June 22, 2014

Hiding in the rose garden

Thornden Park Rose Garden

As anyone who follows me on twitter knows by now, I’ve spent the last couple of days dodging virtual zombies. Yes, another game of Twitter vs. Zombies. Or what we are now just calling #TvsZ.

The first time I played, my youngest sister noticed all my odd #TvsZ tweets and sent me a text asking, “Are you okay? Has your account been hacked?” When I explained, she said something like, “You are the last person on earth I’d expect to be playing a game like that.”

In many ways, she’s right. I don’t play computer games. I’m not into the zombie culture — too much violence for me. So playing a game on twitter that involves zombies biting humans doesn’t seem, on the surface, something that would appeal to me.

But this game is different than the typical computer game. The first time I played, it taught me how to use twitter: believe me, you learn fast how to upload a photo and attach it to a tweet when you are running from zombies. And it’s a game that builds community. I’ve met a bunch of people during the game, colleagues scattered all over the world, and I like being part of that geeky community. Hey, it’s sometimes nice to have tech support beyond my own kids.

The best part of the game, though, is that it’s a long collaborative narrative. To stay human in the game, I’ve been helping to create and jump into #safezones. Friday night, I huddled with other humans on a farm, hiding from the zombies and enjoying some kind of home brew. Last night, I spend an hour rummaging through a yarn shop, trying to figure out whether or not knitting needles would be a good defense against zombies. Once that yarn shop became overrun with zombies, I escaped to the home of a charming and outspoken old grandmother, who has a plan to use cows to stomp on zombies.

It’s unusual, really, for me to spend so much time on a computer, especially on a summer weekend. I’ve always been an advocate for balance, for unplugging on weekends. So yesterday, when my husband suggesting we go out for a bit, I left the computer and smartphone home. I stepped out of the game into a gorgeous summer afternoon.

We went to the rose garden in Snowstorm City. It’s a city park, filled with small square gardens and tall, rounded trellises, all filled with roses of every type. Pink, red, yellow, white – flowers bloomed all around us as we walked through the sunshine. A wedding party had just arrived, and a young couple stood in front of deep red roses to get their photo taken. In another corner of the garden, a young couple with a baby were posing in front of yellow roses. We found a bench in the rose-scented shade where we could sit until the shadows grew long. Then it was time to go to the movie theater for a fun movie about dragons before another night of fighting zombies.

(You can find out more about the game here.)


Jim Stauffer said...

Janine, you have expressed so accurately the blog post I want to write post-game. Disgusted with Zombies,dislike computer games, totally carried away with TvsZ. Having read this, it will be hard to write mine without some of your expressions creeping in. I'll be be sure to credit your inspiration.

jo(e) said...

Jim: It's the narrative that pulls us in, isn't it? A collaborative narrative unfolding as we watch (and participate) is so compelling.

Gail said...

The roses look great.