Live at Waterloo: Humans vs. Zombies

Students playing Humans versus Zombies on campus.

Zombie apocalypse returns to uWaterloo

uWaterloo recently survived a zombie apocalypse, a now familiar event on campus. The dead were raised once again by Brook Jensen, a fourth-year computer science student who was the “Necromancer”/Head Coordinator of Humans versus Zombies (HvZ) this term. Once a term, students wield Nerf Guns and socks in defense against the zombie hordes in the campus-wide game that lasts 24 hours a day for 5 days, but planning starts much earlier in the term.

Coordinating the game of 720 players included planning fair and balanced missions and objectives throughout the week to encourage participants to play and engage in the game. Brook said that running HvZ has become an exercise in competitive game design, with Brook and his team constantly trying to improve the game in every aspect.

On what makes HvZ so popular, Brook said, “It’s fun. This game can easily get you emotionally invested in your own survival, and if you know other people playing you can get some really fun social dynamics going.” Brook was also one of the students to originally push for The Waterloo Science Fiction and Fantasy Club (WatSFIC) to take the charge of the game in Fall 2011, and he has been involved in running the game since Spring 2012.

“Not knowing who to trust and constantly being worried that a now-zombified friend will ambush you out of class can be terrifying, but ultimately exhilarating,” Brook said about HvZ. Brook has enjoyed his role as Necromancer, but he is ready to let someone else take the lead and rejoin the fight for survival in the next zombie outbreak.

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