LARPing for the sane

By » Mon, July 2 2012
3682531348 f243066262 450x337 LARPing for the sane

Lesson 1: You don’t have to dress like this to LARP. (img by Bastian)

I’ve never LARPed, at least not in the sense of running around in the woods tossing beanbags at people and yelling “magic missile!”. But I’ve definitely played roles in the day to day. Chances are, you have, too. In real life, you’re a hard partying gamer, but when you go to a job interview, you’re a pressed and articulate person seeking the opportunity to leverage synergistic paradigms.

Or you happened to be in the right (or wrong) place at the wrong (or right) time and hid behind your camera while interesting shit went down. And because you were hiding behind your camera and just happened to be wearing a vest full of pockets, people assumed you were press. Or you were wearing an unfortunately colored polo shirt at Best Buy and people started asking you for help.

Here’s a great perspective on LARPing in reality:

Of the best experiences I’ve had with live-action roleplaying, only two are from actual larps. The others are from larplike real-world situations in which I have found myself adopting a role, usually accidentally. Drawing on these experiences, I’m going to present here a concept I call real-world larping. To understand the concept of real-world larping, one has to accept for now that the essential point in live-action games is the experience, and not roleplaying as such. There’s a wonderful word in Finnish, eläytyminen, which roughly means immersion in a character, a situation or a work of art. For roleplaying experiences where I immerse myself in a character, eläydyn, I play tabletop. To experience living through nuclear holocaust, I play live action. In this latter case, the character is, for me, a mere provider of context for the overall experience. This means that live-action roleplaying may be likened to any situation where I adopt a role to provide context in an unfamiliar situation. At the core of such situations lie unfamiliar social contexts that force the assumption of such a role. If these situations are clearly defined departures from routine life, they may be highly larplike.

Next time you’re bored at home with nothing to do, don a persona (makeup not required!) and go pull a stunt.

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