Humans vs. Zombies battle it out at Tech

A player assigned human uses a Nerf blaster to stun a player assigned zombie. The campus wide event dates back to 2005. // Photo courtesy of Humans v Zombies at Georgia Tech

The largest game on Tech’s campus, Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ), took place from Sept. 18 to 23. According to Lorelei Linkel, the Head Admin of the game, “Humans vs. Zombies is a multi-day, campus-wide game of tag. [They] start on Wednesday morning and play through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., with a finale on Saturday. One group plays as Humans and the other as Zombies.” Linkel went on to explain the game’s goals, player roles and mechanics.

“The objective of a Human is to make it to and survive the finale, and the objective of the Zombies is to turn all of the Humans. If Zombies win, everyone wins. If a Human is tagged by a Zombie, they become a Zombie. Humans are allowed to stun Zombies for a designated period of time using admin-approved stunning implements, like rolled-up clean sock balls or Nerf blasters,” Linkel said. 

Some techniques are even employed to help with inspiring more competition among players. 

“To encourage faction interaction and gameplay, we also hold missions throughout the week. Humans must attend three missions to make it to the finale. We also have achievements, which players can collect through various challenges,” Linkel said. 

The first ever game of HvZ dates back to 2005, and the first official Tech game took place in fall of 2009 with 200 players.  Linkel elaborates, “our numbers peaked at about 600 players in Spring 2012 and have since gone back down. The most recent game was our 28th, and we ended up with around 50 active players. We would always love to have more though!”  

While the game comes with some safety risks, the team has taken the proper safety measures to ensure all players are safe. Players are made aware of the dangers of the game when they decide to join. Additionally, they are required to fill out a rules quiz and a waiver before they sign up.  

In spring 2018, the HvZ team spoke with the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) and Dean of Students to ensure safety precautions adhere to Institute policies. Players are allowed to use Nerf Blasters, which are checked for pain tolerance before they are registered. GTPD is aware of the rules and are updated
semesterly on any changes.  

Furthermore, they implemented a zoning system to indicate where gameplay is allowed. Areas outside on campus are generally “in-play.” Players are not allowed to play tag within buildings, but they are allowed
to interact with the game.  

In the future, they plan to develop a third zone, known as “slow play” or “caution” zones, which would be places like stairs and parking lots to caution players.  

Linkel’s general advice to future players is to, “drink lots of water, talk to the other players and enjoy yourself! Life only happens once, but HvZ happens every semester.”  

She also spoke about one of her favorite memories when playing the game. 

“As a joke for our players, we had one of our alumni come back as an unstunnable Zombie and sprint at them, stopping before actually tagging anyone. Needless to say, it was very funny. The players enjoyed it too after they stopped being so scared,” Linkel said.

There are many reasons students would play HvZ at Tech. It can be a great opportunity for players to destress, meet others with similar interests and simply explore campus. Linkel cites the game as one with
a strong community.  

“HvZ at Tech is a community and in my experience, an extremely supportive one. We certainly don’t have as large of a player base as we used to, but the players we do have are incredibly engaged and kind. The game week itself is really an opportunity for us to run around campus, hang out with our friends, and have fun,” Linkel said.

This was Linkel’s fifth semester with HvZ. She started as a zombie and has been an admin every semester since then. She explained how valuable her experience has been as the Head Administrator. 

“Working as an admin, too, has taught me a lot about managing a large event, properly scheduling my time and making calls under pressure. It’s a bit stressful at times and certainly gets tiring, but I love the community, and I love the game,” Linkel said. 

Humans vs. Zombies is an elaborate and enjoyable game played by many students on campus every semester. It is a fun way to meet people, making it an incredible and fruitful experience for Jackets.