Tech Pairs With HvZ To Break World Records

Zombie: the body of a dead person given the resemblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose. (Dictionary.com)

Rob Weiner, an Associate Humanities Librarian for Texas Tech, said over the past few years zombies have become prominent in our day to day lives whether people realize it or not.

“In terms of why they’re popular, I’m mystified,” said Weiner. “I really don’t know the answer. Since 9/11, the popularity of it all with zombie movies, zombie culture, zombie collections of literature, video games has gone up, like, 600 percent. I’m pulling that figure out of my head. I don’t know if that’s the exact figure, but it’s huge.”

Weiner said he teaches an honors class about zombie culture and many students (even non-honors students) have begged him to let them register for his seminar.

Even though zombies are perceived in a negative connotation through movies, television, books (the list goes on), Weiner argues that zombies are good for one’s brain, even though zombies are typically foreseen as ones who eat them.

Weiner explained that when a zombie bites someone, the person who was bitten instantly becomes a zombie as well. Weiner said this is equivalent to someone following the crowd, even if what that person is deciding to do is negative.

“Zombies can teach us to think critically. A zombie wants to make you one of them,” he said. “Becoming a zombie is not really something you would really want to do. But, being a zombie is following the crowd. On the other hand, I think one of the reasons is anyone can become a zombie. Zombies are all inclusive, everyone regardless of race, gender, tall, short, whatever, anyone can become one they just have to get bit.”

So with zombies being so popular and seeing that they can be thought of in a positive connotation, it is no surprise to see that another movement is gaining recognition: Humans v. Zombies (HvZ). It is a campus-wide game that has made a huge movement throughout the world, according to humans v. zombies.org.

Meredith Crider, a sophomore and HvZ moderator, said the average amount of players that sign up for the week long game at Tech average between 600-650 players.

When pondering over what she would consider her favorite part about HvZ, Crider smiled.

“Personally my favorite part is HvZ is a really inviting game,” she said. “Whoever you are you can come play HvZ and chances are you’ll make a couple of friends along the way. My favorite thing about HvZ is the community.”

In fact, Crider said HvZ’s community is so inviting, that it made her change her mind about transferring to another university. Crider said HvZ has made a huge impact on her life, and from what she has heard from other players is that they have gone through scenarios similar to Crider’s.

Matthew Soto, a junior and moderator of HvZ, said the game is already making an impact on incoming freshman as well.

“We’ve talked to a couple of people about this, especially Tech’s administration area,” said Soto. “There are actually a decent number of incoming freshmen that saw us playing the game when they toured the campus and they thought it was really cool. They directly wrote about it in their application.”

Even if current students and incoming freshman seem to be interested in HvZ, Texas Tech has not always been fully onboard with the organization’s game. Soto described the moderators having to jump through many hoops with the university, which contains a lot of stress and extra planning.

“We work really closely with the university and the police department in that when you say, ‘I want to hold a week long game with 600 people running around with guns,’ people get freaked out,” said Crider. “With the university we go through grounds use, we do a lot private meetings with Mike, who’s in charge of grounds use and security on campus.”

She said HvZ is always under extreme scrutiny. Crider said some professors on campus have even called police on their players.

But, Soto and Crider described future plans that they hope the university will approve. Needless to say, Texas Tech is working with HvZ to break world records, according to the two moderators.

“With the things that we’re trying to put together with the university coming up over the next few months, that’s going to boost our player base by a ridiculous amount,” said Soto. “If all of those things go as planned, then I would not be surprised to see a four figured number.”

With plans to make the popular game even more recognizable, Weiner said he believes HvZ is so popular because it’s fun and strategic.

“The thing that I think is good about this game, is that people are actually interacting with each other instead of texting,” said Weiner. “It’s face to face. We’re starting to get into a culture where people don’t talk to each other.”

He said this type of interaction is appealing because it’s a different kind of competition. Weiner said it’s in a completely different category compared to football or basketball, but people are still playing together in a fair way.

“You get to pretend to be a zombie hunter and you get to be a zombie,” he said. “How cool is that? Why not? I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s positive.”

About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

%d bloggers like this: