Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Spartans vs. Zombies; MSU students taking on fake zombie invasion

April 18, 2018
<p>Doctoral student Ming Lei smiles while a team approaches during the Spartans vs. Zombies game on April 16, 2018 near the MSU library. Spartans vs. Zombies is a week long campus wide game of tag where students arm themselves with foam dart blasters, cleans socks and bandannas to avoid being tagged by zombies.</p>

Doctoral student Ming Lei smiles while a team approaches during the Spartans vs. Zombies game on April 16, 2018 near the MSU library. Spartans vs. Zombies is a week long campus wide game of tag where students arm themselves with foam dart blasters, cleans socks and bandannas to avoid being tagged by zombies.

Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

MSU’s own version of “Night of the Living Dead” takes place this week as students on campus rally to fight a zombie invasion — or rather, a harmless version of one. 

According to the Spartans vs. Zombies informational website, “SVZ is a giant game of tag that takes over the MSU campus for one week.” The game, more widely known as Humans vs. Zombies, is played on several college campuses, but MSU’s version of it will take place specifically during the week of April 16 to April 21.

Participants who wish to play as human “Spartans” tie orange bandannas around their arms and equip themselves with foam dart guns. The goal of the game is to not be tagged by a player acting as a “zombie.” Zombies can be identified by the orange bandannas tied around their foreheads. 

The game is relatively simple, comparative culture and politics senior Meghan Petipren said. Petipren, one of the event’s administrators, said from 7- 8 p.m. each day of the week, players can complete missions that have them traveling from place to place on campus. 

“These missions revolve around the story and revolve around campus by either going to different places, trying to protect different things,” Petipren said. “During those missions, there’s a story that goes along with it that is pretty much the humans either trying to turn everyone back into humans or the zombies trying to turn everyone back into zombies by either finding or destroying the quote unquote ‘cure.’”

Those missions include players protecting popular, well-known places on campus from zombies.

“Before, we’ve had them protect Beaumont (Tower),” Petipren said. “Sometimes we’ll have them just go on scavenger hunts around campus and just run around and have a great time.”

Zoology senior Katelyn Gutwein, also an administrator for the event, talked about how she first learned about a version of the game from her sister. Since her freshman year at MSU, Gutwein has participated in the game. 

“There were actually two games that year, so I played in the fall then,” Gutwein said. “Most of the time it’s just spring because it takes a lot of resources to run the game twice a year.”

Gutwein recalled one of her favorite moments in all four years she’s played the game. 

“Probably being part of a horde and going to a giant showdown,” Gutwein said. “Two years ago there was one in South Neighborhood. That was a lot of fun.”

Petipren explained how players are able to communicate with each other, despite being spread out in different locations around MSU’s campus.

“So, for the humans and zombies, we usually use this walkie-talkie system called Zello on their phones,” Petripren said. “It’s just like a push-to-talk walkie-talkie and it records different things and it’s honestly one of the most helpful things.”

Like Gutwein, genomics and molecular genetics senior Graham Wellens first heard about the game from a friend during his freshman year at MSU.

“They told me to check it out,” Wellens said. “I figured, ‘Why not? It’s zombies, zombies are kind of fun.'”

Wellens said the event has enabled him to find friends within a group of people who all enjoy participating, like him. 

“I found this wonderful community,” Wellens said. “Full of people who, year-in and year-out, do the same activity and have a generally good time with it.”

When asked about what he’d say to those interested in participating in the game, Wellens said to go for it. 

“Feel free to check us out,” Wellens said. “It may be a little intimidating when you first start out, but just get a group of friends to walk around, get a feel for it, and you can determine if you’d want to stay with it or not.”

For participants, old or new to the game, Petipren had some advice.

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“Try and hang onto your brains and stay vigilant,” she said. “That’s about it.”

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