Humans vs. Zombies at CU: Socks, not Nerf Blasters, are the main weapons -- until you get off-campus
"Hey, you with the dart in your head! You better be off school grounds, mister!"
Last December, CU banned Nerf guns for use in the game Humans Vs. Zombies, allegedly because campus cops might mistake the plastic contraptions for real weapons. Cue snickering.
But this ruling hasn't stopped CU sophomore Scott Serafin and his fellow Humans Vs. Zombies aficionados. Today marks the beginning of a week-long war against the undead on campus, with the rules arrived at by compromise with the powers-that-be. Biggest change: In lieu of Nerf darts, participants will be killing each other with... socks?
In addition to the Nerf Blaster ban, Serafin says, "We also had to narrow down the area where we're going to play -- there's a map in the rules section of our website that shows where we can do it -- and we agreed to play during the daylight hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. But that makes sense with all the ice around. It's just safer playing when you can see the ground."
As for whether he's fully on board with the anti-Nerf policy, Serafin is politic. "I'm trying to stay on good terms with CU," he says, adding, "I guess I can kind of see where they're coming from. But I think it's pretty easy to distinguish between a yellow toy and a real gun."
This year, 278 people registered to play by last Friday's deadline -- a considerably smaller number than signed up last year. However, that's a bit misleading, Serafin believes.
"Last semester, it was completely unorganized," he points out. "The original people had a Facebook group with 3,000 people in it, but they dropped out just before the game was supposed to start. So come Monday, another player and I got in touch with the guys who invented the game and host the software code to find out what had happened. They said that the moderators weren't responding to them, so they gave us all the information. Then, on the first day, the police said we couldn't use Nerf Blasters, and we had to use socks. So even though 650 people registered, probably only about a hundred ended up playing."
Serafin suspects that some people probably sat out this year because of the socks switch, and he concedes that the game "definitely isn't as much fun" without the opportunity to blast. That's why "we're going to do some off-campus missions within walking distance of campus. We can use Nerf guns there -- so hopefully that'll make up for it."
The CU group is very high tech, with text messaging and e-mail alerts keeping everybody up to date on the body count. Shortly after 10 a.m. this morning, Serafin noted that four humans had already been zombiefied. He was still a human at that point, "but I'm a pretty big target."
And not just for zombies. Look below to see a video of an off-campus mission like the one Serafin described: