Interaction Codes – Understanding and Establishing Patterns in Player Improvisation, Eirik Fatland

Basically, this is a straight up work of genius that breaks down how larps actually work, and how you as a designer can work with the quirks of the medium instead of against them. Read it.

Appeared in Role, Play, Art (free pdf at the link) in 2006

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Supernatural S05E09: The Real Ghostbusters

SupernaturalThe show as a whole: “Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as “hunters” fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.” (from imdb)

The episode: At this point, the show had already established a meta-ish plot where there (for supernatural reasons) exists a pulp urban fantasy book series that exactly mirror the main characters lives. In this episode, they happen upon a con dedicated to the books, that also includes a larp.

It’s a fun episode, but it’s more on point about general geek culture than how larping is actually done (American con-larpers, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).

Also: There are two newer episodes called “The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” and “LARP and the Real Girl”, both guest starring Felicia Day, but I’m a few seasons behind and haven’t seen them yet.

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Community S02E14: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

Community
The show as a whole: “A smarmy lawyer, whose education is deemed void by the bar, is forced to attend a local community college with an extremely eclectic staff and student body.”

The episode: “The study group plays Dungeons & Dragons with another classmate to improve his spirits, but Pierce’s jealousies cause their good intentions to backfire.”

In my personal view, this episode shows a remarkably low level of geek shaming for a mainstream TV production. It’s also startingly accurate in portraying how RPGs are actually played.

Here’s a clip from the episode.

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The Threefold Model FAQ, John Kim

This is actually a model for tabletop roleplaying and not for larp, but it (and bastard versions of it) has been very influential on the language discussing nordic larp – among other things, the term “gamist” originated here. There is a “to-nordic-larp-adaptation” of the model in As Larp Grows Up, but I would recommend going straight to the source material.

Published on the web in 1998, available online here.

Further reading: A critique of the model from a tabletop perspective, written in 2003.

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The Dogma 99 Manifesto, Eirik Fatland & Lars Wingård

This narrativist manifesto is a play on the (at the time reasonably current) film maker manifesto Dogme 95. Especially interesting to read in combination with The Manifesto of the Turku School that was published in the same book.

Appeared in As Larp Grows Up in 2003 (a free pdf of the book can be found at the link).

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The Manifesto of the Turku School, Mike Pohjola

This doesn’t fall under “a good read” so much as “good to have read”.

If you steel yourself against the Knutpunkt-style writing (self indulgent, pretentious, way too many in-jokes etc) there’s some interesting stuff here. You should probably be familiar with the threefold model first though. Also don’t miss The Dogma 99 Manifesto for context.

Appeared in As Larp Grows Up in 2003.

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Huge S01E03: Live Action Role Play

huge“Funny, heartbreaking and provocative, Huge follows the lives of seven teens and the staff at a weight-loss camp, as they look beneath the surface to discover their true selves and the truth about each other.” (synopsis from imdb.com)

In the third episode one of the girls, who happens to be a larper, sets up a game for her fellow campers with mixed results.

First aired July 12th 2010.

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