A Brief History of Marquette Zombie/Human Interaction
Kelly Korek, a junior in the College of Education, started off to class like any other Monday. It was a picturesque October scene, but she couldn’t help but feel she was being watched, until she turned and saw her worst fear – a zombie on the hunt. Korek took part in what is quickly becoming a Marquette legend, “Humans vs. Zombies,” the ultimate game of tag set to start its third annual apocalypse next week. Interested participants should attend the final mandatory information session, Tuesday at 8 p.m.The past three years have shown the game to be part Nerf war, part tag and part “World War Z.”It begins the same way every time. All participants start as human except for Patient Zero – the original zombie. He or she will then try to tag as many humans as possible to add numbers to the ranks of undead, identified by bandanas worn around their heads rather than on the body like their living counterparts.
Humans are able to defend themselves by shooting with Nerf guns or throwing socks at their attackers. They also need to survive at least three nightly “missions,” special human-zombie showdowns, to keep their human status.Though humans cannot be tagged inside buildings or on Wisconsin Avenue, the rest of the campus is free game, usually ending in sprinting and commotion between classes as wild, bandanaed clans chase dwindling numbers of Nerf-wielding passersby.
As the game progresses and the number of zombies increases exponentially, it becomes increasingly tricky to stay human. Fortunately, survivors of past games have pooled their experience and research to create a survival guide, which might help you to end the week alive.
Rule #1. Always be alert, even early in the morning
Constantly staying aware of your surroundings and scouting the campus for threats is critical to surviving the zombie apocalypse. Korek learned this the hard way last year. Armed with balled-up socks and a loaded Nerf gun, she fell victim to Patient Zero on the first day of the game. She was a human for just 15 minutes.
“I (was) walking to Schroeder, so I had to actually go into the quad because you can’t get tagged on the street,” she said. “Apparently the Patient Zero decided that Joan of Arc was gonna be a good place for him to chill out last year because all of a sudden, I hear these really fast footsteps behind me. Before I know it, I’m getting tagged and he’s yelling, ‘I got you!’ as he’s then shooting down the way. I was probably one of the first 10 zombies because the game started at maybe 7:30 and on my way to my 8 a.m., I was a zombie.”
Rule #2. The road less travelled=The road less deadly
On the surface, Humans vs. Zombies may be just a game of tag, but it’s also a game of wits. The game tests your ability to outsmart your opponents and tests your stealth capabilities. It involves knowing the campus inside and out to plan for the best escape route between classes.
“(Humans vs. Zombies) is also a really great way to learn more about the campus,” said Jenny Vondrashek, a junior in the College of Nursing. “Use back roads, back paths and back doors. For example, if you’re going to Lalumiere, instead of trying to go across campus through the middle of Central Mall, use the back roads and back doors into (buildings). Not only does it give you short amount of distance to try to sprint to the door, but generally people don’t have that much time to try to get people that are going to class back ways.”
Rule #3. Never underestimate the power of the Nerf
Nerf guns are more than just toys for little kids. When properly used, they become zombie-stunning machines. Taylor Huppert, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, credits her 12-round, semi-automatic Nerf gun (the highest in Nerf-centric technology) for staying human through almost the entire game.
“I bought (my Nerf gun) especially for HvZ. My favorite memory is, I had a dress on one day and I had to get to class and there were zombies in bewteen the sidewalk and Lalumiere. I remember running in a sun dress and getting all the zombies in a dress. I felt so badass.”
Rule #4. RUN!
When ammunition fails, your legs become your next best weapon, so keep working that cardio at the Rec Center. For Francis Landoy, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, staying in shape saved him from zombie attacks on several occasions last year.
“One crazy experience I had was during a mission,” Landoy said. “My group somehow made it to the side by the library and had to run back to Lalumiere through Central Mall. I remember screaming, ‘Run!’ and we all just bolted through the middle of the field and zombies came from the sides. We all just ran and people were tripping and falling, but we all made it somehow.”
Rule #5. Professors make good allies
Who says teachers don’t appreciate the joy of friendly apocalyptic competition? If you ask them to accommodate your fear of being tagged, they may just cooperate, as Huppert and a fellow human found out last year.
“We were in English class and we talked to our professor before class and said, ‘Okay, we’re playing Humans vs. Zombies. Can we leave class like ten minutes early?’ She said, ‘Yes, that’s so cool. Of course.’ So we left class 10 minutes early and high-tailed it out to Wisconsin Avenue and walked all the way around to the back of Lalumiere. The professor was super into it, like, “Yeah, leave class ten minutes early so you don’t get caught by the zombies!”
Rule #6. Zombies are people too (sort of)
If all else fails and a zombie tags you, embrace your new undead identity. You may not be able to join the end of the week celebration for surviving humans, but you get to have fun all throughout the week by chasing people and scaring them.
“I honestly wanna be a zombie (this year) anyways because it was way more fun, just watching everyone,” Korek said. “You don’t have to worry. (If you are a) human walking from class to class, you are constantly terrified. But as a zombie you can just walk wherever and be like, “Yeah, I’m just going to be here because I can and I’m not going to get killed.”
Best of luck on your mission. Remember, the fate of Marquette survival is in your hands. Keep sharp and beware the orange bandana.