Over the course of our education here at Maryville College, the presence of the zombie horde has been evident. Who could miss students running around campus, wielding Nerf guns and running from their fellow students?
This phenomenon is not unique to MC.
Humans Vs. Zombies (HVZ) founders and graduates of MC Stacy Mullinax, former HVZ administrator, and J.P. Speir, former head of storyline/missions, adopted the game from Goucher College.
“From what I know, Stacy and a bunch of other nerds happened upon the Goucher College and found this crazy game with Nerf guns,” said Michelle Barnes, current HVZ administrator and MC junior.
Barnes took up the HVZ mantle following the graduation of Mullinax and Speir.
She said that the first game of HVZ at MC was actually shut down after a week because Speirand Mullinax failed to clear the game with security and administration. The two regrouped and gained the proper clearance to play the game for the maximum length of a week, provided that they obtained contracts from each player promising to abide by game rules and not to shoot non-players with game weaponry, which includes Nerf guns and rolled socks.
Aiding Barnes with HVZ are co-administrator and MC junior Terran Davis and supreme chancellor of creativity Marissa Lemons, also a junior. Lemons has taken Speir’s former storyline/mission responsibilities.
According to Lemons, the zombie virus is usually contracted through the campus squirrels, a problem which is due in part to the campus’s abundance of the fuzzy animal.
“It’s always the squirrels,” Lemons said with a sigh.
The J-term round of HVZ was Lemons’ debut as supreme chancellor of creativity, and she said that she is taking all feedback about the missions she constructed.
Lemons also employed plot zombies, students who played only during specific missions, and a zombie hybrid, whom the humans had to protect and against whom the humans had to defend themselves at alternating intervals.
During the last Saturday of game play, humans Eric Kearny and Sam Turpin decided to conduct their own zombie training camp.
The players allowed zombies Amber Vargas and Shawn Richards to chase them around while offering the zombies tips on how to be better zombies and better players of the game in general.
“But it wasn’t like a taunting; it was actually pretty cool,” said Lemons, who happened upon this event.
This year’s J-term round had a surprising ending. Humans came out with a stunning victory of 11-5 starved zombies.
Once turned into a zombie, a player has three days to “nom” another student. If the zombie fails to make a kill within the time limit, it dies.
“Usually the zombies win,” Barnes said.
Human victories are quite rare, and Barnes hypothesized that the reason for the victory may simply have been J-term itself. With fewer students on campus, there are fewer players for the zombies to eat. The cold weather may also have been a factor, as fewer students are willing to face the January wind.
“I would like them to continue playing. I would love more new people to sign up,” Barnes said.
Barnes and Lemons hope for a continued interest in the game and more interesting rounds to come.
The game lives on, with both Lemons and Barnes preparing for the next round. When the infection spreads again, who will be victorious? Will the humans survive? Or will the zombies devour human brains?