Moving to a new state is a headache. I spent many hours researching moving companies, calling them, and determining most of them were scams.
One night, I was having dinner with a friend. Both of us are organizers for Silicon Valley Offbeat Fun, an awesome group that put on wacky events like real life Mario kart, a mystery water tasting, One-Hour Bachelorette, and Collaborative NaNoWriMo.
“Moving is such a hassle,” I complained. “I should just post a meetup event and let random people help me move.”
It started out as a joke, but we kept building on it. We started to get serious. What’s the event’s theme? How are you going to attract people to sign up? How is this going to work? Will random people be willing to help carry boxes around? Excited, I ran home, got permission from the group’s senior organizers, and posted an event. (And yes, the event’s description mentioned that this was part of a move.)
I spent the next few days planning the big event. It was called “Escape the Zombies from Tetris Island”. It would be like an escape room with a story and puzzles. I wrote a script about how the inventor of Tetris was trapped on an island where he discovers zombies. Then, I made puzzles and hid clues around the apartment. Each of the clues was a diary entry describing how the inventor was bit by a zombie and descended into madness. It was going to be legit.
After all this preparation, I wondered, “Would anyone actually come?”
When the big day arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by 10 friendly faces. A few were my friends, others were occasional offbeat attendees, and a few were complete strangers. With the crew together, my co-organizer and I started “Escape the Zombies from Tetris Island”.
Sherlock Holmes: Tetris Style
“Team, the inventor of Tetris has gone missing,” I announced. “Your mission is to find what happened to him. Let’s search his base for clues.”
The team started looking throughout the apartment. Eventually, they found all the envelopes and scraps of paper I hid around the place. Then they put together the Tetris puzzle. It alluded to a zombie infestation and rumors of an experimental cure.
“Team, it’s too dangerous to stay here,” I announced. “We need to evacuate the base and load of all the cargo into the shipping container.” This is where the fun began.
To make things exciting, we busted out the nerf guns. This was a stage like Humans vs Zombies: the humans have to escort cargo while avoiding getting tagged by the zombies. Some humans picked up boxes while others used the nerf blasters to keep the zombies away1.
“No one has to carry anything, but for the full experience, you should take an item,” I continued. Everyone except my ex-girlfriend carried one box down from the third story apartment to the shipping container in the parking lot. The group carefully carried cargo across the path, dodging dumb zombies along the way. In a short time, all the cargo was safely evacuated!
“What’s that?” I asked and pointed to a scrap of paper in the shipping container. Someone picked it up and read it out loud. It was instructions for an experimental anti-zombie cure!
To cap off the event, the players lured a zombie into the shipping container, where he transformed back into a regular human. The grand reveal: it was the inventor of Tetris, and he’s back to normal!
After this silly finale, I bought pizza and drinks for all the attendees. I was worried that it would be a dumb event, but everyone had a blast. Even the founder of Offbeat Fun approved.
Tetris Zombies was the most fun moving I ever had.
1We had a bunch of safety rules like: no running, no zombies on the stairs, be quiet because the zombies have excellent hearing but terrible eyesight, etc. No one was injured.