Real Life Games – An HvZ Teaser: Part One

Posted: April 10, 2011 by Cynthia 心雅 in Uncategorized

This is the first half of a post about HvZ. This post deals with what the game is and why you should play it. The next post will tackle what it is about HvZ that makes it such a good game for couples and friends to play together.

Right now, for those of you who aren’t on campus with us, it is that time of the semester known by many as “The Zombie Apocalypse.” If you haven’t heard of or experienced this game, known as Humans vs. Zombies, you are truly missing out on a unique experience.

Imagine that for a few days every six months or so, your life becomes a real-life, live-action, 24/7 version of Left for Dead (or whatever other zombie game you’d like to compare it to. Though, Plants vs. Zombies and Minecraft aren’t particularly good parallels of comparison.) You wake up one morning to find that the Zombie Apocalypse is truly (not truly- it is a game) happening and that many of your friends have already become infected. You quickly grab your shotgun Nerf-blaster and try to hold on to some semblance of normality in your day by heading to class (also because no Zombie Apocalypse is going to keep you from getting an A on that term paper). Armed with a nerf-blaster, rolled up socks, and a band on your arm (labeling you as uninfected, so that other uninfected know they can trust– and should help– you,) you run at full speed, adrenaline kicking, toward the nearest building, and then from that building to the next. Did I mention that there is safety indoors? Something about this particular virus can only be transfer by physical contact, in open air. You find some solace in learning that you are not alone. There are others, peering through the windows of almost every building, waiting for an opportunity to escape, and reach their destination.

You begin to truly evaluate what is important in your daily routine. Class? important enough to risk a jolt across the quad. Quick bite at the Student Union Building? Not as much. You form new alliances and friendships with those standing near you by the door, when you learn that they, too, are trying to make it to the building across the Quad. You stop going out at night. You tell your friends that if they plan to see you, they best make their way to Baldwin Hall, because it’s surrounded by Zombies and you’ll probably be there all night. By friends, I mean the ones that are immune to the virus (as in… not playing) because none of your susceptible (playing) friends are going to come. They sympathize, but they’re not stupid. And the one’s that are infected? Well, if you’ve invited them, you are truly hopeless.

There are also a few essential rules of survival that you learn rather quickly, or… well… join the other side. (some of these are very Truman State University specific.)

Rule Number One:
Avoid the Quad. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t you know that the Quad is where Zombies practically live? Rain, snow, sleet, lighting storm, or droplets of pure death falling from the sky? doesn’t matter. There are Zombies in the Quad.

Rule Number Two:
Avoid the library. Can you access what you need/type your paper in the dorms? Then do it. Can you wait to check out that book until after the infection has been cured (or at least until after you’ve been zombified)? Do it. Let me tell you something… There is ONE exit from the library. ONE entrance to the library. Where is that entrance/exit located? ON THE QUAD. If you do ~have~ to go to the library, do NOT, I repeat DO NOT go there late at night. News flash: The library closes. Other news flash: Zombies KNOW when the library closes. Other other news flash: There are Zombies in the Quad!

Rule Number Three:
Travel smart. (this is many rules in one)
–Travel in groups
–Travel light
–Travel with the basics you would need if you were stuck somewhere for a long time.
For me, I carry the following in a small, light, easily accessible shoulder bag: Money, phone, phone charger, snack, and socks. (I’m what they call a “sock ninja” in that I do not carry a nerf blaster. I use “sock grenades” and speed as my only means of defense.)

Rule Number Four:
Go to missions. Missions may lessen your chance of survival in the short term, but they are the only means of survival in the long run. If missions are not completed, the infection will never be cured, and your fate will inevitably sealed. Go to missions!

Rule Number Five:
Have so much fun you can’t stand it. This is, despite my in character writing, a game. It’s arguably the most fun no-purchase-necessary, outdoor multiplayer game ever thought up. Enjoy it!

Rule Number Six:
Do not overestimate your abilities. Playing HvZ doesn’t magically make you faster, stronger, more agile, or able to scale small buildings in a single bound. If, in real life, you wouldn’t be very confident in your ability to get to the other side of a tall fence without the use of a gate, it’s not the best idea to test this ability while being chased down by brain-thirsty zombies. I had to learn this one the hard way. When you’re running, full of adreneline, you approach a fence with the following thought process, “Oh shit, a fence! Well… they’re far enough back. I can probably manage to get myself over this thing.” And your mental image of such is something like you launching yourself upward by one foot in a hole of the chain-link fence and then perching spiderman-like at the top before hopping down gracefully to the other side. What actually happens is you trying to cram your tennis shoe into a hole that is much smaller than anticipated. You realize you can’t possibly “launch” from this stance and elect to swing your free leg over the fence. Again, you overestimate your leg length or underestimate the height of the fence. Either way, you now have your knee bent over the top of the fence and you try frantically to pull yourself up to it. You manage to get to the top in a position that is as far from a “perch” as a person could possibly get, and you manage to throw your other leg over. Now for the hop down, which should be easy compared to the acrobatics you’ve just tried to accomplish. You push off and let go of the fence. Guess what? That first leg that you got up there… the one that was rested on top of the fence at almost a right angle from the rest of you before your leap? Yeah, it (along with some of your thigh) was caught on the rough cut thick metal wire at the top of the fence. Given that all of your weight cannot be held by such a small unequipped area of your body, it rips… a lot. Have fun going to class with a hole in your pants from the crotch to your knee.

In a nutshell:
Humans vs. Zombies is an extreme form of tag.

The game begins with a set number of players (1-5% of the # of total players is usually good) who become infected. For the first 24 hours these subjects show no signs of infection. They walk around with arm bands (those “uninfected” markers) like anyone else, except they ~know~ they are infected, and they have a strange urge to spread the infection. The infection is spread through human physical contact of any kind, provided it is outdoors (depending on the game-rules you set, anyway) and takes approximately one hour to take effect. Those infected by what are known as the Original Zombies (OZ for short) become normal Zombies, and must wear their band on their head (ninja style across the forehead) to acknowledge that they are infected. They may also infect other uninfected through human contact. A human has two main ways of survival against a Zombie. The first is out running them. These Zombies are not your typical stagger and moan with outstretched arms Zombies. These are sprint at you like a mountain lion without hesitation or apology Zombies. These Zombies will own you. If you are not a track runner, I suggest option two. Option two is a human’s arsenal of defensive mechanisms (we’re not allowed to call them weapons, because they are NOT weapons, or guns.) These mechanism consist of nerf darts, and sock grenades. Both of these mechanisms have proven in studies to stun a Zombie for up to 15 minutes, though, strangely, if used on a Zombie while the human is “safe” (in a building for example) the Zombie seems to only be rendered harmless for one minute. (I’m sorry I keep falling in and out of character…)

For the Zombies to win the game, they have to kill/zombify all of the humans. In a way, everyone both wins and loses if the Zombies win. Everyone wins because everyone is a zombie, and everyone loses because well… everyone is dead.

For the Humans to win the game, they have to complete a series of preset missions to either cure the infection or escape the quarantine (Depending on the particular storyline. The Zombies also have missions designed to stop human missions, or to make them harder.

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