Zombies will make its yearly return to the New College of Florida campus in the last week of October, leading up to Center of the Universe Party (COUP). Throughout the week one will be sure to hear screams and see students running around with plastic spray bottles, ever alert and vigilant.
The Game Masters of Zombies, thesis students Kyle T. Johnson and Lily Gonzales, promise the game will be entirely different this year. They are working directly with administration on the logistics of the events and have reached out to the New College Police Department (NCPD). Assistant Director for Student Engagement Tara Centeno has been very supportive of the game, according to Johnson.
Johnson added that the mechanics they are introducing have never been formally introduced to the game before, including the Berserker and the Grabber.
Johnson and Gonzales held a Concerns and Safety Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The meeting was intended for people who had experienced the game as a player or non-player at New College, according to an email Johnson sent out. The Game Masters and attendees discussed the safety of Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in the game and also officially added the SHARE room to the safe zone list.
“I think we got a lot of nice feedback,” Gonzales said about the meeting. Johnson added that it helped to clarify rules that have been debated in the past and also formally established the primary importance of the health and safety of the players during Zombies.
“I’d say the first priority for us is to remind people that this is a game and you should be having fun with it,” Gonzales said.
“It’s important that people know that it’s okay to take yourself out of the game,” Johnson added.
Johnson and Gonzales also want to “crack down on the toxicity” in the game that can exist between players and non-players and want to work to ensure that Zombies does not interfere with the campus community.
Johnson and Gonzales are both very excited to see how Zombies plays out this year.
“I’m just having fun,” Gonzales said. Johnson added that he wants this Zombies to be “the best ever” and give people stories they can talk about for years to come.