Welcome to the inaugural volume of Game Wrap, a magazine devoted to the art and craft of LARP. Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am the magazine’s founder and first Editor-In-Chief (self-appointed, how else?), Viktoriya Fuzaylova. I would like to take up some space here to tell you a little about this publication, how it came into being, and what we, the staff, hope it can be. I want to highlight some of what you can find in this volume and some of the decisions about format that were made during the process of putting it together. Finally, I would like to issue my personal thanks to all those who took this volume from a con-high-fueled fantasy to a glossy-paged reality.
The idea itself grew from some thoughts flitting around in my mind after Intercon O about the tremendous amount of work and creativity that goes into Iron GM games, many of which never run again. And wouldn’t it be interesting to read them, and maybe something about them? And wouldn’t it be interesting if some of the conversations that happen at Pre-con panels got to go further and deeper with the benefit of some focused writing? And wouldn’t it be great if there was a publication focused on the nitty-gritty of LARP writing, running, and playing? Pretty soon I was pitching the idea to New England Interactive Literature’s (NEIL)’s board of directors. Pretty soon I was talking to a group of people who said a resounding “Yes!” and wanted to jump in with me to make it happen. We agreed that there was a need for a reflective and analytical approach to pulling together the vast amount of experience and tricks-of-the-trade that have been accumulating as LARP developed, as well as a critical consideration of what LARP can do and be.
It has been an exciting, challenging, and dynamic process of figuring out the latter and learning, of course, experientially. We decided early on that we wanted the magazine to be inclusive of the wide variety of games and role-play traditions that exist in our community and to welcome new influences. This brought up a fascinating and multifaceted debate about community identity and evolving language as exemplified by the differences in how the word LARP/larp is spelled and used. (For more on that, see one of our editors’ blogs.) You may notice that within its pages Game Wrap includes both.
We discussed how the written materials that comprise a game can also be viewed as an artifact for study of what is necessarily an experiential medium. We resolved to include examples of such materials in full to allow the reader of the accompanying articles to interact with them both the way a player and a scholar might. We very quickly discovered that writing about LARP required a way to reference and credit games and particular runs of games, a necessity that was not covered in any of our writing classes. Meeting this demand, one of our staff editors developed a style guide extension. We are still finding our way as Game Wrap takes on shape, and welcome all thoughts, ideas, and especially contributions.
In this first issue you will find examinations of character types, helpful reflections on running games, a rare glimpse into someone else’s writing process, a reflection on a game system you may not have encountered before, a chance to read an edu-LARP from France and learn about the challenges and triumphs of running it, an examination of the local culture of secrecy, and much more.
If, as you peruse these pages, you are finding yourself brimming over with ideas for what new topics could be addressed, pour that thought and enthusiasm into a shapely summary, go to our website and submit it for Volume 2.
Finally, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in helping this volume see the light of day. First, and foremost, that goes to my staff — my fellow editors (Adina, Brian, Phoebe, Stephen), our helpful webmaster Nat, and our creative designer Kathleen, who have all volunteered oodles of time, thoughtfulness, dedication, teamwork and humility to this project. I want to thank NEIL as a whole and NEIL Board members for their unreserved encouragement and trust. I want to express my gratitude and respect to all the authors who contributed ideas and articles, for their courage in putting their thoughts out for all to enjoy and their patience with us as we find our way. And I thank everyone in our extended community who helped spread the word, who checked in on the progress, offered suggestions and support, and generally made Game Wrap seem possible until it was possible. Thank you.
With that, I leave you to your reading. I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I have.
Yours in words and play,
Editor-In-Chief, Game Wrap