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(Left: James Wilson; the original zombie, right: Patrick Morrow and Victoria Baldwin; humans on the run)(Images by Jamie Kennedy)

The main reason I ended up at Sydney University is because of the amazing student life. Sydney has many crazy events to attend, and my favourite this year has to be the Humans versus Zombies Nerf war that was played on 6 October, as part of the Verge festival.

All 100 tickets sold out in less than an hour, so I had great expectations of the event. Essentially it is a giant game of tag played with Nerf guns (toy guns that shoot foam darts). All players start as humans, use Nerf guns and wear orange arms bands, except one the Original Zombie who tags humans and turns them into zombies. When the game started, it was like I entered another world, the campus became a warzone, eastern avenue was no longer a place to mill about, but rather a no-mans land. My team, which consisted of four others, decided we would be a roving team. Other chose to set up bases and forts, but we decided to take part in the many missions within the game (like attempting to retrieve food and ammo drops). We survived for over four hours, far beyond the 20 minutes I had expected I would.

There were two standout moments for me in the game. My team and I had encountered a horde of over 30 zombies around eastern avenue and so we decided to make our way to the opposite end of the campus, to the end of manning road and find a place to rest for a while. However, we came across a huge group of humans and saw a horde of zombies sprinting towards them, we turned and ran in the opposite direction. Two from our group were tagged and we ran as fast as we could with our guns and bags and hid under the bridge across city road. We were exhausted. We refilled the ammo in our guns, had some water and caught our breath. Next thing we knew, there was another pack of zombies chasing us, so we sprinted along the road behind Carslaw and New Law and came through to a courtyard between the two buildings. One of our teammates managed to make a run for it, but Doug and I were very much cornered. Zombies came from the stairs on our left and right. We had little choice but to open fire on over 30 zombies. There was only so long to fend them off. We stunned a few zombies, but it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened. We were each tagged.

The second standout moment was as a zombie on my first hunt. I was walking down manning road in the pitch black and I saw a shadow move at the top of the fire stairs outside the Woolley Building. We had found the team of humans that were dressed as Russians! They had chosen a fort that they could defend quite easily. Because the zombies had to run up stairs to get to the humans, they were easy targets and could be stunned quickly. We called for the horde and we had a mobile spawn point set up. Live zombies ran up the stairs on the left, and stunned zombies came back down on the right and touched the mobile respawn point so they could continue the train. Someone started chanting “ONE OF US” and soon it became our war cry. We continued in our very organised attack for about 10 minutes until we had tagged all the remaining humans.

The game has changed the way I see the University, instead of trying to find classes, I’m finding good hiding spots. My legs hurt for the next four days. But I will most definitely jump at the chance to be apart of the next Humans Versus Zombies event! A big thanks must go to the Union, James Colley, Lauren Eisinger, (Verge Festival directors) David Harmon, Simon Kraegen and Jordan Raskopoulos (Game designers).

Want to know more? Check out the HVZ website or the hundreds of photos taken on the day!

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