Zombies, humans clash on campus

About 165 students have joined in the week-long, campus-wide game of tag.

First year Noah Jackson practices shooting his Nerf gun before the start of Humans vs. Zombies Monday night outside of Northrop Auditorium.

Anthony Kwan

First year Noah Jackson practices shooting his Nerf gun before the start of Humans vs. Zombies Monday night outside of Northrop Auditorium.

Raya Zimmerman

Eyes wide and clutching her weapon with tight fists, Amber Orcutt reluctantly agreed to step inside a campus building âÄî a safe zone for humans.
She said she saw a human fall prey to a zombie right in front of her, but she managed to escape.
âÄúIâÄôm terrified,âÄù she said. âÄúIt feels like life and death. I donâÄôt want to die.âÄù
OrcuttâÄôs story is similar to those of more than 100 other humans who dodged blood-thirsty âÄúzombiesâÄù at Monday nightâÄôs kickoff to the week-long on-campus game of Humans vs. Zombies tag.
Hosted by the Minnesota Association for Zombie Enthusiasts, the game began in the Northrop Mall area with six original zombies, or âÄúOZs,âÄù whose objective is to tag humans and turn them into zombies. Game rules require humans to wear a bright orange band around their arm and zombies to wear the band on their heads.
Humans vs. Zombies is a game of tag played on more than 200 college campuses worldwide, as well as military bases and high schools.
On Monday night, however, the zombies were disguised as humans, creating tension and paranoia among the ranks of âÄúunbittenâÄù students who sported tennis shoes and carried Nerf blasters âÄî the weapon used to stun zombies temporarily so the humans have a chance to flee.
John Madison, a freshman who brandished a large Nerf gun outside of Northrop Auditorium and still a human as of Monday night, said he didnâÄôt mind being âÄúreally, really paranoid for a week.âÄù
According to the rules, no breaks are allowed.
All players are required to register on the Humans vs. Zombies website. When zombies kill, they record their âÄúlast feeding timeâÄù by taking the ID number given to all players.
Within five seconds of the start of the game, a zombie abruptly tagged sophomore Winter Kucharski. She blamed her knee brace for the sudden âÄúbite.âÄù
âÄúI didnâÄôt think theyâÄôd attack the cripples,âÄù she complained.
Her spirits lifted, however, when she realized the advantage of her ACL injury.
âÄúIâÄôll be the unassuming slow girl,âÄù she said. âÄúIâÄôll be a real zombie just by the way I walk.âÄù
The game is played on the entire Twin Cities campus, although the insides of campus buildings are off limits, as are plant beds and bus stops. Participants are also prohibited from riding bikes.
Nicole and Michelle Riveros, twin sisters and seniors, were two OZs on Monday night.
Nobody would expect the âÄútwo tiny girlsâÄù to be zombies, they said. They said they plan to run between classes for the remainder of the week, searching for students who feel safe walking out of class.
If zombies are shot by a Nerf blaster, they are required to stand still for 10 minutes. Freshman Logan Sales idled in front of Northrop on Tuesday after a âÄústandoffâÄù with a human resulted in defeat for him.
He said prior to his temporary detainment, he tried to corner a human outside Tate Lab of Physics, but his prey escaped.
Last semester, no one stayed human, but anyone who manages to stay alive for the week wins bragging rights.
Minnesota Association for Zombie Enthusiasts Co-Chairman Patrick Hicks said he isnâÄôt afraid of real zombies, but he believes their existence is âÄúentirely possible.âÄù
He said the game attracts such a large crowd most notably because âÄúzombies are different than other movie monsters.
âÄúYou look at zombies, and thatâÄôs people coming to get you âÄî you might know some of them,âÄù he said. âÄúYou have to think about how you would react if all of a sudden someone you knew turned around and wanted to eat you.âÄù
As of press time, 129 players were still human.