Welcome to the second volume of NEIL’s Game Wrap—a publication dedicated to the art and craft of LARP. It has been a year of adjustment and changes as we’ve worked to bring you this sophomore effort and continue to think about what Game Wrap could be, how to realize that vision, how to carry it through logistically and what role it plays in the New England larp community and beyond. We have expanded our staff and streamlined our process, and look forward to more growth as we put our efforts into supporting authors and encouraging writing about larp as a complementary endeavor to writing and playing in larps.
The landscape of larp has seen much change in the last decade, and there is a sense of acceleration and momentum to that growth. There has been greater public visibility of LARP and its uses from coverage in the Business Insider1, teaching LARP basics in a Lexington summer camp, to even news of plans for a Disney Star Wars immersive resort where guests costume and roleplay in the stories set in the Star Wars universe2.
Larp is education, larp is in tourism, larp is news, larp is activism. At the same time it can be easy to feel disconnected and left out of the loop of the innovative developments in larp, if one maintains larp as a hobby balanced against the rest of one’s obligations. I’ve felt this firsthand as I moved across the country and plunged into a different local larp culture with its own norms and traditions. Larp publications, like all publications, can serve as a way to connect with a particular community and more so for communities largely separated by geography and differing larp cultures. They are a way to connect intellectually and share ideas, and for a reader a way to learn something new.
One goal for Game Wrap has been to provide such an opportunity to share the NE larp culture and foster a cultural cross-pollination that helps develop larp as a pastime and an art form. Another goal, in support of the first, is to provide another avenue for the development of larp culture in giving space for more long-form and slower discussion of a topic than in the delightful spur of the moment conversations late into a con evening or even a moderated discussion at NELCO. We believe that creating this space gives us a way to deepen a culture of reflexivity and analysis in the NE larp community, and allows us to learn about the great variety and creativity of thought and design behind our favorite games.
It has been personally exciting to think along with one of the author’s included in this volume about the work of creating “truth” within the artifice of playing pretend, to learn from another of the experiences at Peaky Midwest about the challenges of teaching others how to write a game, to get a glimpse into the larp traditions being developed internationally and how they tackle familiar problems of immersion and engagement in familiar and innovative ways, and to notice the wealth of community building expertise represented by all the authors. It has also been illuminating to see how limitations can drive creativity and how good things sometimes really do come in small packages in our selection of some ingenious micro larps.
Take a read through this second volume, enjoy, question, and critique. Talk to your friends. By all means, disagree. And then add your own thoughts and expertise to the discussion, in Vol. 3. We at Game Wrap believe that it will enrich us all and continue to expand the scope of what larp can be.
Renfro, Kim. “'Harry Potter’ fans are living out their fantasies at a real-Life school for wizards.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 23 Jan. 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/harry-potter-annual-larp-event-in-poland-2016-1 ↩
Fickley-Baker, Jennifer. “Plans Unveiled for Star Wars–Inspired Themed Resort at Walt Disney World.” Disney Parks Blog, 15 July 2017, http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2017/07/plans-unveiled-for-star-wars-inspired-themed-resort-at-walt-disney-world/ ↩