The One with… Mmm… Brains!

It’s that time of year again, Humans vs Zombies (HvZ)! The spring session started this past Tuesday with the final mission scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday) evening. No I don’t play, but I have enough fun watching students run around with their balled-up socks (way more awesome than Nerf weapons) and hearing “turned” and mission stories. While HvZ was a staple during my fall presentations, I never really looked into it till now and wow, just wow- there are so many different rules and play styles.¬†Since I’m no expert, I’ve reached out to some of my favorite people on campus (read: everyone) for some insight into HvZ, but let’s start with some context –

The Horde gathering in Hixon Court… for BRAINS!!!

Jason, what are you talking about? What is HvZ?

Well, according to their website, Humans vs Zombies is a 5-day game of moderated tag that involves “human” and “zombie” players. Zombies try to tag humans and humans try to avoid getting tagged and defend themselves with approved “weaponry.” There is a very extensive rules page which explains stuns, missions, weaponry, safe zones and even different human classes and special infected types. As of writing this post, there are 159 humans are left in the game versus 130 zombies. Likely my favorite part of the game is the tracking they do through their website, especially the comments zombie players enter with their earned feed codes.

What are Mudders saying about it?

Leslie Forrester ’13
Leslie, one of our senior interns, was a pacifist who believed that violence is not the answer to fixing a zombie apocalypse. She chose to be a pacifist since she owned no Nerf weapons and didn’t want to lose any of her fancy socks (I’m making the assumption Leslie’s socks are fancy). Asked if she regretted choosing to be a pacifist, Leslie answered no. She didn’t expect to last very long and had fun while it lasted. While she’s not a very active zombie (I know right?), she still enjoys putting on her headband while casually walking around campus to play mind-games on remaining human players she encounters. Cause you never know what Leslie’s going to do, NEVER.

How she was turned: Leslie was turned on day 2. She was tricked by one of her friends and pleaded with them when she realized she was cornered. Leslie, there’s no reasoning with zombies! They only want BRAINS! Leslie’s lesson from all this, “Don’t trust zombies.”

Cori McElwain ’13
Cori, another one of our senior interns, was also a pacifist. Her strategy was to take less traveled paths to classes and meals. Also, go very fast- she wore workout clothes and running shoes everywhere she went (fashionable while aerodynamic, I approve).

How she was turned: Cori was turned on day 3. While she survived a thrilling chase on day 1 back to her dorm, she wasn’t so lucky on her next trip to lunch. She was surrounded by the horde and tagged by someone listed as Nom Nom Brains Oratz, the leading zombie player for Mudd with 11 tags. He started out as a pacifist, but seems to have taken a liking for BRAINS!

James McConnaughey ’14
Quote from James: “I see people with Nerf guns. That seems fun. I, honestly just don’t have the time, money or motivation to get a gun. I keep a pair of socks in either hand and make sure the laces on my running shoes are well tied. Being chased by a horde of brain-hungry corpses is a great way to get your mind off of work. I started the capture the flag club my freshman year, which has long since fizzled out. Maybe that’s why I run. Humans vs Zombies gives me a shot of nostalgic adrenaline.” Well said, good sir.

How he was turned: I interviewed James when he was still a human, but according to the feed on the HvZ website, he fell this morning to a zombie player from Pomona who reported 7 tags at 11:04 am and has earned “Double Tap” status with 10 BRAINS!

Dustin Kane ’16
Dustin sees the spirit of Harvey Mudd College’s collaborative environment in HvZ. In his words, “Just like we don’t compete for grades, and help one another, we work together as humans to ensure our survival. We don’t use each other as bait. We never leave anyone behind. We go in groups when we hear someone is bogged down by the Hoch (our dining hall) or by Hixon Court. We come as saviors to our fellow humans because that’s what Mudders do in almost all aspects. A lone human isn’t going to survive the horde. We have to work together, watch each others backs, check corners, call out potential zombie threats. HvZ is an entirely collaborative team activity.”

How he was turned: Also not sure. Dustin also fell this morning to what most refer to as the “winning team.” He received his trusty weapon from a senior who only wanted one thing in return, for him to survive. Maybe next year, Dustin? In the mean time, BRAINS!

Update: As I finish writing this post, there has been a 12-player swing in favor of the zombies. The count is now 147 humans and 142 zombies. Good luck to all the remaining human players on your final mission! And for readers that have stuck it out this far, how many times have I written BRAINS?!