A squad of human players carefully walk through Claremont McKenna College midway through the Wednesday night mission. Each campus has different architectural and lighting styles, which at another time would be appreciated but now provide ample hiding spots for zombie players.

Brain Games

Inside Claremont's 168-Hour Zombie Simulation


For one week every semester, the Claremont Consortium is invaded by zombies.

If one tags you, you become a zombie yourself. For self-defense, you can stun zombies by throwing balled-up socks or shooting Nerf blasters. There are no breaks — the Humans vs. Zombies game runs 24 hours a day, stopping only at the classroom door.

Much of the game is played under cover of darkness, when human and zombie players compete in missions that snake through hallways and spread across shadowy fields.

I embedded with human players over the course of two night games, working with only available light as to not give away their location.