Anti-LARP?

Wraith

Newbie
Eh. When it comes down to it, we just have to face facts. We have an uncool hobby. It isn't ever going to be mainstream, because it is a bit silly, when you look at it hard. Lots of fun for those who can relax and play without being self-conscious about their dignity, but it isn't something that I relish explaining to my co-workers, or that I would want to introduce to a new significant other unless she happened to be an incredible nerd like myself. ;)

This is always going to be a limiting factor on the public perception of the hobby. Much like the mental image that goes with D&D, the shut-ins with their cheetohs and Mountain Dew in someone's Mom's basement, there's always going to be the perception that LARP is something vaguely unsavory that the weird kids do.

What it would take to change this? Production values can help. Renfaires are mainstream these days, after all, so the costuming aspect doesn't really raise eyebrows. Most people, however, are really thrown by trying to imagine the guy in the sweats and tabard with a bit of green makeup rubbed on an a couple pieces of plumbing supply as this :



It breaks their suspension of disbelief, and suddenly they're in the woods with a bunch of sweaty LARP kids trying to desperately say numbers faster, not fighting a pitched battle against invading orcs. Long-time players tend to be those who can keep that suspension despite all the faulty trappings, but looking silly is to most people like a cold bath to a cat. And there is nothing sillier than pretending to be scared of the rejects from a 3rd grade halloween party.
 
Personal PoV: Football is pretty silly. To the uninitiated, it appears nothing so much as enormous, costumed men attempting to crush the ever-loving sense out of one another for the express purpose of moving an awkward "ball" back and forth across a field with paint on the grass to make it easier. And those guys make millions of dollars if their good at it. Once you grow to understand the game, and become an accomplished viewer, the silliness falls away and instead you see a display of astonishing athleticism in concert with an extraordinary battle of tactics and training, by teams of dedicated professionals, virtually all of whom have been training since circa age ten.

Of course, football as the advantage of being an organized team sport, which our culture places a pretty high value on. Very few players, I imagine, spend halftime talking about how to defeat the enemy quarter back by discussing if he requires silver to hit or not. I think a lot of people in this thread have already said that part of the stigma against LARPing is that it grows out of D&D and other tabletop games, which kind of picked up the reputation as something done by the kids who weren't strong/fast/handsome/reckless enough for football.

I personally feel that if people can shell out to see Braveheart and spend weeks preparing to watch the Superbowl, then they can learn to appreciate watching our game, as well. It doesn't help that we don't have hundreds of millions of dollars in production values and roughly a century of tradition based on over a century of a somewhat different tradition and hours upon hours of pre/post analysis to better explain and legitimize the game, but I feel we honestly have an exciting game that I am learning to enjoy watching as well as play. And I think we actually end up with less downtime than televised football.

If we could just get John Madden on board...
 

Jevedor

Fighter
Asheville Staff
Dan Nickname Beshers said:
And I think we actually end up with less downtime than televised football.
I dunno. I think it depends on how many people with glasses are playing the event...
 

markusdark

Knight
RiddickDale said:
For sake of curiosity though.

How would *YOU* counteract it?

What kind of good press would YOU use if you were the one in charge?

Cheers,

Stephen
For me? It would have been to get the dang Lightning Bolt guy onto Tosh.0 and explain in greater detail what LARPing is about. When people only see the 15-45 seconds of strange battle calls, thrown bean bags and low production valued monster reps, it borders on the edge of needing people with white coats. Tosh would have given the guy a couple of minutes to explain more about LARPing, what was going on, how the fun is happening and so on.

All we need is someone to discuss it with an interviewer who isn't out to try and make us look even more foolish than we are right now (which, believe it or not Tosh doesn't do - he tries to get to the heart of the clips shown). Perhaps somehow getting a good LARPing representative on the Colbert Report would work - seeing as how he is an old time D&D player.

I actually just had a 'discussion' with a WW2 reenactor who felt that LARPing was stupid. He wasn't happy when I pointed out the only difference between his events and ours is that we don't have a blank firing equivalent to "Pew pew! I got you. Nuh-uh! I got you first! No way, I was totally behind the cover, your bullet would have never hit me. But I'm a leet sniper!"
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
You can create a promo w/o actuauly showing the product. Video games do it all the time. I have submitted a few of them (a while ago, I will try and resubmit them) where there are no game play what so ever and others where there is. One where we see a couple gearing up for game. Its all how you spin it. We don't want to mislead the viewer but we also don't want to show a shot of one guy throwing a packet at another guy. There is no "eye candy" sort of speak, nothing to grab the viewer. We want to create a product (the video) that will grab the viewer as they are walking by a Alliance booth at a convention and go, "hey? What the hell is that?" Again I will look for them and resubmit them.

