In what could only be described as a night of the living dead, hundreds of zombies lurched and staggered around as they hit the streets of Collado Villalba near Madrid in Spain Saturday night. In what is described as a role-playing game of zombie survival, apparently the event was a screaming (and roaring) success.
It was a terrifyingly realistic scene on the streets of Collado Villalba from 11.00 p.m. Saturday night right through to 7.30 a.m. on Sunday, as two thousand participants invaded the streets in a role-playing game called “Survival Zombie.” Hundreds of the people involved were made up in full undead style wearing inventive costumes, while other participants were more normally dressed. However, it was very unlikely that anyone in the town had a good night’s sleep as the event evolved.
The scenario, rather similar to events seen in the popular television series “The Walking Dead”, involved an imaginary city where a virus had changed most of the residents into shuffling and eerie undead creatures. The zombies themselves were played by pretty convincing professional actors, and the participants in the game had a couple of different aims to fulfill in order to win. Firstly, they must get through the entire experience without being touched by one of the zombies and thus “infected.” Secondly, they had to collect certain objects along the way to ensure their survival, as the zombies hit the streets in Collado Villalba, Spain.
The role-playing game is the brainchild of Diego de La Concepción, owner of World Real Games (WRG). When La Concepción opened his business, it was initially a paint ball range, where people could relieve the stress of their daily lives shooting paint balls at each other. Then he decided to take things one step further and came up with the popular role-playing game.
While many people have invented online zombie games, who needs to use a computer, when you can live the action, right up front and horribly personal?
According to the Spanish language newspaper, El Mundo, for the game to run smoothly and successfully it takes a minimum of 150 staff members, mostly volunteers involved for the fun of it, who firstly organize the check-in of participants, help with the make-up of the zombie characters and generally control the whole scary horde of monsters.
The video included below is of the fifth edition of the “Survival Zombie” game, which was held in Cabanillas del Campo in Guadalajara province and gives an idea of how the game runs. All the groans and screams emanating from the video do sound rather convincing and scary.
Álvaro Martínez, staff and customer service head at WRG, told El Mundo that they have a 95 percent satisfaction rate so far. He did say that some players end up being very frustrated, however, as it is possible to become infected and removed from the game after only a few minutes. He also said some participants can spend hours looking for clues and the objects they need to complete the game without success. But he did add that frustration is the name of the game and to really enjoy “Zombie Survival” it was necessary to get really involved, live in the game and relate to the other players and the zombies chasing them.
Better yet, with the economic crisis currently being experienced in Spain, De la Concepción says that his game helps boost the local economy, wherever it is played. Local restaurants and bars thrive from the additional business of people watching the scary scene evolve, and local businesses score with t-shirt and other souvenir sales.
The next game “Survival Zombie” is scheduled to happen in Valencia on September 27 and anyone wishing to join in can get details on the WRG official website (Spanish language) linked below. If still feeling brave, enjoy similar scenes of the zombies shuffling and lurching as they looked when they hit the streets of Collado Villalba, Spain below.
By Anne Sewell
Spanish Language Sources: