Shrouded in darkness, heart beating, waiting—such is the life of a TCNJ zombie killer.
Last semester, members of TCNJ’s Manhunt Club valiantly fought off a Zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, only one human “winner” survived the battles with brains intact. One fearsome zombie, who ended the battle with the most human “kills,” did as well.
Manhunt, a game that combines tag and hide-and-seek and typically pits two teams against each other, often in the middle of the night, had prepared the team for the combat, said Maggy Hade, a senior history major and president of TCNJ’s Manhunt Club.
“‘Humans v. Zombies’ has been in the manhunt game-book since before I came to this school, at least five years ago,” said Hade. “…Our goals for this event are to increase club publicity, co-sponsor with other organizations, and provide students with a fun game that will generate extreme paranoia.”
Taking the popularity of the zombie theme one step further, the club has applied for, and is still waiting for approval of, a time slot during finals fest to host a “zombie run” on campus in which student-runners would dress as zombies, said Hade.
According to the rules followed by the team, the game begins with one “zombie” who proceeds to search for and eat hiding humans, turning them into zombies as well, as is evidenced by the placement of an orange band (headbands for zombies and armbands for humans) and whether or not they have an ID card (players must give them up to the zombie who kills them).
The goal of the “human” players is to survive the “Zombie Apocalypse,” in which the zombies try to eat all of the humans while they try to avoid or “disable” the zombies for 15 minutes by shooting it with a NERF gun or hitting it with a sock ball.
Games continue until “the Zombies eat all of the Humans, or when the Zombies starve before all Humans are dead,” according to the rules.
According to Hade, the Manhunt Club had initially planned to only host one “HvZ” game in the fall semester, but the popularity of the first game led to a second.
“The Manhunt (executive) board decided at the beginning of the semester to host one game of HvZ in the fall and one in the spring, but due to the popularity of our first game at the beginning of October we have decided to do a second game in November,” she said.
While regular club members comprise a high number of players, “they also bring in their unsuspecting friends, acquaintances and classmates,” said Hade.
“We accept anyone who wants to play so long as they can spend at least 12 hours a day on campus during the week long game,” she explained. “Players are encouraged to take this game seriously and are welcome to dress up for it if their professors and employers allow it.”
To protect themselves and disable zombies, players are instructed to bring their own balled up socks, foam swords or Nerf guns. However, they cannot use the NERF guns at night for campus security reasons, said Hade. Furthermore, when zombies tag humans, they rules dictate that they must do so non-violently.
While humans have certain designated “safe zones” on campus—including dorm rooms, bathrooms, classrooms while their class is in session, at work or athletic practice, and the Physical Enhancement Center—it can still be easy to succumb to paranoia when all other campus locations are fair game.
Sophomore statistics major Matt Tipaldo—the last surviving human player in both the November and October games—and junior-bio-major-turned-zombie Ismael Jan Tumaliuan, who ended the November game with the most human kills, both discussed their winning strategies with TCNJ Magazine.
TCNJ Magazine (to human Matt Tipaldo): How did you hear about the oncoming zombie invasion on the College’s campus?
Matt Tipaldo: My friends heard reports about a possible infection going around on campus, so we took action to our own hands. We geared ourselves up with any socks/Nerf guns we could find to hold back the undead.
TCNJ: Where do the zombies come from?
MT: You see, when a boy zombie and a girl zombie love each other…. Just kidding. We heard reports of the first zombie being tested on genetically, in the nurse’s office … and it all went haywire.
TCNJ: How will you fight the zombies when they come? How would you describe your strategy?
MT: Zombies show little to no fear, so why not give them a taste of their own medicine? Be calm and collected—but ready to strike.
TCNJ: How do you feel about zombies?
MT: We can’t let them over run the campus. They’ll just stay on all of the lines at ‘Eick’ (Eickhoff Dining Hall)!
TCNJ: Are you afraid? How would you describe your feelings going into this battle?
MT: Yeah, I’m afraid. The zombies have gotten a whole bunch of my friends. It’s a real shame when I need to whack one of them off with a sock.
TCNJ: How will you know a zombie when you see one?
MT: About knowing when a zombie comes, that’s the key. Most zombies show the sin pretty obviously. They pale up, and only their torso and head have a bright orange tint to them.
TCNJ: Do you believe that the humans have a chance? Why or why not? What’s at stake here?
MT: I bet we could do it. We’ve gotten so far in our advancements in the human race. A little undead fallout shouldn’t hold us back too much. I know I have some friends who will support me in my fight. Heck, my roommate and I would stick together until the very end should we need to! But regarding what’s at stake…. My life and rationality, my sanity… Oh, and my socks too.
TCNJ (to zombie Ismael Tumaliuan): Wow, you look … nice. How did this ‘zombification’ happen to you, if you don’t mind my asking? What are your aims here at TCNJ? Do you not like humans?
IT: BRRRAAAAIIIIINNNNNSSSS… Sorry, just messing. I was ambushed as I was returning my tray in Eickhoff Dining Hall. The one second that I wasn’t looking over both shoulders was all it took for me to join the legions of the undead. Now that I am a mindless flesh-eater, I just want to go around and devour as many humans as I can. I love humans, especially when marinated with paranoia, perhaps a dash of confusion, and of course seasoned with a hefty helping of fear.
TCNJ: Are you hungry sometimes, or just constantly? How do you anticipate …or know… that TCNJ students might taste in comparison to other humans?
IT: Well, I like to think of it kind of like 7-11: We may not always be doing business, but we’re always open. However, the scent of fear on the wind always gives my tummy the “rumblies.” I prefer the students at TCNJ when compared to other humans. The close-knit community here gives them a sense of camaraderie that holds them together. It also gives them a wonderful flavor that just tickles the palate.
TCNJ: How do you feel the human-zombie war will play out? How can the humans win, if that’s a possibility?
IT: The humans here are tough. I suspect that a few could survive. The majority, however, I like to call “lunch.” Or “dinner” or “breakfast” or “midnight snack,” whatever. If they want to win, they need to not let their fear of us get to them. LONG UNLIVE THE HORDE!