They looked to the left and right, then took a step forward, and checked their surroundings for danger before finally spotting the shine of a glowstick. The survivors, maybe 15 to 20 people, looked into the dark abyss breathing sighs of relief. Then, a bloodied man stepped into the threshold causing a startled person to shoot at him. He stopped momentarily, allowing everyone to disperse and to try to avoid being infected by the attacking ravenous zombies.
Well, maybe it wasn’t the zombie apocalypse, and maybe the guns were just Nerf guns, but the fear was still there.
Friday’s event, created and put on by the AMP’s Special Events Committee, headed by Jeffrey Bryan ‘12, was inspired by apocalyptic movies such as “Dawn of the Dead” and “28 Days Later.” This game was created to allow students of the College to see how they would fare in an apocalyptic world filled with zombies.
“The whole apocalyptic idea is in a lot of movies and video games and is a really popular theme right now,” Bryan said.
Bryan proposed the idea last year after he got the idea from one of his friends who attends Brown University. In the past, AMP has tried to host haunted houses and different Halloween events, but students found this to be the most exciting.
“This idea,” Bryan said, “Is something that actively engages you and is something that we have created and continued to hone down.”
Although similar events exist in Norfolk and other colleges, the AMP Special Events crew tried to present the idea in an organized, structured way to which students at the College could also relate.
“The idea was that there was a virus that escaped from a professor’s lab and caused these people to become zombies,” Davis Tierney ’15 said.
Throughout the course set up in Trinkle Hall, groups were responsible for finding hidden items in different places such as dark rooms with only one entrance or hallways and scare zones that were littered with the undead.
“The goal of the groups was to collect a series of items and escape before the complex was ‘bombed’ in order to destroy the zombies. Out of every group, only about three people made it to the end,” zombie nurse Taylor Renard ’15 said.
After retrieving the items, the groups had to be delivered back to the checkpoints, all without being tagged by zombies recruited by AMP to scare them. Zombies were recruited through a Facebook group where people interested could inquire and attend an interest meeting.
“There were three levels, the first of which involved slow zombies, the second fast zombies and the third super-human zombies,” Renard said.
Participants wore belts, like those worn for flag football, and in order to be killed the zombies had to tear the belt off. If a participant was ‘infected’ they had to leave the group, so the groups dwindled in size the further they advanced into the darkened corridors.
“Every 20 minutes, they’d send a new group through the game, and about a third would have Nerf guns to shoot the zombies,” Tierney said. “In theory, if you shot the zombie with the Nerf guns, you would stun them momentarily, but a lot of the zombies towards the end of the night just didn’t take hits anymore so you had to sprint.”
At the checkpoints, the items found were returned, and for those few sacred moments, groups were safe from terror. There were not any clues to lead groups to their next item, and often times Bryan, or the zombies themselves, had to help point lost or confused groups in the right direction. Because of fire hazards, AMP members could not create a clear path, and groups had to wander around searching for the items, often surrounded by glowsticks or by hordes of infected zombies.
“This year it was organized much better and went much more smoothly. We had more things to do, we had more volunteers and we had enough materials for the groups,” Bryan said.
Interested groups signed up for a particular time slot and received a wristband so they could wait elsewhere or participate in the AMP carnival at the Campus Center and come back when it was their turn. Those who waited at the Campus Center could take part in trick-or-treating and other games provided by AMP where they could receive extra ammo, Nerf guns or extra lives to help them escape the zombie apocalypse.
“It was really fun overall, if you were bored on a spooky Friday night and wanted to kill a few hours in a cool way,” Tierney said.