Dartmouth Debates Humans vs. Zombies

Screencap from HumansVsZombies.org

Back in my day, we just played Assassin and shot each other in the nuts with BB guns, talked about firing propane cannons filled with flour bombs at each others’ houses — and then proceeded to blow ourselves up.

I’m talking Junior College, mind you. Once I went away to Big Kids’ College, we were all too busy growing beards, writing bad anti-colonialist goth poetry, and plotting the downfall of Union Carbide, man, to have taken a Nerf gun to the zombies if they had showed up; those rotten bastards could have waltzed right in to the Porter Dining Hall and made a meal of our mildly left-of-center asses.

But those wacky kids on college campuses today, apparently, have been playing Humans vs. Zombies since at least 2005. Now Dartmouth is busily debating the very issue of whether Ugg-clad 20-year-olds shooting zombies with Nerf rocket launchers and smacking them in the face with socks filled with marshmallows might bring on a real zombie apocalypse.

Said debate occurs as the living of Dartmouth fight a brave struggle for the future of the human race against the invading contagion, blah blah blah. The game runs from January 11 to January 16, and Rachel Carter of campus paper The Dartmouth reports that, like the real struggle against world zombie domination, the game grows from one generation’s dreams for the future:

Moderators said they hope Humans vs. Zombies will someday join the ranks of the campus snowball fight and Polar Bear Swim as a highly anticipated annual tradition.

Prior controversies have led some officials on other campuses to ban Nerf guns. Players responded by inventing the “zombie blackjack” — a sock filled with marshmallows.

Does that mean that such games on safety-minded campuses have descended into nothing more than ultra-safe pillow fights? Hell, no! Look, I don’t know about you, but if I painted my face with stage gore and lurched around screaming “Brains!” every time I had a pillow fight, I’d never get anything done.

To elaborate, Carter in The Dartmouth describes the game thusly:

A cross between tag and Assassins, the interactive game — which was launched Jan. 11 and will continue through Jan. 16 at noon — pits students against each other as they enact a war between humans fighting for survival and zombies trying to eat their brains. Although Humans vs. Zombies draws on the competitive spirit of popular Dartmouth traditions like snowball fights on the Green, the game’s premise — a zombie-induced apocalypse on earth — makes for a singularly wacky recreational experience.

Student moderators said they were initially concerned that fears about safety and disruption of campus life would stop the game. To ensure the safety and appropriateness of the game, students began the organization process last term. Moderators worked diligently with a large group of administrators to ensure that students who chose not to partake in Humans vs. Zombies would not be inconvenienced by the game.

The Dartmouth community seems to have reacted positively to Humans vs. Zombies’ new presence on campus — a few professors have even asked if they could join the game, according to student organizers.

…Just like the real zombie apocalypse, I might add. Zombification knows no generational bounds! That Associate Professor who just greenlit your thesis project even though she knows your underlying premise is pedagogically corrupt? Drop your guard for one instant and she could be enjoying a big heaping handful of your undergraduate cerebellum!

Creative Commons image by Princess Froglips.

It really kinda puts your undergraduate studies in perspective, doesn’t it?

But wait, what about the claim that playing Humans vs. Zombies will ensure male players never get laid, or as one comedy duo at Ball State University put it, Humans vs. Zombies is the “anti-cologne”? What about the dangerous risk of your post-game love life being hindered by crotch shots with melee weapons? Well, a human-zombie crotch shot is just plain mean; everybody knows you gotta smack zombies in the head to bring ’em down.

And as for a zombie-human crotch shot? C’mon. What could be a more appropriate social icebreaker for the era of the End Times?

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