After several months without a post, I have finally accepted the inevitable, that I simply lack the discipline to commit to a regular blog on a single topic every week. I have therefore decided to resurrect the blog by incorporating more of my writing activity on other topic areas, including reflections on the everyday aspects of academic life and research writing on other topics.
Recently, there has been a rush of interest in the Treasure Trapped LARP documentary and the Scandinavian LARP Panopticorp. I still find these things interesting and will blog about them where possible. This week I have mostly been reading up on social science fieldwork and the production of ethnography. Ethnography, generally speaking, is an attempt to study and portray cultures and sub-cultures. Journalist writing such as Lizzie Stark’s book is one of the areas in which the academic and the popular overlap, and this can be considered a sort of ethnography. My fieldwork reflections on LARP always came from the perspective of being a LARPer first, and social scientist second, so because of that the tales I can (or am willing to tell) are from a more native, and in a sense less ‘scientific’ perspective. However, I did use techniques to try to create a bit of distance between my experience and reflection, and it’s techniques I see role players using all the time (and if you check out the Panopticorp video you will find them there). One technique is to imagine explaining your actions to a very different audience (and people may distinguish between character roles and players here). Another is to try to closely examine the emotions experienced during and after the game, especially reflecting on times when you were just in a good ‘flow’, ‘in the zone’, or ‘effortlessly in character’. Personally, I especially find this an occurrence in horror LARP.
So I have found the Panopticorp video interesting, in particular because the player’s reflections have made me think a bit more about what I take away from a game besides whether it was fun or not. Also, it seems to be common practice in ‘Scandi-LARP’ to have these debriefing sessions both during and after the game. These seem to be really valuable to players and to game organisers, but I also think it’s important to stress the overwhelming preference in UK LARP for action. While I may well write a future post on this at length, some readers might want to look at this blog where the author reflects on the sheer beauty of doing LARP.