Humans vs Zombies is serious fun and games

I still hear the screams, the clash of feet from pursuing zombies and the persistant will of humans who struggle to survive.  A zombie apocalypse has come and gone at Mizzou.  Few humans remain after the onslaught of zombies who spread their virus.  A dwindling measure of hope still exists.  This is the never-ending fight between the living and the dead during Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ).

By now, most people have seen a show or movie about zombies.   Can you picture yourself taking down the undead?  For six days you can live in that moment as zombies invade MU’s campus.  Wield your nerf gun through campus and look for zombies as they hunt you down, too.  Many people live in constant fear that from class to class zombies will attack them.  The only things that stand between you and the undead are your fellow humans, a nerf gun and socks.

Humans vs. Zombies has been held four years at MU.  The game has grown very popular at universities over the years.  The concept started in 2005 at Goucher College and is played at more than 650 colleges according to

“It brings a lot of good fun,” said Joe Rexwinkle, vice president of the HvZ team.

Rexwinkle has been involved with HvZ at MU since the first game.  At first it was just a group, but it has grown into an official organization, with a game each semester.  The highest numbers participating in HvZ have been about 650 people in one game.

“HvZ is a happy-go-lucky, fun game,” Gabe Boessen, first year moderator said.

In reality, HvZ is an intense game of tag.  The humans wear a bandana around their arm and zombies wear one on their head.  Zombies must tag a human to turn them into a zombie, while Humans use darts and socks to stun a zombie, which lasts 10 minutes.  Zombies have to tag (or feed on) a human every so often for a certain amount of time or they starve.  Human goals are to survive until all zombies starve and Zombies try to tag all humans and turn them into zombies.  People turned into zombies have to hand over an identification card and it is all kept track online.

People can form squads.  You can make a team with your friends or join others.  It is a kinship to fight off the zombie horde.  Each person brings something different to the battle.  Some people are fast run-and-gun type people, while others can be slow and sneaky.

“There is paranoia when you are watching out for people,” Rexwinkle said.

Also there are missions to perform that bring together a giant group of humans and zombies.  For instance, humans might have to get items, hold a place, or complete puzzles and riddles to solve and rescue missions.

There are moderators who make this all possible.  They work long before each game to plan and make each game even better   Each year these jobs are passed on to the next generation of students.

All kinds of people play HvZ.  There are people from every branch of the campus.  All with the same attitude: survive.  Everybody gets in on the fun.

“We’re people too,” Rexwinkle said.

They’re not just crazy people running around, instead they are students having fun.

One of the best things HvZ does is bring people together.  It is a great opportunity to make friends, because teamwork is a major factor in the game.

“It gives us the chance to have a blast, and I look forward to it each semester, “ Boessen said.

You will have many stories to tell after you participate.  Rexwinkle talked about a story that happened in the first game, which became known as the ‘Mark Twain Massacre’.  The moderators got mad at the humans.  For a mission they told them to go to Mark Twain without any details.  However, many zombies were waiting for them.  It turned into chaos trying to get away.  Rexwinkle and others became stranded in a balcony surrounded by zombies.  They were able to hold out for a half hour.  They went out guns blazing to make a stand, but eventually, they all got taken down.

Then Boessen recalls how he and his friends formed a squad, but he became a zombie and tried to pick out his friends one by one.  Students in HvZ do get pretty intense.  Boessen wears pads on his knees and elbows to go the extra mile when jumping to get tags.

For more information on HvZ, visit the Mizzou Humans vs Zombies website.

Josh Booth

About the Author Josh Booth

I am Josh Booth from Cainsville, Mo. I am a freshman and a science and agricultural journalism major. I want to emphasize photojournalism and pursue a minor in history. Agriculture has always been a part of my life, and I wish to continue with it. I want to tell the story of the people living the agricultural life, and address the misconceptions that many have about agriculture. In addition to my interest in photography, I really enjoy learning about history. The more you learn about the past, the better you can make the future.