My name is Derick I transferred to the University of Toledo for the spring 2010 semester. During my first semester there I developed a friendship with some one involved in BASH. Near the end of the semester he showed up with a Nerf blaster, my curiosity was perked. After he explained what it was I was sold! I only had one question when was the next HvZ, and could my 5yrs old daughter play? Yep 5yrs old, after some discussion with those in charge of running HvZ, it was determined that they would allow her to play in the spring event. Now being a 5yrs old girl, we had some interesting challenges to over come before the spring. She could not cock a spring loaded blaster, let alone pull the trigger. So we opted for the Nerf Barricade blasters, now my friend and I were both in school for engineering and he introduced me to the idea of modding. So I went about modding our Barricades, 9v simple mod. So into battle we went, not realizing the limitations of the Barricade, the painfully slow reload time. We were turned on our first mission. During the missions the followed my daughter earned the nick name Mini-Zom, she was able to sneak around because of her size (and player lack of wanting to shoot her or miscalculating her threat level) and get 3-4 kills. She was hooked we have played every year since and with each year we improve our arsenal of weaponry. In the time leading up to the spring event I discovered Trustfire batteries.. Muhaha.. bought three Nerf Vulcans, removed the battery packs, installed a flush mounted phone jack, made a custom barrel insert to increase the accuracy(I know your thinking WHAT! You don;t aim the Vulcan its a spray and pray style weapon suited mostly for defense.. I know.. I know), put the batteries in a fanny pack for her to easy the weight of the Vulcan, connected the Vulcan to the battery pack on her hip via a phone cord.. game on! That is when we learned the disadvantage of the Vulcan, one the barrel mod was not tested fully and created a lot of miss fires and jams (only when you needed it most, always the way it goes right?) we were turned early on, which was fine for my daughter, she prefers to be an infected Zombie(make up and all)! Fast forward to the following Fall session, removed the barrel mod, and did some beautification, used the green barrel pieces off of one Vulcan and attached the orange armor pieces ran LED's down the barrel so it glowed green added red laminated toggle switch to control the lights independently from the trigger power. That session she out lasted me as I was separated from the group and picked off by a special disguised Zombie. The session after that we upgraded to the Vortex type blasters and used our knowledge from the Vulcan setup to provide the power, from the Trustfire batteries located on her hip. I was turned and she survived final mission as a human, which she was not that happy about, as she prefers being Mini-Zom. The make up and the alter ego that goes with it I think.
My daughter at five had no friends in the neighborhood, and no friends at school, she was a bit of a social outcast. Allowing her to participate in HvZ enabled her to experience camaraderie across social classes, ages, and races. Showed her how people interact and look out for one another plan together to complete objectives. Gave her a thrill of hunting and being hunted, experienced what it was like to fit in and be accepted. She loves playing HvZ, she was very concerned that after I graduated this summer she would not be able to play as I would not be a student any longer. I calmed her fears and must now plan vacation days around HvZ to ensure that we are able to participate in the events. After final mission this past spring she was formally invited to participate at Bowling Green State Universities HvZ event this coming fall.
She is a HUGE buckeye fan, she already talks of going to college and the hard decision of OSU or UT. UT where she know the campus better than incoming freshmen and where she has a sense of belonging and fond memories, or OSU where she has cheered the Buckeye's year after year much to her mothers dismay(a dirty Maze and Blue fan). I really hope you take into account that she is a well seasoned veteran of the game(6 games) and enjoys it for all the right reasons. It would be just an awesome experience for her to play on the OSU campus. I would most likely bring my friend down with me so it would the three of us. This should ensure that we can play competitively and maintain a good level of supervision & safety.
Looking forward to your reply,
Derick J Karolak