03 Nov Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – 2.8 Hours Later, London
My feet thud against the wet, pitch-black muddy park, my heart pumping in time to their beat – I’m only vaguely aware of the fact that I’m screaming, my terrified shrieks merging with those of my fellow survivors and the terrible groans of the figures staggering – and now sprinting – towards me through the darkness.
I’m literally running for my life.
Someone clips me as they rush by and the force sends me lurching to the side, I feel my feet slipping on the sodden grass and there’s a moment where I think – “Shit, I’m falling” before I hit the earth. I’m flat on my back, staring up at the black sky when the bloodied face of a zombie dressed in ripped hospital scrubs looms over me:
“Are you alright?” he asks.
Thankfully, I was – if you don’t count the bruises, shredded nerves and raw throat from screaming. In fact, despite all that I was better than all right. Call me a freak, but being chased through London by Zombies was the best Friday night I’ve had for as long as I can remember!
2.8 Hours Later, London – what the hell is going on?!
This was 2.8 hours later, the zombie chase game that’s garnered a cult following in the UK. So, imagine that a deadly virus has swept the country, one that kills its victims and then turns them into flesh-eating, un-dead monsters. It’s a familiar scenario, right? Well the aim of the game is that we, the teams of survivors, have to get across the infected city (in this case, London Docklands) and make it to the safe-house (the Zombie Disco) without getting infected.
We were well prepared for the chase:
Along the way we met survivors who gave us clues on where to go next; we were sent through a subway lined with zombies to a creepy abandoned shipping yard and then into a multi-storey car park crawling with zombies. Next came an ingenious twist, we arrived at a park to the sound of screams in the distance – ahead of us I could see a couple of players, one displaying his bloody wrist to a passerby. He must have been injured, I absently thought, my mind preoccupied with the zombies that lay ahead.
“We’re waiting here because we’ve lost our group,” the girl explained, it was then that her friend with the bloody arm began convulsing and transforming into a zombie before our eyes; there was hardly a second to take it in before he was snarling and chasing us right into the gauntlet of zombies ahead and to my unfortunate accident.
The final challenge of the night was to collect a ‘cure’ for any of us who’d been infected; so, everyone in our team apart from Andrew. To get the cure you had to leg it through a pack of about 10 zombies who sprung to life as soon as we started moving – none of us got through unscathed and we only collected enough cures for five members of our team. In a final act of solidarity we decided that if we couldn’t all be cured, we’d become zombies together.
You call a Zombie Chase fun?!
Have you ever imagined what you’d do in a zombie apocalypse – ever wondered whether you’d be one of the resourceful survivors? Well I certainly have. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with zombie movies and post-apocalyptic fiction, ever since I read Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ for the first time when I was 12. I’ve plotted in detail what I’d do if there was a sudden apocalypse, where I’d go (to the nearest forest, and eventually the Scottish Highlands) what weapons I’d use (a gun, stolen from an abandoned police station) and what mode of transport I’d get on (a motorbike to dodge the stationary traffic and speed past the infected).
In fact, I even wrote about 30,000 words of my own post-apocalyptic, dystopian-feminist story, before realising that it was probably just a hybrid of all my favourite books and films, from The Handmaids Tale and 28 days later to The Stand, Romero’s Dead trilogy, the War of the Worlds and everything in between. And then I gave up – for now.
What did I learn from the Zombie Apocalypse?
Playing 2.8 hours later was probably the closest I’ll actually get to experiencing a real zombie apocalypse, and it taught me several things:
1) Even though I spent months training for this by jogging in the park every weekend, I’m still not fit or fast enough to outrun an adult male zombie
2) If there really was a zombie attack, I’d be on my own – I wouldn’t see Andrew for dust. Yes, the minute a zombie appeared he was off, focused only on his own survival. Granted, he survived until almost the very end without getting infected, but at the cost of his girlfriend’s life. Well, at least I know where I stand, right?
3) Sometimes your friends are really your foe – it was Bonner, my friend/priest survivor who dealt the fatal blow that left me flat on my back in the middle of a pitch black field with zombies closing in around me
4) It’s best to wear dark, camouflaging clothing – not a bright white decontamination suit (decorating overalls from B&Q, actually) to avoid drawing the attention of the zombies
5) I am not brave, or smart in a crisis. In fact, I’m sure my tactic of screaming as loud as possible and running in a blind panic only made the zombies chase me more
6) My friend Jo, on the other hand, is incredibly brave. She ducked and dived through the car-park zombies and was off like a lone wolf across the park, a pack of zombies zooming after her. A good 10 minutes of us screaming her name later she emerged, jogging back from the furthest and darkest corner of the park
7) Maps are hard to read under pressure. There were eight people in our team, could any one of us figure out how to get between checkpoints? No. We got hopelessly lost and at one point ended up somehow doing the course in reverse – don’t ask me how.
If you live in the UK or are planning to visit, I’d highly recommend taking part in 2.8 hours later – especially if you’re a zombie obsessed fiend like me – you will have the scare of your life!
2.8 Hours Later Video
It was really hard to get any good zombie footage while we were running for our lives – here’s the best we could do under such terrifying circumstances:
2.8 hours later tickets are available online, an extra week of London games have just been added, so get in fast before they sell out. 2.8 Hours Later ticket prices: between £34 and £40 each
Check out the Zombie Chase – Part 2 to find out what happened when we volunteered to be zombies!