-David-
 

Talen

Adept
Ondreij said:
I'm not sure if i am repeating some things which have been said here, already.

I did an experiment. I searched YouTube for "LARP". What do YOU see when you watch these videos?

Number one on the Hit Parade -- Scantily clad Blue People playing an Avatar LARP in Hometree Wisconsin. Even *I* think they are kind of strange.
You should. The group in question isn't LARPing, it's a comedy troupe. Sadly, most people who watch it won't realize this...even many LARPers. :cry:
 

markusdark

Knight
Talen said:
You should. The group in question isn't LARPing, it's a comedy troupe. Sadly, most people who watch it won't realize this...even many LARPers. :cry:
Myself included. DOH! Probably would have realized it if I had the sound on...
 

Michiko

Adept
See to me the crazy talk, and what made the sketch funny, was them expressing the belief that they were blue aliens, not people playing a game.

I mean most of the makeup looked really good! It was when they opened their mouths that it started to get really wierd. But then we may again be hitting the barrier between what is wierd for a larper vs. a non-larper. But there are times putting on funky makeup IS socially acceptable.
 

GunFodder

Newbie
Speaking of youtube videos that might actually promote larping, I remember seeing this advertisement for latex swords last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuTM_MmUlnY

Sure, the combat is choreographed and totally unsafe for this game, but it's still a video, a "commercial" no less, of people playing in the woods with foam swords. The company has a couple more of these advertisements on their youtube channel.

It's one of the few advertisements you'll ever see for our hobby, and it's done pretty well.

On a personal note, this video pretty much nails the wonderful mental image I had for larping when I first started. I'm not gonna lie, it kind of makes me a little nostalgic for my first days in this hobby.
 

jpariury

Duke
The way you might want to advertise the game is never the way the game is actually played, and the way the game is actually played doesn't really make for good advertising. I really dislike those kinds of ads because of the disconnect they create between the expectation they set up and the reality of the game.
 

Hammerfist

Artisan
So I guess the question is "How do we market the intangibles?" i.e. that feeling you get when immersed in a moment without setting an unreal expectation of experience.
 

jpariury

Duke
Make the intangibles more tangible by improving the production value of what we do.

Right now, if I had to market what we do vs. what we imagine, I'd need to show two guys in green hockey masks and tabards wielding tube pipes coming out of the woods. You'd pan into a POV from the player's perspective and then morph the guys in tabards into green gobliny beasties carrying steel. But then you end up making the players out to look like delusional psychotics.

Instead, I say start by making your goblins look more gobliny. Spend more time making sure even your most crunchy fodder looking top notch with latex, foam, and makeup. Make the shift from boffer tubes to latex sculpted. The more seriously you take the tangible bits, the more seriously outsiders will view it as interactive improvisational theatre, vs dorks trying to be cooler than they are. A good example of what we should be striving for is West World (minus the psychotic killer robot, naturally) .

My personal hope is to start looking more and more into safe special effects that I can bring into the game.
 
I'm not sure it's really possible for us to mainstream our game with donation and volunteer based resources and Peter Jackson setting the bar for what a goblin should look like. In all seriousness, our pastime doesn't translate that well into the visual media because watching something on youtube does almost nothing for suspension of disbelief, and no chapter has the resources and time to put together something as convincing and moving as Dorkness Rising, let alone The Two Towers. I really feel like the best bet at convincing other gamers with concerns is to remind them that a more immersive world provides better role play, and that the combat is to Oblivion what paintball is to Counterstrike.

The bottom line is that the game does and will always require an active imagination to get anything past "hit people with foam" out of it, and that society as a whole frowns on that sort of thing past age 9.

From 1990 through 1999, the best seller lists were dominated by Grisham, Clancy, King and Crichton, none of whom is known for writing high fantasy. Of them, only Crichton even writes Science Fiction, and his tends to be near future stuff. Oh, yeah, and Danielle Steel got at least one of the top 10 bestselling novels every year, at least two in seven years, and three of them in three separate years. In 1997 she had the third, fourth and fifth best selling books. So maybe if we convinced people we had more lawyers, spies, and above all thinly veiled romantic liaisons, we could get our attendance up.

