Running through the dark halls of Van Peursem Hall, weapons are readily drawn and deserted hallways are carefully searched. The occurrence? A little game called Nerf Zombies.
First organized by West Hall residents, a small group of West and Heemstra residents now continue the game “Nerf Zombies.” An unofficial club at Northwestern, they play every Friday night at 10 in VPH.
Nerf Zombies is relatively simple. Apocalyptic rules are set, with humans vs. zombies at the helm.
A third of the group are zombies. They scatter throughout VPH. The objective for each side is simple: the humans try and shoot down all zombies, and the zombies try and tag the humans. Any tagged human immediately becomes a zombie.
If there are any humans left after a 30-minute period, they become the victors.
The students work their way through the halls of the VPH, making sure to “turn off as many lights as possible,” to add to game’s excitement.
“Last year I just got invited by a couple of upperclassmen,” said junior Drew Hackenmiller. “It’s kind of a West Hall tradition that they played every once in a while.”
Junior James Wilhelm, who’s been around West traditions and events for a while, couldn’t recall when the “club” was established. “I don’t know when it started,” Wilhelm said, “I just know we’ve been doing it since my freshman year.”
The game has become a favorite Friday night activity.
“It’s fun,” said junior Seth Herning, a resident of Heemstra. “You get to play with nerf guns and have the chance to run around. It’s a Friday night. We’re bored and there’s nothing else to do.”
The Nerf Zombies club is small; only a small group of residents play regularly.
“A few West boys play,” Hackenmiller said, “around six or seven a week.”
“There are four people that show up regularly from Heemstra,” Herning said. “Sometimes we’ll only have 10 people,” Herning said, “but last time, before spring break, we had 30 people show up.”
This isn’t only a men’s game. Girls are welcome to play. “Boys who are close to girls, who like this kind of thing, invite them,” Hackenmiller said.
The game sounds like fun, but that doesn’t mean it is always so. What happens when you put a group of college students in a competitive scenario?
“We try to keep it as much of a gentlemen’s game as we can,” Hackenmiller said, “but sometimes tempers fly.”
The competition isn’t a bad thing, but when it does get out of hand, changes are made.
“Sometimes we do have our disagreements,” Wilhelm said, “but if we see a flaw in the rules, we’ll change them to keep the game fair and balanced.”
What does Hackenmiller enjoy most about Nerf Zombies?
“The chance to hang out with people. The adrenaline, the competition I guess,” Hackenmiller said. “It’s a bunch of people hanging out, having fun.”
“Just having fun with different people you wouldn’t normally hang out with on campus,” Wilhelm said.
As the semester runs its course, the club has no intentions of ending the game.
“I’ll be doing it as long as the school allows it,” Wilhelm said.
“It would be nice to keep it going,” Herning said. “Even if it’s not zombies, doing something with nerf guns on a regular basis would be great.”
Nerf Zombies may be played only one night a week, but the enjoyment is evident. Hackenmiller described the game as “adventurous.”
And when asked if he loved it, Wilhelm answered simply: “Yes.”