“Run!” screeches a girl, dressed in all black except for a bright orange bandana wrapped around her arm and a belt of orange Nerf foam bullets slung over her shoulder.
She and a friend bolt across the parking lot in front of Red Deer College’s main entrance.
They are some of the “humans.”
Following behind, with their orange bandanas wrapped around their necks, are the “zombies.”
The internationally-known campus game of Humans versus Zombies got underway at RDC on Thursday morning.
The event, marking its second year at RDC, is a game of moderated tag where human players attempt to survive a zombie outbreak.
The game was such a “huge hit” with the student body last year that Campus Recreation and Student Life decided to make it an annual occurrence, said Lee Wiebe, student life co-ordinator.
“The end of March and beginning of April is a bad time for students,” she added. “They’re stressed out about exams and finding summer jobs and it’s the time where their mental health starts to get a bit shaky.”
Humans versus Zombies is an engaging and entertaining way to chase those worries away.
The rules of the game are simple: one mystery student starts as the sole zombie and begins infecting humans by tagging them. Pretty soon, there’s an outbreak of the walking dead on campus.
Zombies wear their bandanas around their necks or heads while humans are identified by the bandanas on their arms or legs.
Devyn Dowe, 20, was tagged two hours into the game as he was exiting a designated safe zone.
“It’s something fun and social to do,” said Dowe, in his first semester for pre-med. “And it actually encouraged me to get to school early, believe it or not.”
While there’s no prizes, the benefits to the game come in handy, said Wiebe.
“Not only are the students de-stressing, but they’re also meeting new people,” she said. “Students from every neck of the woods come out for this so the trades and science students are interacting with the arts students and so forth. This is really the only event when they all come together.”
Humans can also stun zombies for 15 minutes by blasting them with a Nerf gun or other foam dart blaster or by hitting them with marshmallows and socks.
Kyle Soper, a 24-year-old zombie-student, waits for his stun time to be up outside the college rec room.
Soper played last year and “absolutely loves the game.”
He calls over fellow zombies Cody Hewitt and Amanda Park, both 19, and they take off to patrol the hallways, cheering, “Let’s find us some humans!”
The games runs until 10 p.m. on Saturday. Participants must spend Friday night in their designated camps — zombies sleeping in one gym and humans in the other.
By the end of the game last year, only seven humans remained, said Wiebe. About 100 RDC students and staff are expected to take part this year.
Humans versus Zombies started at Goucher College in Baltimore, Md., in 2005. Today it is played on campuses across the world, from Denmark to Namibia.