PZED – Post Zombie Encounter Disorder
¦ dialling in from Workstation ¦
13:30 GMT, Wednesday 1st June 2011.
Last Thursday I spent 3 hours being chased around the after-dark streets of Bristol by zombies; lurching, blood & gore soaked things that burst into shrieking sprints when they saw you. You can see pics & vids of the experience here.
Friday I could barely move as my leg muscles went into a sulk and shut down, worthy of a pathetic Spanish air traffic controller walk-out. And Friday night I barely slept as every time I closed my eyes my brain re-ran a cinefilm montage of moments from my pursuit around the cobble-stone alleyways and shadow choked parks of the city – adrenaline flowed with each beat of my accelerating heart rate.
Saturday was no better. Any time I wasn’t working on something my mind drifted back to Thursday night. The fear of being seen and chased – yet again – exhaustion placed on hold as the human survival instinct was tricked (by a game) into full reign.
Some kind of hormonal chemical cocktail. A mighty fix.
And Saturday night, leaving the cinema at Cabot Circus around 9.30 pm I thought… there’ll be a fresh group of strangers, 300 or so, out there right now. Going through that experience.
I felt that I needed to reconnect, somehow. Not to take part again but to at least see what I’d gone through from another perspective. And perhaps, also, to see a zombie.
They were so extraordinarily well done. The zombies. The people who played them. Fit young things (no doubt) with well rehearsed howls of rage and diseased fury.
So I convinced my girlfriend to indulge me, as I directed her to drive through side streets and dark places of the city my eyes scanning the shadows – seeking a glimpse of those things that had inspired such a vivid emotional /bio-chemical reaction. Strange, eh?
Alas -I think Thursday night (26th May) must have been the best of all nights. All I saw were large groups of people walking around. Walking! Wearing the distintcive armbands and peering at sheets of paper (orienteering maps) as if there wasn’t much danger out there at all.
I’ve heard a rumour that Thursday night was packed out with hardcore game geeks. (I hold up a hand, guilty as charged). So maybe that’s why the atmosphere was just so intense – and so rich with unspoken menace.
Or maybe – just being an observer for a few fleeting moments as I drifted past in a car… I was unable to tap into the experience of those Saturday night zombie-victims.
Sunday: bizarre. I overheard at least a dozen phone calls or standing conversations during my day – where people were talking about seeing zombies in the streets. It’s as if this weekend just gone, the whole city was exposed to… a simple, beautifully crafted game.
I really think this needs to grow. To be repeated – but done in a way that maintains the gritty realism – avoids the cumbersome kill-joy brain dead mentality of the Health & Safety Executive (I HATE YOU) – and allows individuals to experience something visceral, chilling, challenging and exciting. Take the fun of paintballing in a forest with a large number of oppononents and multiply it by ten; then you’re coming close to the experience of 2.8 hours later.
Hmmm – now there’s an interesting idea. Zombies with paintball. Shoot the zombies enough and you kill them?
If you like the sound of this game I highly recommend bouncing through some of the vids, where you can listen to my “professional” panting (knackered from all the running and genuinely scared). Or visit the official website for 2.8 Hours later – click. They’re dudes!
Tomorrow I’m flying out to Madrid, in Spain to hang out with my good friend Sharky Bones McCoy – and then we’re all heading to Santiago for a long weekend, staying in a medieval monastery. Should be fun. Pictures and stories to follow.
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