OVER the weekend, thousands of horror buffs descended on Sydney's SCG and Allianz Stadium precinct for what has been called 'the world's largest real-world zombie survival game'.
Zedtown: Last Haven immersed participants in an apocalypse story where the undead rule the planet, and the players' objective is to discover a paradise, or 'Last Haven', where the powerful and privileged live free from infection.
The point of all Zedtown events, which run up to three times a year across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, is to stay 'alive' by using Nerf guns to fend off the horde, while simultaneously reaching an objective.
However, if a player gets 'infected', well they come back into the game after a quick makeup session looking a lot like corpse bride (pictured).
It's safe to say there's no other business quite like Zedtown which now employs around 110 staff, including actors, makeup artists, event marshals and radio teams, and involves thousands of players at each of its events.
Zedtown: Last Haven was the largest event the company has run to date.
The business is the brainchild of a group of friends from University of Sydney, who came up with the "whacky idea" one night while shooting Nerf Blasters.
"We grabbed the Nerf Blasters we had lying around, and we just played a thing together," says co-founder Andrew Garrick.
"Over the next couple of years, it grew and grew until we suddenly found ourselves with hundreds of people wanting to take part at the university."
"We eventually grew beyond the university borders, and as we did, we connected with Life Like Touring who helped us to continue to grow the concept."
Garrick describes Zedtown like "playing a video game in real life" where players explore a fantasy world created by the Zedtown team and are given missions to complete, as well as a chance to meet new characters and win achievements.
Garrick and his team have created a Zedtown smartphone app so that players can track their progress throughout the event.
"We find that we get really passionate people that come from gaming backgrounds, cosplay backgrounds, paintball backgrounds; people from very enthusiastic worlds," says Garrick.
"It's always interesting to see who are the people that last until the final moment of the game."
Due to the overwhelming success of Zedtown in Australia, it is now setting its sights overseas. More to come.
Photo credit: Henry Choo.
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