Life-action role-playing may seem silly. People running around in armors and with swords are often seen as childish by “serious” adults. What not many people know is that even those “serious” adults can gain a lot from LARP. Here is why.
Life-action role-playing, or, in short LARP, is a form of role-playing where participants physically act out the actions of their characters. The most people associate LARP with fantasy role-playing game. There, players wear special costumes inspired by fantasy world with warriors and monstrous beasts. But LARPs can deal with a much wider range of themes.
In the article Great pretenders, you can read:
In addition to the traditional Viking, vampire and zombie scenarios, larps have been designed around serious themes – refugee crisis, gender, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, imprisonment.
LARP scenarios with social, environmental topics or those connected to the sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals can help experiencing a specific situation and explore the point of view of others. With that, players not only can better understand the realities of the problem that they face as a character in the game but, thanks to creating environment driven by the creativity, they may also think about a solution to the given problem and reflect on how this solution could work in real life.
LARP is great tool for experimenting with decisions and solutions.
Players immerse themselves into the world of the game, start to care about the game-world and about their characters:
The social framework of the game seems to encourage an organised and sustained form of empathy.
LARPs can be very useful when you know how to use them. Even most ridiculous scenarios can help with communication issues and with the development of emotional intelligence. Let’s How many interesting results you could see when creating special scenario about a problem which is particularly important to you:
What if we had used role-playing games to model different approaches to banking and finance after the financial crisis? Or experiment with the use of crypto-currencies? What if we used pop-up temporary realities to explore the redistribution of resources or alternatives to the welfare state? At a time of growing alienation, larps can help us explore communitarian possibilities. Not ready to open your relationship, but interested in dabbling in non-monogamy?
When larping, you can freely explore possible outcomes and try out new strategies.
You can learn more about yourself and the person you become, when put in someone else’s shoes:
Rather than acting out the robotics of your personal identity, role-play allows you to discover hidden capacities.
The LARP is a surprisingly complex platform for discussing complex problems and issues. Next time when you see adult men and women playing LARP, don’t laugh. There is high chance they are now solving political issues or creating new ideas for policies you wouldn’t ever dream of.
And this is the great irony of these games: as much as you are escaping your ordinary existence, in many ways you are actually coming closer to truths about yourself and your society.