Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 will live as a day of reckoning for students at CSU.
Sometime around midnight on that day earlier this week, the nightmare that is the zombie Apocalypse spawned itself among the population of the more than 1,000 Humans vs. Zombies at CSU organization members.
At first, it started slow. Only one human, freshman business major Tyler Goodspeed, caught the virus, which HVZ at CSU called the H1Z1 supervirus.
However, the number of zombies grew quickly as Goodspeed infected more than 15 humans by the end of day one, just a small fraction of the 142 members of the zombie group, the Horde.
Those zombified ran rampant even through high-ranking officials of the HVZ student organization, including President Sam Lewis, who said he was ambushed Monday afternoon by a small group of zombies.
But, though the zombie population has grown exponentially since the first infection, 287 by the end of day two and 366 by the end of day three, the human Resistance still outnumbered the Horde nearly two to one.
And with such large populations of both groups trolling campus throughout the day, especially at night, chaos has ensued.
Especially during the afternoon passing hours, the Lory Student Center Plaza turns into a war zone of bandana-wearing zombies chasing Nerf-gun-yielding humans.
During outside travel and missions — small intra-game challenges — the true colors of each group stands out. Zombies stand side-by-side, thirsting for what they yell for: “Brains!”
The Resistance, too, relies on their fellow man, often trekking from class to class with no less than one other human in order to protect the common goal: survival.
A band of brothers
The camaraderie seen throughout the participants of Humans versus Zombies, which is essentially a large-scale game of tag, promotes one of the student organization’s goals.
“One of (the group’s) goals is to promote kinship,” Lewis said Sunday night.
“Finally you have a way to relate to people (you wouldn’t have before),” he added later. “Who can say they got to fight in a zombie war?”
As a moderator for the game, Lewis has witnessed the power of the mob/team mentality. In one instance, a fellow moderator and he set up an ambush of a group of humans near Eddy Hall.
Lewis said there’s nothing like “watching 50 zombies swarm out of nowhere to get three survivors.”
Though, “for humans especially, it’s important to have a team,” Lewis said he’s seen a puzzling situation throughout the game wherein zombies are working together better than humans.
However, Goodspeed and fellow zombie Nick Maydew, a sophomore criminology major, disagreed, saying that they’ve seen more groupings of the Resistance.
One such group, Team Apocalypto, have banded together since before the beginning of the game.
The three-man group, consisting of junior mechanical engineers Matt Zevenbergen and Scott Lobermeier and junior environmental engineer Zachariah Seiden, has traveled to and fro all week through campus — all except early Tuesday, when Seiden was left to travel alone.
During the early hours of day two, Seiden was tagged and transformed into a zombie. With one-third of their group gone, the future for Team Apocalypto looked dim.
“A tri-pod can’t stand on two legs,” Zevenbergen said.
But through a stroke of luck, the triumvirate was not split up. A technical error, wherein the zombie attacker did not report his infection in the proper time given, gave Seiden new life.
Though Seiden’s situation is unique — and legal — to the game, Lewis said some poor sports have been reluctant to become zombies despite being fairly tagged.
“While I sympathize with (not wanting to become a zombie), I think it’s complete bulls**t,” Lewis said.
Lewis said he believes participants should be on the honor code and play the game true, saying “if a group loses a member, I hope they’re inspired to keep playing.”
However, he said he could understand the paranoia and fear humans have after losing a teammate.
“(Losing a teammate) strengthens the feel of desperation,” he said. “It’s one more person who knows who you are, one more person who knows your routine.”
Goodspeed and Maydew agreed, saying it’s “much more relaxing” to be a zombie.
‘I call humans lunch’
The cohesiveness of both units of participants can be seen prominently in individual’s actions. A head nod here, a fist bump there, it’s visible that these groups of what would have been strangers have a college synergy among them.
Even Lewis, a resident on campus, went to dinner Monday alone and ended up sitting with a group of zombie “strangers.”
The president of the more than 1,000-person HVZ at CSU organization said the game has put a lot of random people together, including “loads of cute girls.”
But with two opposing sides vying for a win, animosity fills the air — or what Lewis calls friendly competition.
“There’s definitely a schism there,” Lewis said.
A sympathizer of the Horde, even calling “humans lunch,” Lewis said it’s more advantageous to be a zombie.
“You become infinitely more powerful as a zombie,” he said.
“You can’t fake being a zombie,” he said.
However, the human Team Apocalypto finds the story to be different, even going as far as to abandon their fallen teammate if needed.
In an interview with the group, Lobermeier turned to his nearly fallen comrade and told him if he were a zombie they’d show no mercy, and he would “shoot him every 15 minutes if he had to.”
Seiden, who pleaded he wouldn’t infect his friends if he were a member of the Horde, returned the sentiment with a loud expletive.
Though a friendly game, Lewis has uncovered some testy personalities on each side, but even after being tagged, he used his anger to motivate himself as a zombie.
“Anger is another word for motivation in this case,” he said.
Lewis said he hopes that the rest of the game, which ends Saturday morning at midnight, will go by smoothly, reminding his fellow moderators in a meeting Sunday night in an after-school special way, “The game isn’t about surviving, it’s about having fun.”