Thursday, February 18, 2010

LARP, American Style

LARPing is way more prominent and more socially acceptable in Europe. There could be a lot of different reasons, but I would most likely blame it on the culture shock in the US around LARPing.

I'm sure everyone's read the nerd heirachy in some form or another, and it almost always has LARP at the bottom of the barrel.  I tend to disagree.

Yes, it's nerdy. However, it's not necessarily more nerdy than Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft. There's just a connotation associated with LARPs that focuses on the most nerdy of the LARPers. On one hand, we have the Lightning Bolt video on Youtube, forever imprinting the minds of outsiders as to what LARP is. On the other hand, you have movies like Monster Camp that go further saying "Not only are these nerds bad in game, they're basically unable to function in society."

So is this perception the reason LARP has never gone mainstream? It's definitely a part of the cause, but I don't think it's the biggest impact.

The biggest problem is that there is very little support between games. We have people who are super protective of the game they play (Level up, fight monsters, save the princess) and immediately find fault or reasons not to play other games (where you level up, fight monsters, and save the princess).

In order for the US to embrace the LARP phenominon, we need to unite all Larpers under one banner. Higher numbers means more money, which means a more professional product, which brings more visibility, which brings higher numbers.

What is the one thing that (most) LARPs have in common? Boffer Combat. Rules regarding how one takes damage might vary, but any LARPer (who doesn't do WoD or something else political) will know how to use it.

There's got to be a way to unite under that banner.

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