Zombie and humanities freshman Megan Andrews attempts to dodge paralyzing sock balls, the humans' weapon of choice, while simultaneously trying to catch the humans during Humans vs. Zombies Tuesday, Oct. 5. Sock balls freeze a zombie for 10 minutes, allowing humans to flee. (CU Independent/Lauren Walter)
Organizers say they are disappointed in the level of participants in the Humans vs. Zombies game held on the CU campus last week.
Humans vs. Zombies is a modified game of tag. The two teams, humans and zombies, each have goals. The humans’ goal is try to stay human for the entire game, while the zombies’ goal is to “infect” as many humans as possible. Infection occurs when a zombie touches a human with their hand.
Humans are still prohibited to use Nerf guns to stun their opponents. Instead, they have the privilege of using balled-up socks to stun the zombies for 10 minutes if they can manage to hit the zombie before the zombie touches them, according to the HvZ website.
“It’s a violation of regent policy to have simulated weapons on campus,” said CUPD Public Information Officer Molly Bosley last year. “Our concern is that there are simulated weapons out there that look like actual weapons.”
Players who shoot Nerf guns on campus could face charges of unlawful conduct and could also be charged with violating the student code of conduct, Bosley said. The CU policy has not changed within the past year.
Kevin Stenerson, an 18-year-old freshman MCD biology major, said he would like to use Nerf guns.
“I would love Nerf guns,” Stenerson said. “Socks are nice, but having to carry around a single Nerf gun would be much more convenient.”
Rhiana Henry, a 21-year-old junior geophysics gemology major, is one of the organizers of HvZ.
Henry said that she feels the restrictions ultimately don’t matter.
“The restrictions are annoying, but we abide by them without issue,” Henry said. “Better to have a game with restrictions than no game at all. We enjoy the game too much to let it go due to limitations by campus.”
Henry said that only a handful of people won’t play due to the policy.
“If the people are that irritable about their Nerf guns, they probably aren’t the ones we really want playing anyway,” Henry said. “We like adaptable, fun people.”
Henry said she is not sure who got the game started, but it originated on Facebook.
“Last fall, there was a Facebook event that spread like wildfire, but most people forgot,” Henry said. “Campus was not pleased, and hit the game hard. Our current president and vice president took the mess that the Facebook event had left, and have turned it into a respectable student group.”
This game, according to both humans and zombies, is one of intense strategy.
As a human, Jonathan Schneck, an 18-year-old freshman mechanical engineering and physics double major, said he has a complex strategy.
“I minimize time outside,” Schneck said. “I try to find buildings [to go into] to my classes. Or stay outside and minimize the number of people [I'm by] because zombies like to hide by doors.”
Some zombies said their strategy differs from a human’s.
Savannah Schilling, a 17-year-old freshman electrical engineering major, said her strategy is different from Schneck’s.
“[I] travel in groups,” Schilling said. “[I] talk to people who are friends with humans to figure out where they are.”
According to the HvZ website, if a zombie doesn’t eat at least once every 48 hours he or she will die and be out of the game.
Both humans and zombies said that HvZ is much more than just a game of tag. Henry said it’s one of the best ways to meet new people. Schneck said he learned strategy and got to explore the campus.
“I don’t think I’ve gone in that many entrances [on campus] ever,” Schneck said.
Henry said that the HvZ game is quickly growing.
“Dozens of colleges have played, and even some high schools to various extents,” Henry said. “Each campus will have its own variation on the rules. Mostly it is East Coast, but it is moving west fairly rapidly.”
This semester, 489 students participated in the game, according to the website. This was not a decrease from last year. On the contrary, Henry said this year’s participation was double last semester.
However, some students were still disappointed in the lack of participation.
“I would rather have the entire campus doing it,” Stenerson said. “Lots of people would be humans, so it’d be easier to find people.”
Devyn Wishengrad, a 19-year-old sophomore pre-journalism major, said she had never even heard of HvZ.
“I don’t really know much about it,” Wishengrad said. “I’d consider playing, but I wouldn’t be jumping for joy.”
Other students, like Andrew Franklin, an 18-year-old freshman open-option major, said they wanted to participate but missed the deadline.
“Friday came, and I spaced out doing it,” Franklin said. “The majority of my friends are doing it. I wanted to play, but I missed the sign-up.”
This year, mostly freshmen and sophomores played the game. Henry said that most of the students who play lived in Baker, Williams Village and Farrand.
“We have a wide range of people playing,” Henry said. “Most are likely freshmen and sophomores. We got more playing in Baker, Will Vill and Farrand due to mods and minions advertising in those more, but people come from everywhere.”
The game, which ended last Friday, began on Monday, Oct. 4 at 8 a.m.
As a human, Schneck said he finds the game thrilling.
“The thrill of it is incredible,” Schneck said. “You feel like you’re a dying breed. You feel desperation but also a sense of accomplishment when you’re one of the only ones alive.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Lindsay Wilcocks at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brains, farts and zombies: Just in time for Halloween
- Low zombie turnout at CU
- Moths invade the ATLAS Center
- Raptors on campus
- Humane League petitions for cage-free eggs at CU