The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Humans vs. Zombies: Lessons learned from the game

News+reporter+Joshua+Hopkins+attempts+to+evade+his+zombie+attacker.
Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will

News reporter Joshua Hopkins attempts to evade his zombie attacker.

I stand just the inside building, nerf gun in one hand and extra ammo in the other. Out of the corner of my eye, I take note of two zombies darting behind a nearby building. I might not make it to my next class alive.

Zombies have seized the entire nation within the last few years. Between TV shows, books and movies,  the fight against the zombie horde is everywhere. Regardless of where the trend came from, America has embraced the zombie cultural revolution, and Texas A&M in particular has brought zombies right onto campus.

Here, the war takes the form of a game constrained to a weeklong event running approximately twice a semester. The eternal fight between humans and zombies ― and my 10th time battling the zombie menace― wrapped up last week with a zombie victory.

This semester, HVZ was an odd game for me. Having this semester moved up to fill the shoes of head moderator, I found myself orchestrating the whole war, from zombie stun times, to mission parameters, and even safety. Especially toward the end of the game, I found myself missing the simplicity of just having to worry about the zombies out for my blood― or brains.

Largely I found myself sidelined, forced to step back from the game and make rule calls. I had to watch for traffic and pedestrians, keeping players safe while also intervening to keep the game balanced ― can’t have the zombies kill everyone too quickly.

The experience made me look back fondly at older games where my reflexes and skill enabled me to fight off waves of zombies, and my natural speed and long arms struck fear into the hearts of humans. But Friday night after the last mission, it hit me ― my job had changed.

As college students, we have all suffered the pains of being in an organization that suddenly finds itself leaderless thanks to the constant continuation of time.  Every organization needs someone to step up and take on those responsibilities to keep everything running safely. This year it was my turn to give back to the organization.

It is so important that every organization does this, big or little, academic or recreational. Without a person stepping up, who knows how many generation of Aggies would miss the events that you had the opportunity to attend. By taking up the torch, you help ensure that when you return to campus as alumni 20 or 30 years from now, your organization will still be going strong.

After the mission Friday night, it is a tradition for everyone who played, human or zombie, to go get food and tell tales of old games. Sitting at that table helped me realize how important my job was, and while it might be cheesy, it means something to me. Players years from now will be talking about the zombies they’ve fought, and I helped that happen.

In addition, taking that position certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. I get to experience the overwhelming dread of the human players when I describe some new mission element, and I get to see the fiendish glee the zombies receive when I lower stun times. Beyond that, I can still play the game. I can still take the fight to the zombies during the day, and I get much more of a challenge because of my position.     

When I saw those two zombies on my way to class, I still felt the same sense of looming dread and paranoia as I had felt since my very first game. When I was inevitably tagged I felt the same sense of relief, followed very quickly by excitement at the prospect that I could now hunt the remaining humans.
There was a third zombie behind the building that day. I didn’t make it to my next class alive, but I’ll certainly be ready when the next game rolls around.

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