure you the last thing these “zombies” and their human victims are concerned with is winning you over with their enticing game of tag. They’re just out there to do what most well-rounded young adults do best—define their idea of “fun.”

Sam Taylor is a contributing writer for Aviso AVW.

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How many events on campus bring together all different groups into one game that spans the entire campus for a whole week? Humans vs. Zombies is the only one.

From jocks to nerds, anyone on this campus can enjoy this fun game of stealth, suspense and surprise. Running for your life as thirteen zombies chase you is something that you cannot normally experience in your everyday life. Sneaking from one end of campus to the other without having anyone see you is quite the chore, but it can be done.

Some zombies, such as junior Bible and theology major Brad Gee, kept track of their "kills" by making marks on their headbands. Gee finished the game with the most kills among zombies. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

As a zombie, whether it’s creeping behind someone and taking them solo or joining a group of other zombies and going hunting for humans, it’s a mission of attrition. As either a human or a zombie, HvZ is an absolutely wonderful way to break up the long semester of school.

The main reason I love HvZ is the sense of community it builds among the players. Every year, as we go deeper into the semester and our homework load piles higher and higher, it becomes increasingly difficult to meet new people. HvZ is a spectacular way to go out and meet new people in a fun, challenging environment. I have many friends myself that I would not have had otherwise.

Another reason to love HvZ is that anyone can play. You do not have to be athletic at all to play this game. All it takes is some sneakiness, brains, and a Nerf blaster that does not jam on you at an inopportune moment. As a human or as a zombie, there is tons of fun to be had. It’s almost relieving for some players to become zombies, as they do not have to worry every time they step out of a building that a zombie may come out of nowhere and tag them.

For me, I do not see how anyone could not enjoy HvZ. Whether as a bystander or as a participant, it is always quite amusing to see a human walking down to the Johnson Center, then see fifteen zombies pop out from behind cars and begin chasing the lone human. This game creates so many opportunities for new friendships, and gives people an opportunity to relieve some stress from their schoolwork.

Come on out and join next semester! It will be one of the best choices you can make. If you do, though, watch your back. I might be coming for you…

Brad Gee is a contributing writer for Aviso AVW.

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