Personally, I could give a toot. Smaller games allow people to know each other better, and create greater feelings of camaraderie. I prefer playing with people I know to be good role players, safe fighters, knowledgeable of the rules and above all honest. Again, this may just be natural pessimism, but I don't really see that spiking a sudden interest in the game would dramatically improve it. Adding a few new people a game keeps standards high and allows people to be surrounded by others who have played for a while and can help them when they get stuck. If half the players at an event were first timers, nothing would get done for the holds being called.

Not everyone will share my opinions, but I hope people will at least see that there are plenty of people out there who will refuse to see us as legitimate hobbyists even if given the chance, and we are better served finding, recruiting and training people who will be good players than apologizing to people who don't want to get it.
 
I kinda agree with you Dan. Well said.
 

Talen

Adept
jpariury said:
Make the intangibles more tangible by improving the production value of what we do.

Instead, I say start by making your goblins look more gobliny. Spend more time making sure even your most crunchy fodder looking top notch with latex, foam, and makeup. Make the shift from boffer tubes to latex sculpted. The more seriously you take the tangible bits, the more seriously outsiders will view it as interactive improvisational theatre, vs dorks trying to be cooler than they are. A good example of what we should be striving for is West World (minus the psychotic killer robot, naturally) .

My personal hope is to start looking more and more into safe special effects that I can bring into the game.
I've said it many times- people are visual creatures. Improve the visuals, and the suspension of disbelief (for the PC's AND NPC's) needed is reduced.



"You see a bunch of orcs."



"You see a bunch of orcs."

Now, you're not going to get #2 reasonably for large number of NPC's, but better than #1? Certainly.
 

markusdark

Knight
The thing is that the more interest we have in the game, the further it could go. Right now, the hobby is beginning to get nibbles here and there from the entertainment industry since the movie Role Models came out. Since then, the LARP Alliance has been contacted by two TV shows, three different production companies to show at movie premieres and a dozen or so more indy films and documentaries. However, only about a fifth of these have been processed through. The two main reasons being that either there weren't enough LARPers to cover the needs or that those that could do it wouldn't because of the stigma associated with being a LARPer. Imagine the message that sends to people - even the participants are embarassed about what they do.

The more that it is looked at and accepted, the more it will travel. Paintball was a sport that was just done in the woods by a bunch of wanna-be soldiers. Now, it is a televised sport with sponsored teams. Imagine having such a thing as a 'professional LARPer' working on teams for televised contests set against some of the best written fiction. Yes, it is my dream (albeit a pipe dream with the antipathy from the hobby) to see a Dream Park situation before I die.
 

Alavatar

Baron
Talen said:


"You see a bunch of orcs."

Now, you're not going to get #2 reasonably for large number of NPC's, but better than #1? Certainly.
What does it take (in dollars and space) to get this type of Monster Camp assuming 6 outfits per monster?

This is a serious question. I would really like to look into this. I am thinking a cube van will be needed for transportation... The cargo van I have barely holds the miniscule MC of Alliance Seattle.
 

Robb G

Baron
i keep thinking about the European larps that have playable villain races and PC wars. If you think about it, an NPC camp, as awesome as it could ever be run, probably could not generate a more developed and greater looking re-occurring villain than a PC could. Perhaps if there were actual PC evil out there trying to destroy the town or whatever, with their own COPs and rituals and perhaps segregated plot, mods and wave battles, it might be a very different game. granted you need alot more people to pull that off and very large grounds to keep the factions apart... but it makes me wonder..
 

markusdark

Knight
Alavatar said:
What does it take (in dollars and space) to get this type of Monster Camp assuming 6 outfits per monster?
Assume that each costume would fill up one average plastic tote box ((L x W x H): 15.6" x 23.5" x 12.1"). This doesn't include the weapons. The masks would cost you around $60 on the cheap end although you might be able to find a deal somewhere. Costumes themselves look like they are a mix of latex, metal, fur and cloth. I'd say each one would cost on average $40 worth of materials.

What needs to be figured in on these though is how long they'll be on stage. Something like that looks really cool if it's around for a while but if you just run into them on a module, cut them down, loot their corpses and move on, it's really not worth the time, effort and money involved to make them or even dress up the NPC (which would take at least 2 hours per NPC to do it right).
 
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