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February 3, 2013

Humans take on ‘zombies’ at Oklahoma State

STILLWATER, Okla. — While Oklahoma State University students are hard at work feeding their brains with knowledge, outside of the classroom, some students are hoping to feed on brains — figuratively, of course.

Since fall 2011, a game of campuswide tag between humans against “zombies” has occurred on campus.

Missions Administrator Bethany Fields said a former student organized the first game on campus. Her friend, Shane Frassato, now takes the reins this year as lead administrator.

Fields explains how the game works.

“A whole game typically lasts five full days,” she said. “It starts on a Tuesday morning and lasts until Sunday. Each day you have a day mission where you do something if you don’t have classes. And at the nighttime you would have your big heavy missions because people don’t have classes typically so that progresses the plot of the game.”

Throughout the missions, players aim to not only complete the missions, but “survive” being tagged by players designated as zombies. On the first day, at least one player is chosen as the original zombie, or OZ, with no other players knowing their identity. The numbers then grow from there. All players wear lime green bandanas. Zombies wear them on their forehead and humans wear them around their arms. The game helps to form bonds with strangers and groups. Fields remembers her and Frassato’s first time they heard of the game.

“We overheard some sorority girls talking about it and we were really curious about it,” she said. “We looked up online stuff about it and we both like to do crazy things.”

As days passed, they noticed flyers, too and decided to attend the meetings before they took part.

“Paranoia was out the roof because you would be standing at a crosswalk or walking to class and you’re always checking behind your shoulder,” Fields said.

Walking across campus from class to class was like “surviving the odds,” she said.

Fields was part of the first game, which involved hundreds of students.

“The first game about 700 signed up, but we saw about 500 play,” she said. “And the next two games that were made, we had about 500 sign up and about 300 to 400 people played.”

Now, in her new role, she hopes to make the game more exciting with Frassato and the other administrators, including plot administrator Rebekah Abrams, moderator Jacob Crowell and public relations administrator Brendan Smith.

“I really want to play but the last few games I feel like I haven’t been challenged and we saw that the need was there, so me and Shane, we talked about it,” Fields said.

Fields said she hopes the students will enjoy the time she and others have put into the game. Humans have the capability of defending themselves while on campus with the use of three weapons — a Nerf blaster with darts, a pair of socks rolled up and taped and their speed. If a zombie approaches and is tagged with the Nerf blaster darts or the pair of socks, it is considered to be stunned and cannot tag or follow the human player for 15 minutes. However, humorous mixups can sometimes occur, including mistaking other students for zombies, alarming them and then having to explain the game. Athletes, members of Greek life and all demographics of students take part. And it doesn’t cost much money, Fields said. She said even faculty, staff and non-students are invited to play. They must be 18 or older to play and sign up on the game’s website and attend a few meetings. For more information or to sign up for the game, which begins the first week of April, visit www.hvzsource.com.

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