The Arts of LARP

Design, Literacy, Learning and Community in Live-Action Role Play


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About the Book

This ethnography of a live-action role play (LARP) community examines the structure of play, how new participants are introduced and apprenticed into the culture, player expectations and motivations, and games as they are designed and as they are performed. The main focus is on LARP’s affordance for learning across a variety of disciplines and interests. The book is intended for LARP participants, academics interested in play or in collaborative development, those interested in new uses of familiar learning environments, and game developers with an interest in creating games with highly interactive narratives and co-creative play experiences in which the role of designer and player is blurred.

About the Author(s)

David Simkins is an assistant professor of game design and development in the School of Interactive Games and Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is active in the assessment of learning in games, and is a founding member of the Learning and Educational Games (LEG) SIG of the IGDA and the Games, Learning and Society (GLS) group at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He lives in Rochester, New York.

Bibliographic Details

David Simkins

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9601-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1730-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction: On Studying LARP 3
1.  What Is Live-Action Role Play? 7
2.  A Definition of Role Play 40
3.  Role Play as a Tool for Learning 58
4.  Story 66
5.  Rules 74
6.  Environment 98
7.  Play 106
8.  Character 125
9.  World 142
10.  Theme 152
11.  LARP as a Literacy Practice 162
12.  LARP and Empathy 168
13.  Critical Ethical Reasoning 180
14.  Uses of Technology in LARP 187
Appendix: Methods 193
Bibliography 203
Index 213