Zombies vs Humans sweeps across campus

The game that separates the living from the dead still brings students together.

It’s that time of the year. The leaves begin to change colors, football is everywhere and the streets of Columbia grow infected with the walking dead.

Flesh-eating, brain-devouring zombies troll campus searching for the living to satisfy their hunger. Well, kind of. It is this time of the year that hundreds of students participate in the increasingly popular game Zombies vs. Humans.

Last week, 200 participants began as humans, but as time went on, more and more were tagged into zombies. The rules are relatively simple: All but a few players begin as humans and are sent out to complete nightly missions while avoiding the tag of a zombie.

Once a human gets tagged, they become transformed and the death toll increases. Humans are equipped with a NERF gun that will stun and leave zombies inactive for ten minutes.

Zombies vs. Humans began at MU in the spring of 2009. Since then, there has been an influx of participants, some semesters reaching as many as 650.

With such a large number of participants, those in charge of the game dedicate a lot of time to planning.

Graduate student Joe Rexwinkle is the president of Zombies vs. Humans. He said the planning for the spring semester’s game will begin about a week after the fall game ends.

Rexwinkle was among the first to play the game in 2009 and has been involved every semester since. He said that he and his team spend around four to six hours a week planning for the next semester’s game.

Humans go on nightly missions and take on challenges while trying to avoid being tagged by a zombie.

For example, humans are sent to gather supplies or build a box fort. If the humans complete their mission, they get an advantage in the next one to give them a greater chance at survival.

Freshman Drew Mathieu said his favorite mission was on the first night, when the humans were sent out to rescue five “doctors” and “scientists” who were scattered around campus.

Mathieu is a first-time player who made it 34 hours before becoming infected. He said that being a zombie is more fun, but his favorite part of the game is the suspense that comes from walking to class and the risk of being tagged or shot.

While the participants enjoy the gaming aspect, there is more to this biannual activity. Rexwinkle said it’s more than just a fun hobby — it’s a game that gives students a great opportunity to meet others they otherwise may not have met.

“We have nerdy players, athletic players, players from every college and level of education, fraternity and sorority players,” Rexwinkle said.

On Monday night, zombies and humans alike gathered at the Tiger Plaza Fountain for the final mission. After nearly three hours, the game came to an end. Not a single human remained after the six-day period.

Freshman Jack Morrisroe was one of those who were zombified.

“(The most rewarding part of the game is) being able to scare the living daylight out of people during their daily lives,” Morrisroe said.

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