This year’s Humans vs. Zombies promises to be bigger, better and, surprisingly, safer.
Humans vs. Zombies is an event in which “human” players, in order to survive, must avoid getting tagged by the infected population – a mix of designated zombies or “Zombie Primes” – for an entire week.
Last year was one of the few times in which three first-year students, Jace Johnson, Ida Pettersson and Lorraine Cruz, were the sole survivors. Cruz, this year’s Game Master of Humans vs. Zombies, has already begun working on the game in conjunction with second-year student Meijing Bernard and thesis student Wesley Thorp, who is in charge of the game’s storyline.
The team is currently unsure of when the game will actually take place. Traditionally, Humans vs. Zombies occurs on the week leading up to Halloween weekend, which has been the same week leading up to Halloween’s Center of the Universe Party (COUP), formerly known as Palm Court Party (PCP). This year, Halloween COUP will take place the week following Halloween weekend due to scheduling issues with the Black Box Theatre (BBT).
“We are really trying to take students’ schedules into account,” Cruz said. “We need to pay attention to students’ workloads, so we are trying to see which week will be less intensive.”
Cruz said that several students in the Natural Sciences department have already contacted her about upcoming exams that will make playing the game stressful depending on what week the game falls on. Cruz plans on sending a survey to the [forum] prior to the event in order to get more student feedback.
Currently, the team is unsure of what feats and challenges – events where humans can receive extra points and zombies can tag more humans – will occur this year. However, Cruz is already certain of the storyline she wants Thorp to plan.
“We are really trying to create a story that encompasses a lot of New College,” Cruz said. “We want to include the history of Humans vs. Zombies, the past Zombie Primes, and the winners from last year to come together. But that’s just only one of the ideas that we are thinking of right now.”
The team’s main focus is the implementation of safety procedures and protocol in order to ensure that this year’s game will be much safer than it has been in years past.
“The rules and regulations of the game are really vague and need to be made explicit,” Cruz said. “I think the Game Master should be involved such that they are in charge of the game, but they shouldn’t consistently be answering questions because there should be valid, reliable rules. […] We are going to try to change the contestation system and organize the rules so that we can have a more consistent system that can continued to be used for later on.”
With this year’s large incoming class, this creates an opportunity for this year’s game to feature a disproportionate amount of first-year students in comparison to everyone else. Cruz recalls what the experience was like both playing, and winning, the game last year when she was a first-year student.
“It was a very stressful game,” Cruz said. “I lived it in every single way. I did not sleep in my room until the last day when I was finally able to make it back. I don’t know how I did it, honestly.”
Cruz credits her victory to a strong background in competitive sports and her love of the zombies genre.
“In high school, my friends and I would plan what we would do during an apocalypse and [last year] felt as if my dreams were finally coming true,” Cruz said. “It was really awesome. We would wake up really early, go to the building of our class, try to pay attention in class, wait until you get leave with a different group of people or you would have to go on your own. I definitely did things on my own but I definitely also utilized everyone else’s help.”
Cruz recalls a particularly stressful moment where she had to trek from the residential side of campus all the way to Bonseigneur “Bon” House by herself.
“It’s a really stimulating game,” Cruz said. “And I had a really great time.”