Free Hugs

Eighteen-year-old animal biology freshman Megan Smith, dressed as a zombie, offers "free hugs" to passersby in Turlington on Tuesday to promote the Humans vs. Zombies game.

Rachel Crosby, Alligator

Walker Finn’s gun is a force to be reckoned with.

He’ll need it today for the beginning of the end of the world.

The 20-year-old mechanical engineering sophomore is one of about 400 students ready for Humans vs. Zombies, the five-day, apocalyptic game of tag played across campus that begins today.

Players start as humans, except for the original zombie, who turns players into zombies by touching them.

Zombies try to tag humans, who in turn try to survive until the final mission Sunday.

Humans can shoot zombies with toy darts or throw socks at them to stun them temporarily.

Bandanas are used to distinguish the teams — zombies wear bandanas on their heads and humans wear them on their arms. Moderators wear one bandana on each arm.

Rebecca Foster, 21-year-old psychology junior and president of Gators HvZ, said the number of people registering each semester has leveled off at about 300 to 500 players.

As of Tuesday, 270 students were registered, and Foster expects about 400 players.

She said the game, which includes a story and missions, grew as it was more accepted on campus.

HvZ used money from Student Government to pay $300 for fliers and $1,300 for bandanas.

Players who don’t return bandanas are banned.

The zombies have won seven of the eight games played at UF since Spring 2010, Foster said.

The game gave Finn a chance to put his hobby of modifying dart guns to good use.

The self-proclaimed “career human” said he can’t resist the thrill of shooting the walking dead.

“It feels awesome to survive insurmountable odds against zombies,” he said.