By Emily Green

Zombies, although not literally, have been sweeping the nation, with movies like Zombieland and television shows like The Walking Dead. With the zombie fever heating up, a new game Humans v Zombies, or HvZ as the players call, has emerged across the world at over 650 colleges and universities.

HvZ is essentially a game of tag. All of the players start the game as humans and one player is randomly chosen to be the original zombie. This original zombie then has to tag the human players and turn them into zombies. The game is won when either the zombies have turned all the human players into zombies or when the humans survive long enough for all the zombies to starve, which is when a zombie does not tag a human within forty-eight hours.

“There really isn’t anything more appealing then running around a beautiful campus like MSU’s, shooting NERF guns at other people. It just sounded like so much fun,” humanities pre-law sophomore Ben Burroughs said when speaking of why he decided to be a part of the HvZ game.

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A few of the basic things to know about HvZ are that humans must wear a bandana around their arm to identify themselves as humans in the game. When the players are turned into zombies, they must transfer the bandana to their heads.  Players are turned into zombies by getting tagged by an existing zombie in the game; after they are tagged they have now become an official member of the zombie team. The human players of the game are the ones who are waking around with the NERF guns.  They have these guns so they can stun the zombies for fifteen minutes by blasting them with the dart guns. This means that the zombies cannot interact in the game in anyway until those fifteen minutes are up.

With the undead roaming the streets of MSU’s campus, the humans are on the lookout, NERF guns held high in anticipation for a zombie attack. The HvZ game has really taken off and many students have joined in on the fun.

“I absolutely enjoy playing it, and I will most likely play until I graduate. It makes going to class and hanging out on campus a thousand times more fun,” said Burroughs.

HvZ has become very popular on campus. When the game is going on you can count on seeing a multitude of students running around campus wearing their bandanas with pride.

“My favorite part would have to be the thrill of walking to class, looking over your shoulder every few steps, feeling completely paranoid that a zombie could jump out at you any second, and then the rush when you survive an attack is amazing,” said Burroughs.

HvZ has made such a huge impact on the students and the culture at Michigan State that even the staff at MSU realizes how popular this zombie epidemic is by offering a zombie-themed class in the Social Work Department, entitled “Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse: Catastrophes & Human Behavior.” Along with classes about zombies there are many other activities and projects on campus that are incorporating zombies into them.

One of these projects would include the student film titled Apocalypse Theory, which is about the end of the world at MSU. This film was made by brothers and MSU students Brandon and Cameron Laventure. Together they decided to incorporate a scene with students playing HvZ into it.

“[HvZ] is a really interesting bit of culture we have at MSU. It gives campus its own unique life. Even if you are not a part of the game you are aware of the game and experience a part of it [just] by watching it,” said Brandon, who graduated from MSU in 2010.

The two brothers thought that including this scene in the film would bring a more personal feel to the film and be more relatable to the students, since this game is actually played here on our campus.

This craze has gone beyond being just for the students here at MSU; Troy Hale has recognized how popular zombies are in our culture and the entertainment industry right now and has decided to make a documentary film on the topic.

“Like anything, [zombies are] the current fad. A few years ago it was all about vampires, now its zombies.  Entertainment follows what people are currently interested in and vice-versa. Many shows are being made right now. The popularity and success of those shows create even more shows,” said Academic Specialist and Big Ten Network Coordinator Troy Hale.

Hale does not seem to think that this zombie mania will last long saying like everything, it has its life cycle. Something “new” will come along and interests will change. It will lose popularity and probably come back again in 50 years.

“It’s an interesting topic. People have a lot of interest in the topic so it’s the right time to make a documentary about it. Kevin Epling and I started to chat about all the interesting things going on around the topic of zombies. It’s an exciting thing to talk about so we started compiling interesting angles that we could cover in a documentary,” said Hale.

We see can see through the entertainment industry and the games that we play that zombies have truly taken over the world for the moment in a matter of speaking. Besides for HvZ being a part of the zombie craze right now, it is also a game of fun and excitement. It is a nice break for the students involved and even for those students who are just spectators between classes to take a small pause from constantly thinking about school work and focus on the game.

“Yes I would recommend the game to other students; it’s the novelty of embracing a childhood toy, combined with the fun and skills of being a college student. Not to mention the more people that play, the better,” said Burroughs.

With players as excited as this to share the game with as many students as possible makes it easier to see why this game is becoming so popular and many more students keep joining every year.

If you want to learn even more about HvZ, the official website is where you can find a more in-depth account of all the rules, as well as interesting facts and information about the game, including how the game was invented.


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