How I Spent a Week as a Ravenous Zombie - Apozem Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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How I Spent a Week as a Ravenous Zombie

And now we venture into the world of off-topic. I like to do the occasional non-gaming blog, and this definitely counts. As I sit here and type out these words, the myriad of aches and pains throughout my body are a constant reminder of my brief time as a Human and longer time as a Zombie. I doubt I'll be moving very quickly these next couple days... Dear god I am sore. Life as a zombie really takes it out of you.

This isn't some weird meta fanfiction- I really mean that I was a Zombie. Those of you still in college have probably heard about Humans vs. Zombies. It's basically one giant game of tag that lets you live out the zombie apocalypse. The game tends to be played on college campuses, a central location for everyone involved. The end result is inevitable for almost every game- Zombies win. After seeing the results of a zombie outbreak firsthand, I have to say that things are not looking good for us if a real zombie apocalypse ever occurs.

The game is simple. Three people begin as Zombies. They infect new people with a two hand tag. The Humans can stun Zombies with NERF guns and foam darts. However, an infected can't be killed. Each stun only freezes them for fifteen minutes. Buildings are safe, everywhere else is not. Humans wear a bandana on their arm; Zombies wear a bandana on their head.

It's a lot of fun. At my college, we had around 600 people sign up to play. Although the infection began with three Zombies, it spread like wildfire. By the end of the week everyone was infected. Unfortunately, that includes me. I got the chance to try my hand at a zombie apocalypse. The results were interesting, to say the least. Here's how I (didn't) survive a week of ravenous Zombie attacks.

Fair warning: This blog is a little long, but it's pretty cool. At least I think it is. Judge for yourself!

Day One- Outbreak

There's nothing quite like the paranoia that accompanies walking to class on the first day. Buildings are safe, but you have to go outside eventually in order to get to class. Usually the Zombies attack those walking from class to class. The games began Monday morning. I walked to my first class, slowly and with great caution. Zombies could be anywhere.

The journey from my dorm building to class was uneventful. I took a secluded path to class and entered the building from a seldom-used door. No one saw me. The trouble came when I walked out of class an hour later. In order to reach my next class on time, I would have to pass through one of the busiest parts of campus. Zombies would almost certainly be there.

Sure enough, there were two Zombies outside the building. I spotted them, but they didn't appear to have seen me. I quickened my pace and walked as fast as possible. Had they noticed me? Probably not. It was best not to pull out a weapon and draw attention. Best to just walk quickly. I made it most of the way to another building with short, fearful steps. All I had to do was get inside and I'd be safe.

That's when I heard the sound of footsteps, rapidly approaching from behind. They'd seen me. I turned back and saw one sprinting across the open. My first instinct was to turn and sprint away... or at least, try to run.

I tripped.

The first day of the infection, and I tripped. My stuff spilled everywhere and I took a dive over concrete. There was a nasty scab wound extending from my elbow about halfway up my arm as a reminder of this little catastrophe. Needless to say, the Zombies didn't have any trouble catching me after I went face first into the ground. I was infected, three hours into the game. How lame is that?

The Life of a Zombie

I was pretty mad about being tagged so early in the game. Some later news salved my wounds- in a single day the infection had spread to around a hundred people. At least plenty of other people had been caught too. I joined my new Zombie compatriots with fresh enthusiasm for hunting Humans.

The vast majority of the game has been condensed down into this section simply to avoid boring you. 80-90% of a Zombie's life is walking around campus and looking for Humans to infect. There is a lot of downtime. I spent far more time idly chatting with other Zombies than actually chasing down Humans. If nothing else, you meet some interesting people.

However, when you do see a human... that's when the intense part starts. The feeling of chasing down a lone Human is amazing. It's a little difficult to do by yourself, though. Zombies quickly learned to hunt in packs. A single Human might have enough ammo to stun three or four zombies, but they were quickly overwhelmed by groups of eight to ten. The Zombie packs even began using basic tactics like chasing prey into ambushes. Infecting the Humans was serious business.

