While the cold and grey weather this past week might not have been perfect for most people, it helped set the ideal stage for the second annual Humans vs. Zombies game at Castleton hosted by the Residence Hall Association.
More than 80 participants signed up for this semester’s round of the Nerf gun tag game and despite varying weather conditions throughout the week and the end of the year workload, many players were out daily running from safe zone to safe zone across campus and firing off foam bullets at one another.
Josh Budzinski who participated in last semester’s game was among the first to sign up for the new round and has been following the game extensively since it began.
“I was disappointed about the number of people that signed up compared to last semester, but the turnout was still good and everyone had a lot of fun,” said Budzinski who had managed to remain “uninfected” until the last day of the game. “I was helping a buddy out. We were surrounded by five of them and I tried to cut around the library when I got taken out. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Residence Life Director Maddie Hope also talked about the decline in participants from the first event.
“We definitely have a lot less people playing this time for various reasons,” said Hope, who blamed the weather and school work for the drop. “But because it’s a smaller game it means that people have to interact more and work with people they normally wouldn’t.”
Throughout the week, emails were sent out to inform the student population who among the participants had managed to become “zombified” with the list of names steadily increasing each day.
David Ievoli was the first chosen zombie player for the game and took full advantage of being able to not wear a yellow headband the first day signifying his status as infected. Some of his first victims included students Justin Happel, another veteran player from last semester and Justin Derosier.
“He tagged me out just by bumping into me casually when he was walking by,” said Happel. “I had no clue! He turned around and said ‘Welcome to the undead.'”
“I was ambushed. He had been waiting behind a building while some other zombies had run out to get me there” said Derosier, who had to be taken to the hospital on Wednesday after taking a fall from playing. “I was chasing some humans by the library and tried to duck and roll off the wall and dislocated my knee.”
Despite his injury, Derosier was there on Friday afternoon during the final battle event to show his support for the game. In a similar fashion to last time, human players were required to reach a series of antidote stations hidden across the area and return to the Fine Arts Center before being tagged. With roughly 20 players on each team at the start, only four were able to prevail and overcome the hoard in the end.
Ben Villa was one of the final four to survive the zombacalypse.
“It feels good to come out on top,” said Villa. “It was such a different mindset from last time too. We spent the whole time defending the Fine Arts Center then, but this time the infection got in. We couldn’t trust ourselves and had to work with a lot of other people to survive.”
This semester’s game also marked the start of faculty and staff being able to participate in playing the game as well.
Among the players were organic chemistry and science Professor Livia Vastag and Media Services technician Sarah Backus, who remained human until Thursday.
“My boss had called and told Lou (Louis Riquelme) when I was out and where I was going and he got me. She felt so bad the rest of the week!” said Backus. “Being a zombie is more fun anyways. I got two kills in like a 15-minute window!”
A response meeting is scheduled to be held sometime next week to gain input from players and the campus community to plan the next game in the fall.