UVic urban gamers play Humans vs. Zombies on campus

Campus News

On Oct. 19, there was no more room in hell and the dead walked the earth. The UVic Urban Gaming Club banded together to battle zombies that had infiltrated UVic’s campus. The battle was waged from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with just over 200 people participating, and saw many casualties as well as heroes.

The conflict was part of a game called Humans vs. Zombies that was originally created at Maryland’s Goucher College in 2005. The game consists of zombies who wear bandanas as headbands and humans who wear bandanas around an arm, but other characters may be added for special missions. According to the club’s website, Humans vs. Zombies is “tag crossed with capture the flag and a few other games tossed in for good measure.” The main goal of the game is to stay alive and not be tagged by zombies if you are a human, or to tag and turn as many humans as possible if you are a zombie.

This Saturday’s game was the 12th in the club’s ongoing storyline of games since their original game was played in the fall of 2009. The 12th game began at 11 a.m. in room 105 of the Hickman building. Players used room 105 as a base to store belongings and also a weapons check area before the action began. The weapons used in a game of Humans vs. Zombies must meet the following criteria according to club rules: “The striking surface must be made of foam or similar soft material, it must not be solid or heavy enough to cause physical harm to the target, and must leave no marks, be they from the force of the hit, paint, ink, or other methods.”

The overcast and foggy weather of the autumn Saturday appropriately set the mood as the action began and a handful of zombies searched for victims. There were early casualties, as the zombies seemed to be affected by the rage virus and, as a result, were of above-average speed. Despite the humans having the advantage of their long-range weapon of choice—Nerf guns—over the rarely used vinyl records or cricket bat, the numbers quickly turned to the zombies favour.

The game play was split into two acts, with mini games wrapping up the afternoon’s event. Act 1 allowed players to complete three sub-quests: “Three Lost Kittens,” “The Last March of the Nice Knights,” and “The Adventures of Milkman,” in which they were enlisted to help side characters, such as a milkman making deliveries. Act 2 began with the objective to prepare a safe zone for humans, which was attempted directly outside of the Elliot building. Unfortunately, that objective was not successful and, after completing only a few of the 12 missions planned, they disbanded the main game. The rest of the time was spent playing mini-games such as a Nerf-based capture the flag.

Humans vs. Zombies was a unique sight on UVic’s campus, which seemed to baffle and entertain those taking a stroll through on a Saturday afternoon. The event itself was a clear success, with all participants appearing to thoroughly enjoy recreating their zombie apocalypse action fantasies. Many individuals acted out tropes, such as the religious zealot who spouted scripture-like speeches. Whether Humans vs. Zombies is simply a fantasy game, or in some people’s minds, preparation for an assumed apocalypse, it was made clear on Oct. 19 that many participants would not survive should their play become a reality.