For some of us, stepping foot into a mall is terrifying enough, but the experience can get much more terrifying once zombies are added to the mix in an abandoned mall.
At Walyou, we are always looking for new ways to gear up for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. We know it is bound to happen, so therefore, any experience we can get to prepare for this upcoming event, the better off (and more alive) we will be. In the United Kingdom, men and women can test their zombie survival skills by taking on “real” zombies in a shopping mall that has long since been abandoned. Participants are able to engage in a full-immersion and completely terrifying horror survival story that includes fending off hoards of the undead in missions that bear a close likeness to some of our favorite zombie games.
Drawing on inspiration from iconic movies like “Dawn of the Dead” and video games like Resident Evil and Left 4 Dead, this zombie shopping mall, known as just “The Mall,” is a perfect example on how fantasy experience and real life can overlap. Groups of 15 people, labeled as “survivors” are sent through the mall, armed with an Airsoft gun, for three grueling hours of quick zombie apocalypse survival skills training. Lee Fields, the director behind the group responsible for The Mall, Zed Events, stated that like many others, he has grown up with a fascination of zombies and that everything and anything is inside this mall, including top of the line special effects, props, and even actors all made up to look like real zombies.
Armed with their Airsoft guns filled with little plastic pellets at the start of the game, participants, while evading zombies and avoiding their fatal bite, need to pick up various weapons and more ammunition throughout the The Mall, including foam-based baseball and cricket bats.
There are two sections to The Mall; one is a much longer mission where there are quiet lulls and darkness everywhere, while other times participants are running to save their butts as all hell begins to break loose. The second section is much more like a video game where there are shorter missions that prove to be a challenge to the participants.
However, be warned – unlike zombie-video games and movies and televisions shows, head shots do not necessarily kill the zombies. The designers fashioned the game much like Resident Evil where it is not only about making head shots, but also how participants can damage other areas of the body and eventually take the zombie down.
This 250,000 square foot arena is located in Reading, approximately 25 miles outside of London and costs £119 ($188) to enter. While the building is slated to be demolished eventually, Zed Events wants to keep it open at least until the summer. Any chances of taking this outside of the UK and allowing others to sharpen their zombie-killing skills? Possibly one of these days. Until then, keep on playing the video games and re-watch episodes of Walking Dead to hone up on your skills as a master zombie killer.