Archive for the ‘RPG’ Category

A few days ago Analog Game Studies published “The Mixing Desk of Larp: History and Current State of a Design Theory”. This article explains a design theory for creating and thinking about live action role-playing. The Mixing Desk of Larp model with its thirteen faders, developed to teach larp design at the annual Larpwriter Summers School (LWSS) in Lithuania, is explained in detail. The model has been developed as a community effort and its current form is contextualized in its history, in the general history of role-play related design theory, and the play tradition the model emerged in. It is a long article that I wrote with the creators of the Mixing Desk, Martin Andresen and Martin Nielsen.



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21591855529_f7d9e538fd_zTwo weeks ago, on Sunday 20th of September, we stepped into the fantasy world of office stock photos. Eleven people left behind this flawed world and instead inhabited a world of dynamic team work, joyous camaraderie, and the security of all things forever trending upwards. This was the larp Täydellinen ihminen (Eng. The Perfect Human), played in Helsinki.

21788299311_fb4b4f98ff_zAlthough I’ve played role-playing games since the late 1980s, larped since the mid-1990s, and studied role-playing games for almost a decade, I rarely actually design, create, or run role-playing games. Täydellinen ihminen is only the second larp where I have a role in the design. It seems to me that many game scholars have a wish, sometimes hidden, that they’d rather design than study kick-ass games. I am not like that. I love just studying, evaluating, documenting, contextualizing, and understanding the works of others. But sometimes there just is a concept or an idea too juicy to stay away from.


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SuomenPelimuseoSuomen pelimuseo avataan itsenäisyyden juhlavuonna, tammikuussa 2017 Tampereelle. Pelimuseon joukkorahoituskampanja päättyi eilen, ja se onnistui yli odotusten. Museo keräsi yli 85.000 euroa lahjoituksina, mikä on suurin joukkorahoituspalvelu Mesenaattin kautta kasattu summa.

Minulla oli kunnia olla mukana Tampereella puhumassa joukkorahoituskampanjan julkistustilaisuudessa Vapriikissa 31. maaliskuuta. Pidin siellä lyhyen puheen. Julkaisen sen nyt tässä Suomen pelimuseon varmistumisen kunniaksi.

Suomalainen leikin ja pelin tutkimus varjoteatterista roolipeleihin

Tunnumme elävän pelien kultakautta. Pelit, erityisesti digitaaliset sellaiset, tulevat vastaan olohuoneessa ja luokkahuoneessa, kulttuuri- ja taloussivuilla, työssä ja vapaalla. Pelit valtaavat kaikki uudet digitaaliset alustat, mutta samalla eletään myös lautapelien uutta nousua. Pelit halutaan myös valjastaa hyötykäyttöön, oli sitten kysymys pelillistämisestä tai pelioppimisesta. Elektroninen urheilu nostaa suosiotaan, ja ammattipelaamisen eri muodot vilkkuvat nuorison haaveissa. Pelit eivät tietenkään liity vain haaveisiin, vaan myös pelkoihin. Ongelmapelaamisesta puhutaan, samoin addiktiosta – ja toisaalta digitaalisista kuiluista. Ei siis ihme, että viime vuosina on alettu puhua ’pelien vuosisadasta’, ’pelaajien yhteiskunnasta’ ja ’kulttuurin leikillistymisestä’. Pelit ja leikki paitsi tuntuvat tulevan vastaan joka käänteessä, ne ovat yksi avain tämän aikakauden käsittämiseen.


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Aesthetics of Action

Alibis for Interaction 2013

Alibis for Interaction, a new conference on experience design, was held last week for the first time in Landskrona, Sweden. I gave a talk called Living The Story, Free to Choose – Participant Agency in Co-Created Worlds. The idea of aesthetics of action is something that emerged in discussions with Johanna MacDonald (she started the discussion). We did a pecha kucha on the topic at the Stage theatre festival in Helsinki in 2010. She talked about it at Nordic Larp Talks in 2012 (see the video) and I’ve talked on this topic at  Death Animations at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2012.  However, nothing has been published on the topic thus far. Here is the text of my talk.


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Photo by Johannes Axner

Last night I gave a keynote speech at Nordic Larp Talks in Oslo, Norway, on “Nordic Larp”. You can find a video of the presentation from the NLT site, but I decided to publish my script here as well. I may go back and add clarifications and point out further reading later, or I may not.

What Does “Nordic Larp” Mean?

What is a “Nordic Larp”? What does “Nordic Larp” mean? What do we mean by that expression?

The question used to be academic or trivial. Five years ago no one cared about what counted as a “Nordic Larp”. That has changed. Now the term has brand value. It is worth something — and thus there is something at play in determining what it means.

If you brand something “Nordic Larp” you might get cool indie cred in the US. Or by advertising something as Nordic Larp you might get players who want to try something a little different.

For us in the Nordic scene, for a long while we could use the expression US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (1964) used to define pornography, “I know it when I see it”. However, not even we can agree on it anymore, and this kind of a definition just angers people who are coming from the outside trying to understand what it is that we find so awesome.


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Some Progress and an Award

There is progress with the dissertation. Though most of the time it seems that every answers just leads to new questions just as reading a new books always just underlines how many more books remain unread, it seems that I have most of the articles ready. Before diving into writing the remaining two I am working on the introduction. Luckily the Pirkanmaa regional fund of the Finnish Cultural Foundation awarded me with a six month grant, so I can concentrate solely on the big D until January.

In other news, I was awarded, together with Markus Montola, the Ropecon lifetime achievement award Kultainen lohikäärme (Golden Dragon) for the work we have done in researching role-playing games. Though I find it funny to receive a lifetime achievement award before completing doctoral studies, I am humbled. It is one thing to win praise from the academic community and quite another to be seen as relevant and worthy by the role-playing tribe, who are not only passionate, but often also terribly critical of anything not instantly practical. Thank you.

Photo stolen from mrksaari.

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Nordic Larp Is Out!

Nordic Larp is finally published! This book has been my dream for years and for the past 18 months I’ve been working with Markus Montola (and Anna Westerling, Anders Hultman,Tommi Kovala and numerous others) on it. The finished product finally arrived from the press a few days before x-mas.

The book is a hefty. It explains what Nordic live action role-playing games are with insightful essays, descriptions of 30 games and over 200 pictures. If you are interested in role-playing, experimental theatre, interactive performance, audience participation or just generally cool stuff, buy a copy.

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