Posted by: Montola | December 21, 2009

Pervasive Larps in Playground Worlds

The previous book we edited with Jaakko, Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games is now online and available for free download. It includes several papers on pervasive larps, which are probably of interest to the readers of this blog.

Bjarke Pedersen and Lars Munck write Walking the White Road: A Trip to the Hobo Dream, a story on a six-person larp in the form of homeless vagrants walking Danish countryside on a quest to bury their friend. They dressed up as Danish road knights, drank copious amounts of alcohol and walked for a few days. The problem? In some point, when every outsider treats you like a hobo — you look like one, you smell like one, you act like one, you are slightly drunk like one — there’s no stepping out of the character anymore.

Matthijs Holter writes Exhuming Agabadan, a post-mortem story of an ARGlike pervasive larp on inner development, ways of seeing the world and playing alone. The game would have striken a chord with the artistic statement Martin Ericsson wrote for Pervasive Games, except that the vision of Agabadan failed to become reality. Holter’s strikingly honest post mortem may help you avoid the mistakes of Agabadan.

Marie Denward and Annika Waern write Broadcast Culture Meets Role-Playing Culture, a story on how the pervasive game of Sanningen om Marika was created and developed in a collaboration of people from two very different cultures: People with backgrounds in television and larp coming together, trying to build something that is not television nor a larp.

360° immersion in Dragonbane

In addition to these three, there are numerous cool stories that touch upon the themes discussed in Pervasive Games. For instance, J. Tuomas Harviainen discusses the Happenings in the context of larp, also reflecting them against the ideals and practices of pervasive larp. Johanna Koljonen writes a detailed account of Dragonbane, the most ambitious attempt at creating 360° illusion in larp so far. In a similar vein, Heidi Hopeametsä discusses immersive playstyle in her story of Ground Zero, a 24-hour larp about weathering a nuclear holocaust in a bomb shelter.

Playground Worlds was published in Solmukohta 2008. We covered this year’s book, called Larp, the Universe and Everything, earlier.

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