I didn't get a whole lot of kills. To date I have personally killed three Humans, one of whom I mistakenly let go. It's hard to tag someone when they have a dart gun and can shoot you from ten feet. As you can tell, I'm not great at this game. Being a Zombie is still a lot of fun. It's a massive rush to slowly walk through a crowd of people, looking for prey to infect. Spotting, chasing, and taking down targets in a group of people feels like a real-life version of the multiplayer in Assassin's Creed.

Surviving the Odds

It was really fascinating to watch how people's behavior changed over time. Natural selection was very much in evidence. If you aren't as familiar with evolutionary theory, natural selection is the idea that nature "selects" traits that are better for survival in a given environment. Animals with the best traits have the highest chance of surviving. The idea is super important in biology.

Our game was kind of similar to that. Over time, those who were careful and had huge NERF machine guns (favorable traits) survived while the rash or underpowered Humans died out. Teamwork was another big facrot in survival. The Humans organized even more quickly than the Zombies, but they had a leader. One of the Humans was a Marine in the ROTC program. He brought organization, discipline, and effectiveness to the survivors. They would not have lasted nearly as long without his leadership.

The ROTC guy kind of made infecting people difficult. Chasing down one Human was easy enough when you've got a pack of Zombies at your back, but how do you deal with an organized group divided into fire teams? That man knew his zombie-killing. He even named his group S. T. A. R. S. after the team from Resident Evil.

The Endgame

Everything came to a head on Sunday, the final day in a week of pure chaos. The Humans were tasked with a special mission- gather several parts to fix and fuel an escape plane. Obviously there wasn't a real plane, but they still had to extract several objects and return them to the safe zone to prepare the imaginary plane. Any Human who didn't make it to the plane was considered dead. Zombies had to protect the parts necessary.  Think of it as a really intense game of capture the flag.

Going into the final mission, the Zombies were worried. The Humans were organized, efficient, and very lethal. There was no way we were going to stop them all from escaping. However, Team Zombie did have a couple advantages. The biggest one was all of our melee weapons. Around ten Zombies had found hidden bonuses on campus that allowed them to wield NERF swords and battleaxes. One guy even used a super *** Minecraft pickaxe. As one Human put it, "You don't know fear until you're chased by a six-foot Zombie with a f*cking battle axe."

It's amazing how intimidating these can be.

The Zombies decided to focus all our defenses on one point. The Humans could grab the other parts of the plane, but we would protect the fuel. If the Humans didn't get the fuel and "escape" within two hours, they lost. It was the big finale. You could really feel the tension in the air around Samford Lawn as the Zombies sat there, waiting for what would undoubtedly be the strongest Human attack of the game.

The Attack

They came. The attack was typical of the ROTC guy- suprising, effective, and careful. The Humans actually left campus and entered behind our defenses... which was somehow legal. We actually had Zombies set up in the trees to ambush them, but they didn't matter now.

The Humans advanced slowly in a tightly packed formation. Any unlucky Zombie who got close to them was quickly stunned. For a few agonizing minutes, the group inched closer and closer to the fuel that we Zombies had bet everything on protecting. That's when everything changed. The Zombies decided to throw caution off a bridge and make one massive charge. They would either break the lines of S. T. A. R. S. or get stunned en masse and let the fuel slip through their undead fingers.

To my regret, I was not there. During the final moment I was elsewhere trying to find more Zombies to help us protect the fuel. When I did return, the game was over. A great deal of Zombies had been stunned, but the human lines were forever broken. Even S. T. A. R. S. couldn't hold off the entire horde alone. That one charge sealed the Zombie victory. With most of the Humans infected, the few survivors couldn't do anything against the overwhelming tide of Zombies. In the end, even the ROTC guy was zombified.

The Aftermath

Once again, the Zombies won. That's really not a good sign for us as a species if a real zombie outbreak ever occurs... we will probably lose. Then again, real zombies don't coordinate attacks with cell phones. So there's that.

Even though I personally didn't do great, it was still a lot of fun to play tag with 500 other people. I learned that I'm not as fast as I think I am. I learned that in a zombie attack, loners die first. A coordinated team is far more likely to survive than separate stragglers.

That's how my week turned out... What was your week like?

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