Once a year, students in Zombie Defense League from around Columbia Public Schools gather together in the commons at Battle High School for the annual lock in. Although, Zombie Defense League hosts three lock in nights throughout the course of the school year, Battle only hosts one. This year, the event took place on October 22.
Zombie Defense League is a club where students participate in different strategy games by shooting nerf guns at people. “We have lots of different variations including hunger games, team vs team, zombie, and more,” Shawn Beatty, Japanese teacher and sponsor of the event since 2012. Zombie Defense League first started at Rock Bridge, and he has started a club at every high school since then.
The lock in allows students to enjoy privileges they don’t get to. One privilege they get, is they have the entire school where most times, they are only given the A wing. Anthony Smith, two year member of Zombie Defense League, explained the pro of having longer playing time. “After school you really only get until an hour and 30 minutes to play the games,” Smith said. “However, when we get together for a lock in, it’s 8 hours and so it’s more games we’re playing and more people we’re meeting.”
Zombie Defense League provided snacks, t-shirts, and dinner for the lock in. They also provide nerf guns for new students; however, many students choose to bring their own.
Many students come to the lock in for different reasons. Some students come for hanging out with friends and eating good food.. However, student and second year Zombie Defense League member Seairra Ferguson came for a different reason. “You get to play it in real life. It isn’t a video game, where your controller is doing all the work. I’m practicing in real life and coming up with scenarios in a challenging way,” Ferguson said.
While Zombie Defense League can challenge the brain in many ways, Beatty hopes the club can also teach real life lessons. “If you are wasting time for school work or your class is talking too much, you lose that time and so in ways you always have a clock running,” said Beatty. “It’s the same way with this game, it teaches them how to effectively manage their time and their strategies because the clock is running.”
Despite the event being annual, the competition and lock in has continued to get better throughout the years. “Nerf technology has developed a lot in the last couple of years which has allowed more and better competition strategy wise. I think of it like pay to play in video games because people can buy upgrades, they can by the rifle guns that shoot fast and have 100 rounds. I think that allows an unfair advantage because if you have the hottest nerf gun on the market, it can be unfair for those who don’t have that,” Beatty said.
Beatty also added that they shortened the time of the lock in from 11 hours to eight because it allows for better competition.
The students and sponsors in Zombie Defense League continue to look forward to the improvements and the future people the club will join. “This club brings in a wide niche of people because we have gamers and and role playing games so we catch a lot of quirkier kids which is why it’s a lot more fun,” Ferguson said.
If interested in Zombie Defense League, the next meeting will be held November 13 at 4:15pm.