No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Nordic LARP, edited by Stenros & Montola

Nordic LARP is a remarkable tome. Huge in format, and broad in the scope of the LARPs contained therein, covering many of the most famous and infamous LARPs of the Scandinavian scene. Enigma rightly prides itself on the wide variety of games we've run, but clearly the Nordic folk have pushed things farther in many, many directions, some of them inspiring, some of them... explain my use of the No Wanking icon. Not that I didn't know of the general nature of the Nordic scene beforehand, but the book provides a concrete and condensed exhibit of countless person-years of Nordic LARP. aaronjv pushed the book into my hands, all but chanting "one of us, one of us". Many thanks to him for the loan.

The book covers some 30 or so different LARPs each commented on by someone associated with the game, and lavishly illustrated. Some provide play by play, while others delve into the underlying philosophy. It's kind of pointless for me to review reviews, so instead, I'm going to make a list of the games I'd want to have played in (or designed (with the caveat that most of these games have budgets that run to the tens of thousands of euros, far in excess of anything I ever have attempted, or am ever likely to attempt. Many have multi-day run-times, not to mention the multiple mandatory preparatory workshops. These things are just out of my league. Not that budget or length are in any way necessary proxies for quality.))

Föreningen Visionära Vetenskapsmäns Årliga Kongress: I love scientists, and I love nuts, and I really love nutty scientists. The meeting of mad scientists was held on a ferry crossing between Sweden and Finland, and players mingled to some extent with the other passengers.

Zombie: Rædslernes Nat: Nazi Zombies in an awesome location. I would pee my pants. In a good way.

Silmäpuoli merirosvo: Something like ARRRRRRrrrrr Pirates, only moreso.

System Danmarc: Simply awesome. They built a squatter village out of shipping containers, for some gritty near-future nastiness. And then they played a little OOG trick on their players.

Prosopopeia Bardo 2: Momentum: A five week LARP, with spirits taking over the players to carry out their strange rituals here and there across the city. A similar idea has been bobbing around in my head for a while.

Knappnålshuvudet: mainly for the idea of having 'guardian angels' that offer certain kinds of direction to the players. And again we have some crazy people and dubious therapists... an almost certain lure for me.

Panopticorp: Satire of modern corporate culture, media saturation, and the way crappy bizspeak neologisms can channel your brain. "the projects accelerated to an absurd crescendo, topped of [sic] with the Chicken McNakbah-project, designed to foster hatred against Arabs and promote anti-Semitism around the world."

As an experiment, I can make use of the handy chart in the book to tell me what kind of LARP styles I apparently like. The chart analyzes each of the LARPs on several differents scales. Oh nuts, there's too many categories to make this very useful. Probably it's better for picking out the styles I don't like. No votes for Dogma 99, not that there were many to choose from. No votes for War or Historical. Not that I really have anything against historical LARP in theory, but as reflected in the more extreme end of the Nordic-style it can become: "Endless discussions about wool and linen, sewing techniques and authentic ways of tanning leather can be heard whenever two [LARPers] get together. There is always at least an implicit propping competition going on. ... [We] sought to turn the snobbism into a positive force. The organizers helped the players with costumes by providing advance information and organizing sewing workshops."
That's just not for me.

And I'm not too keen on the most 'extreme' 'weird' 'political' 'art' 'larp's, though it does make me want to create Nordic LARP: the LARP. 49 hours of wallowing in our collective guilt for the Holocaust, in a plexiglass cube infested with Sumatran cockroaches. Somehow it's more palatable as meta-LARP. Who's in?

More seriously, there's plenty of interesting ideas here to respectfully homage rip off.
Tags: art, book, game, history, insanity, larp

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