Zombie game needs more bodies

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One idea which has been very popular in recent years is the idea of a zombie apocalypse. This collapse of society to the undead is all over the media, whether in print, television, movies or books. Shows like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and video games like Call of Duty and Left 4 Dead thrive off of the mass of people fantasizing about encountering the undead. Recently, Western Illinois University became host to a zombie invasion of its own.

“Humans vs. Zombies” is a live-action game played throughout the world. The games usually begin with one original zombie, tasked with tagging human players in order to begin the apocalypse. Humans don bandanas around their arms and use socks in order to stun zombies for a total of fifteen minutes. Zombies wear the bandanas on their heads, and they need to tag humans within a certain amount of time in order to prevent death from starvation. The players are also given missions in which the two factions face off for various awards. The game is generally played on a time limit, until all humans have been tagged or all the zombies have starved. The game, in general, is lots of fun to play.

After a successful test run of the game within Higgins Hall last fall, it was decided that a campus-wide game would be run starting April 6. However, many of you may not have noticed anything different while walking through campus. The weekend the game started was Easter weekend, a Christian holiday for which many students travel back home. With that being said, there was no action within the game until three days afterward, when two more original zombies were chosen. Throughout the game, I’ve noticed few zombies stalking the campus, and even less humans. Last fall, it was a blast running for your life and watching your every move. This time, I’ve been able to walk freely throughout campus, with not a player in sight.

The problem hasn’t been with the management of the game. The moderation of the game has tried everything it can to get the players to actually participate. To me, the problem seems to be the time chosen for the startup of the game. The beginning date was obviously inconvenient due to the amount of people who left for Easter, but it also came at a time where the semester gets more difficult for many students. While many students might want to play the game, most students should see their academic progress as more important than a game. Playing a large-scale game such as this requires a time commitment that many students need for term papers and studying for exams. Therefore, the lackluster participation is quite understandable.

As fun as the game is, there is a time and place for such a thing. Unfortunately, with winter usually being cold in Illinois, there are a limited amount of days to run a program like this. However, a perfect time to do this would be at the beginning of a fall semester. This way, FYE and TYE programs can advertise to the new students, the weather will be warm and the semester would not have kicked into full gear. If there is a game next year, you’ll see me on the battlefield — hopefully not alone.