Live Action Role Playing – LARPing for short has been gaining popularity around the world. This previously “cult” activity entered the U.S. mainstream culture when it was featured in the 2008 comedy “Role Models.”
In most versions of the game, people get together and dress up according to a fictional world and fight each other with foam or plastic weapons called boffers. Players adopt a character and always interact with each other in character while following a certain set of rules.
Russians has recently taken LARPing to a whole new level. This Russian blog post by StarTM (translated into English here) describes a LARP gathering based on the post-apocalyptic video game FallOut. Over 300 people wearing authentic costumes participated in this three day affair, battling it out in an abandoned silo base near St. Petersburg.
The organizers even put together a technical support group, rescue teams and medics. In addition to the costumes, the players modified airsoft guns to look like the original, put together a bar, and also set up a real-time radio station.
StarTM describes the allure of LARPing:
Just forget your name and for a few days live another man’s life in a new world of live-action roleplay game with it dangers and thrills.
Almost all the comments to the StarTM’s blog post have been positive. I wonder if that indicates that LARPing is more accepted in Russia. In the U.S., unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with it (just read its entry on UrbanDictionary) and English re-posts of the pictures inevitably garnered many comments making fun of the players.
However, some, such as this blogger, were impressed by the effort by the Russian LARPers and started to see LARPing in a different light.
Well, if your LARP-fest included Brotherhood of Steel members wielding gigantic mini-guns, you might not be so skeptical (I certainly wouldn’t be).
I’ve never paid much attention to games in general, but after seeing this it makes me want to play as well. It’s kind of like being part of an improvised movie.
What I find strange is I rarely hear people talking this much trash about people who spend time playing video games at home. I think LARPing is definitely a more exciting and healthier alternative!