When I arrived, I saw that two members of the team had come in full military fatigues. I was concerned that in my vaguely fashionable plimsolls and bomber jacket, perhaps I wasn’t taking this seriously enough. Indeed it seems that dressing up and being chased by people dressed as zombies is a serious business. One university’s zombie society (apparently these are quite common now) were out in force. Others seemed only half convinced that they weren’t really in The Walking Dead.
The event was a live action game, called “2.8 Hours Later”, one of the originals in what has become a popular night out. The premise was relatively simple: navigate your way around a course that spanned a couple of miles across the industrial wastelands of Wembley, picking up clues and items on the way, and make it back to base. However, getting in between the players and their mission was a horde of screaming zombies.
The legions of the undead took their roles seriously too. Covered in blood, they lurched around the course, their screams carrying through the air as if it was national fox-orgy night. They were also extremely quick: one lady-zombie (I didn’t pick up the correct terminology) chased people through an empty multi-storey car park; and further down the line one undead chap jumped up from his knees and chased us along an abandoned road.
The game reminded us how important it is to stay fit – because life in a post-apocalyptic world seems to involve lots of running. Plus, if you’re overweight you might seem tastier to the undead.
What the two men in camouflage lacked in orienteering skills they made up for in agility and enthusiasm, climbing over walls rather than walking around them, racing ahead to spot obstacles and distracting the screaming masses when the slower ones (like me lugging a camera and microphone) needed to get past.
The night ended with photos, fake blood and a disco in the asylum area, where punters could impress friends and potential mates with their tales of fear and heroism. Which was probably a big reason a lot of them were there in the first place.