Human John Mortara sat outside Hartranft Hall at 9:30 Wednesday night, smoking a cigarette and waiting for fellow human Adam Love to arrive for their next mission.
Wearing dark clothes and shouldering a Nerf gun, Mortaraâ€™s (sophomore-English) back was to one side of Mifflin Road, something he called â€œbad tacticsâ€ in the game Humans vs. Zombies (HvZ).
Sporting a green armband and a backpack with marshmallows, a sock and another Nerf gun, Mortara was nervous coming out for the mission but decided to take the risk for the surprise prize promised by Carl Hayman, director of Urban Gaming Clubâ€™s HvZ. Mortara hoped the prize would be a zombie antidote.
Love and Mortara were participating in HvZ, an elaborate game of tag hosted by the Urban Gaming Club, Hayman said.
Once Love (junior-architectural engineering) arrived, two of the four remaining humans set out toward Old Main, where the mission would be laid out.
It was 10:23 p.m. when they arrived at Old Main, meeting two zombies wearing orange headbands.
The other zombies filed in and Hayman arrived, giving out the missionâ€™s directions to each group separately.
Humans had to retrieve different samples of water for the â€œscientist,â€ Hayman, to analyze. One was at the Nittany Lion Shrine and called â€œHappy Juice,â€ an antidote that would cure zombies.
After collecting all but the Happy Juice, the humans crept behind the Nittany Lion Shrine and spotted the lingering zombies.
Mortara and Love jumped out, firing Nerf guns and throwing marshmallows, stunning most of about five zombies.
Love made a move for a handicapped zombie, but another ran by, tagging him and turning him into a zombie.
Mortara quickly went through the bushes by the statue with a flashlight, soon finding the Happy Juice underneath the Lion.
Returning to Old Main after another step in his mission, Mortara arrived before the zombies, and Hayman debriefed, calling it a tie.
Hayman opened his backpack and brought out a green package of reduced fat Oreo cookies. Mortara jokingly cried as he accepted his share of the cookies, and the night ended a little after midnight.
Mortara was now one of only three humans left in the game, which has been going on for five weeks.
At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, the day before the end of the game, Mortara made the mistake of going to the Redifer Commons computer lab and was soon surrounded and trapped by the zombies, who tracked his every move, including bathroom breaks.
It wasnâ€™t until 10:30 that Mortara made his dash for the exit, escaping safely and untagged.
The last mission was held on the last day of the game, when Mortara was happily tagged in the last 20 minutes.
By the end of the game Friday, six zombies and two humans were left â€” a declared stalemate.
Mortara said at first the game made him feel like a nerd, but by the end, he and other players agreed â€œthis game keeps us nerds in shape.â€