INsite Magazine

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week Of The Living Dead

Merge a a game of Nerf wars with 28 Days Later and live-action role play, and what do you get? Humans vs. Zombies, or as they call it within the community, HVZ. For the second time ever in Gainesville, the week-long game of tag will consume UF. With 935 people registered to play, the campus-wide game runs 24 hours a day for seven days straight.

Everyone, except one randomly chosen person, begins the game as a human. The selected player is assigned the role of lone zombie whose mission is to tag humans, transforming them into zombies to aid in the quest. To distinguish zombie players, a bandanna, which can be any color as long as visible, is worn. And there is a stipulation: If a zombie does not feed (or tag) a human within 48 hours, he or she dies (a.k.a. gets kicked out of the game).

HVZ originated at Virginia’s Goucher College in 2005, and it is now an international game that reaches as far as Australia. When Jesse Schmitt, a political science major at UF, stumbled across the game online, he thought, "wow! This looks like fun. I want to play." The freshman was disappointed to learn UF hadn’t succumbed to the HVZ fever, so he decided to erect one, creating an official student organization through UF and becoming the president in January. The first game in February, lured a whopping 400 players.

Participation is free. However, you do need three items to play: a bandanna (which Jesse recommends buying at Wal-Mart), a Nerf gun and an index card to write your ID number on. And in addition to the small purchases, you also have to register at one of the meetings. This year Jesse expects to have 1,000 registered players.

To win, you have to survive the week as a human. The prize for which, Jesse says, is a good time. Although Jesse has only participated on the sidelines as a moderator, he still looks forward to the game. “What I'm looking forward to isn’t the game-play so much as watching the players,” he says. “Their creativity always impresses me. People come up with the most unorthodox strategies to survive.”

If you want to learn how to get in on the next game, e mail Jesse Schmitt,

- Cindy Taveras
Check out what Stephen Colbert has to say about HVZ.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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