The weather may feel apocalyptic but for about 150 Calgarians this weekend, there's a fight for survival taking place at the Sarcee Sportsplex.
Live action zombie apocalypse games are the latest thing in reality gaming. At the Stay Dead event, participants are immersed in a full, 18-hour zombie simulation that will have them fighting for food and water — as well as their survival.
"There's a storyline there but it is a free-choice game so they can get as involved as they want," said Stay Dead founder Mark Howard-Stones. "They can find out about the apocalypse, they can find out how to survive it, how to get out — or they can just go around killing each other and zombies."
For many players, the real roles and ever-evolving storyline involving teamwork and strategy are the real draws.
The simulation takes place seven months after the "first" zombie infection, when TV and water are cut off and the internet is the only source of information.
"Patient Zero" had been admitted to hospital with a new strain of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which evolved due to humanity's incessant need for stronger household cleaning products and the influx of alcohol hand gel.
"We know little but what we do know is this; the dead don't stay dead," the website reads."A video was put up online last night, asking for survivors to meet up in a location in the city ... to anyone who may read this, good luck and stay alive."
Organizers bill the game as "the most complete simulation in the world" and participants can play in multiple events because their game statuses are recorded and saved, allowing them to "load a saved game" next time around with the same weapons and items as the previous game.
"It's a thrill, it's something new," said Heinz Herman, the highest ranking medic in the game and a real-life military medic. "With the time going by, you don't even notice ... once the zombies start coming up and things really start happening, you won't even notice when the 18 hours finish."
Stay Dead will wrap up Sunday at the Sarcee Seven Chiefs Sportsplex.
There's no word yet on when the next event will take place but the website says they plan to host them every few months.