Driving for zombies, PZED and craving the adrenaline rush

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.

zombie walk Bristol 2010 photo by science fiction and dark fantasy author David J Rodger

Photo by David J Rodger

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.

The End is Now - Bristol Zombie Walk 2010 photo

Photo by David J Rodger

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?

*dark smile*

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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David J Rodger – DATA

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2.8 hours later, Bristol May 2011 – city wide zombie chase game – videos and pics

This is a collection of videos and pics from 2.8 hours later, a city wide zombie chase game that took place in Bristol 26th May 2011.
There were 300 players split into groups of 5 to 7. We were sent out into an unsuspecting city filled with clusters of zombies.  This didn’t take place in a contained area – the city was our game board. Amazingly well organised event.

Zombies were actors or athletes and gymnasts (I reckon) – in full make-up and they were FAST. Bloody fast.

I’ve spent 3 hours either jogging through remote areas of Bristol or sprinting for my life. Utterly exhausting… my leg muscles are screaming at me — in between bouts of turning into jelly. Just ran a bath with half a box of Radox muscle relaxant…

So many amazing moments of sheer terror.

Sneaking in a half-crouch, crawling on my belly behind walls, stalking through woodland and parks to avoid zombies…

Having one zombie leap OVER a fence as he saw me and ran towards me screaming. I couldn’t believe it, fell back, actually slammed down onto the ground and next thing he was on top of me… snarling, grabbing me… and I just SCREAMED and SCREAMED for real. Bizarre. That was my first death.

Bristol will never seem the same again, at night.

If you ever get the chance to do 2.8 hours later… do not hestitate. It’s an incredible experience.

Excerpt from previous blog entry

2-8 hours later Bristol May 2011 part 2 - sneaking up on junction

Sneaking up on a junction where there might be a zombie

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 part 3 - Infected woman

Infected woman at rendezvous point - we were too late to save her

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 part 5 - zombie attack

I have to hide and not cry out in terror as I watch a woman devoured by a zombie

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 part 6 - Infected Vicar

The congregation had chained him to the wall and fled. God have mercy on his soul.

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 part 7 - homeless person help

We find strange allies in the darkness of deserted streets. He knows where we need to go to find survivors like us.

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 part 8 -  you're with strangers and running scared

Alone with strangers and running scared

Part 1: The tension begins

We’ve just had instructions to try and find other survivors. We’re trying to reach a rendezvous point but so far have found most routes blocked by zombies. We’re making our way down a side street hoping to find a way through. But the zombies keep appearing from around corners. Very tense – and daylight is fading fast.

Part 2: Sneaking up to junction

We’ve already been chased by a zombie – where my legs nearly buckled beneath me as the THING was right behind me, snarling. I remember looking behind me and seeing it less than ten paces away – accelerating!  Luckily it veered onto the road but then pounced on one of our group. First victim. This is a few minutes later and we’re trying to sneak up on a juntion where we’ve heard screams a few moments earlier.

Part 3: first RV location, infected woman, find the resistance!

Daylight has gone now and we’ve just had a really tense trek, navigating unfamiliar parts of the city to avoid the zombies. Just reached first rendezvous point – and there’s a woman Infected there.

Part 4:  trying to get to church – suddenly a zombie appears behind us!

We’ve left the Infected woman and her crazy old man of a father and now trying to reach the second rendezvous point, which is a church. It’s been another tense trek, using back roads and alleys …. but we can hear screaming ahead of us so we know we’re heading in the right direction, but also that there’s danger there.  It goes quiet so we made a rush for it… and then….

Part 5: Making a dash for the church.

Having already been chased by one zombie I’m now seperated from my group. No idea where they are. I’ve ducked into a pub doorway and am now trying to make my way down an alley to get into the church that is next rendezvous point. Have to be quick – and then duck down behind a wall as two zombies lurch in view (out of sight of camera cos I’m hiding). One woman isn’t so lucky and you can hear the terror in her voice as she’s got.

Part 6: Infected vicar

Not sure how this comes across on video but this encounter was seriously creepy and unnerving. We needed the vicar to give us the co-ordinates of the next rendezvous point.

Part 7: Homeless person help

One of the really great things about the way this game has been organised is the seemingly random appearance of “characters” who are there to help you; they’re able to spontenously roll out a narrative that fits into the idea you’re in an apocalyptic event and trying to find other survivors.

Part 8: In the bear pit – alone with strangers and running scared

The tension is really racking up now. We have to navigate our way through this part of the city but we’re like fish coming out of a barrel for the zombies lurking there.  A group ahead of us get a nasty surprise.  Everyone is exhausted and run ragged but you can’t stop… you’ve got to keep going and keep running because the zombies are everywhere.

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The end stage is just amazing. Very difficult to survive. And all you can hear are groups of people screaming and then you see a mass of people abruptly turning and sprinting in full tilt towards you – terror in their eyes.  I met some really great people during this. Cameraderie in the face of fear and tension.

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 - strangers who became friends for an apocalypse - the after party survivors and undead

Strangers who became friends for an apocalypse

2.8 hours later Bristol May 2011 - Infection sets in - blood grinning happy

The Infection set in after I'd been bitten

Relevant Links:

  • Official Website for 2.8 Hours later – click
  • Dog Eat Dog – action-packed novel by Bristol sci-fi & dark fantasy author – zombies & crime – click
  • Yellow Dawn – the Age of Hastur: RPG that blends cyberpunk and cthulhu mythos genres – click 

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Music made for mayhem, introducing Zombie Zombie: John Carpenter meets manic electro:

Not related to 2.8 hours later but a very cool band that might be to your taste – click to view

EDIT (31st August 2011):

Invitation to appear on German-French “zombie” documentary with iconic euro culture TV show, Tracks.

TV production comany want to film somebody at 2.8 hours later in Leeds, this September 2011.

View invitation here.

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EDIT (24th September 2011):

SlingShot incorporate my video footage in their official promo for 2.8 Hours Later.

See me sweating @ 51 seconds.

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zombie victims of viral infection from Yellow Dawn - Cthulhu Mythos crime thriller set in post-apocalyptic near future Dog Eat Dog by British author David J Rodger
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David J Rodger – DATA

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