― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
When I came to realize that this spring marks my official ten years of LARP-iversary, I did a lot of thinking about how I have changed as a LARPer, the various experiences I have had, and where my future lies in the community. Over several months I have been jotting down thoughts into a journal about larp theory, my experience, the changes I have seen in the world of LARP and I am now in the process of organizing all of those ideas and stories, memories, and critiques into something I am excited to share.
In these ten years, I have been a player, I have been a staffer, I have directed my own game and many little roles in the middle. I have done boffer larp, theatre larp, and other more experimental designs that lie somewhere in between. LARP has caused me to hone skills I had before, and pick up new skills I never dreamed I would love. I have seen a lot of drama, a lot of breakdowns in communication, and a lot of failures. I have also seen beautiful friendships blossom out of this shared experience, people grow and evolve their ethics based on the challenges presented in fiction, and I have seen people successfully use social tools they attained through LARP to get them through issues in real life, be it public speaking, or conflict management, or social anxiety, the list is incredible. LARP is a valuable mechanism for fun, and for growth, a creative outlet, a social network, a community.
A sampling of some of my personas throughout the years.
Sometimes I hear people say “I have been LARPing for fifteen years and this is the way we have always done it, so it’s the RIGHT way.” I have always found those people to be a little tiresome because I find the idea of LARPing the same way for fifteen years and not changing or evolving to be a sign that one is doing it wrong, not that they are an expert. Now I am never going to claim to be an expert, I do not feel there are any LARP experts. I think LARP is an experience where we can all teach each other new tricks, and I think that I may be able to add something positive to the constant learning process by adding my voice.
LARP is quite frankly the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I have so many stories and thoughts to share.