Students blast ‘zombies’ with Nerf guns in weekly game

ACTION SHOT: Kyle Anderson is a member of a group that meets every week on the ASU Tempe campus to play “Nerf War: Zombies vs. Scientists.” (Photo by Michael Arellano)

During the day, Coor Hall is a hotspot for studying, but on Thursday night it was a battleground full of scientists, zombies and flying Nerf darts.

A group of around 30 students gathered at Coor Hall on the Tempe campus Thursday evening to engage in the group game “Nerf War: Zombies vs. Scientists.”

Biomedical engineering junior Jane Lacson is the founder of the month-old group that gathers once a week at various “battlegrounds” to fight off zombies.

“The reason was just for fun mostly and stress relief,” Lacson said. “[I started the group to] take a break from homework and studying so we don’t go crazy.”

She hopes to attract other engineering students so they can meet one another and become friends.

“We’re not as reclusive or socially awkward as people might say,” Lacson said. “I think we’re actually pretty awesome.”

Lacson came up with the rules by herself after being inspired by a campus-wide humans vs. zombies event a friend told her about. She then arranged a weekly two-hour battle between zombies and scientists on campus, she said.

“Those who have Nerf-guns are scientists, and those who don’t are the zombies,” she said.

The game starts off with an “outbreak” of about five zombies and a group of 15 scientists fighting against them with their Nerfs, Lacson said.

“Zombies can turn scientists into other zombies by attacking them,” Lacson said. “As soon as a zombie tags a scientist, they too have to become a zombie.”

Zombies die by one Nerf shot to the head, or two to the body, she said.

For both groups, the goals of the game are to find “the beacon,” which is a large ball of duct tape, and to get to “safe ground.” The concept is similar to a game of capture the flag, Lacson said.

The group started at the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building II, but relocated to Coor Hall after a complaint, she said. The group’s goal is to become an official organization on campus, and members hope to reserve a designated building after hours.

Kyle Anderson, an Apple employee, is an avid fan of shooting up zombies and has joined the ASU group.

“My record on Call of Duty Zombies is 46,” Anderson said. “I’m 1,000th in the world, so I got bored with that so I came out to play.”

Film freshman Wesley Kelly, armed with his Nerf gun, was also eager to go on the hunt for the beacon.

“I come out here so I can shoot some people and they don’t get mad,” he said.

Reach the reporter at ktenagli@asu.edu