Nothing But Rants
Telling you why things suck since 2012. A Cliff Reinitz blog.

Go LARP Yourself

So it happens that I’m reading an article from Neon Tommy about people who think it’s cool to do something called live-action roleplay.  The object of LARPing is apparently to live out what your favorite desktop or card games would be like if they were real, and populated entirely by people (i.e., you and your friends) who make that buck-toothed, bad-hygiened, poorly-dressed Mary Katherine Gallagher doppelganger who lives three doors down from you in the “real world” look like Anne Hathaway.

Just in case you can’t tell how I feel about LARPing from that paragraph, I’m not the world’s biggest fan.  Let me see if I can explain why.

Reason the first:  The experience is gonna suck.

Look, I sort of get the whole “historical re-enactor” thing.  Not that I think I would actually do it myself.  I don’t see the point of living in the past when things like the Kindle and refrigerators weren’t available back then.  Then again, I might do it, if I could get fake-mowed down by a cannonball at a Pickett’s Charge event held at Gettysburg while in the middle of screaming “For Virginia!”  Wait, no, Virginia gets a lot of love from Confederacy buffs already.  I think I’d want to give another one of the states some respect.  Like Arkansas.  Except yelling “For Arkansas!” isn’t nearly as cool, especially when you consider that it’s probably what some really crazy inbreeders over there have been yelling in the throes of passion for years.

…where was I?

Oh, yeah.  So the whole “historical re-enactor” thing is about experiencing what it was like to actually be there, as closely as possible.  And because we know a lot about the most popular time periods of recent years, and can make great approximations of equipment and clothing, you could probably get pretty close to the actual experience.  But the further back in time you go, the less like the experience is to be on anything more than a nodding acquaintance with the world in question.  Just go to your average Ren Faire for all the proof you need that I’m right.

This whole LARPing thing is about a thousand times worse, because we have literally ZERO experience with the world you want to recreate.  So when you meet the enemy mages (your geeky friends from college and/or your dead-end shithole of a job) on the battlefield of Elzinor (the open space next to the rundown Little League field behind the grocery store) whilst clad in your finest samite battle robe (that cheap terrycloth bathrobe from Cotton Palace that you never wear around the house because you’d just as soon let your junk fly free for a bit), you’re not going to have anything close to the experience you would have if this game were real.

Reason the second:  You wouldn’t want to live in that world anyway.

So, do you really wanna live in a world without air conditioning?  Where carrier pigeons and messengers on horseback are the most efficient means of communication over long distances?  Where the best available form of evening entertainment is listening to your troubador sing “The Ballad of Barglethwaite” off-key for the eighth time in the last fortnight, instead of firing up the plasma screen and tuning in to Tosh.0?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

All you wanna do is live out the exciting parts of that world, with the awesome battles and the brave stands and the pithy catchphrases.  Well, you know what, dude?  I wish I could banish you there.  I wish I could send you to your little magical world, and then laugh at your dismay in realizing that at least 99% of your time is going to be spent exactly the way most of it is in this world — on meaningless repetitive chores like scraping troll dung off the hooves of your unicorn mount.  Yeah, that may sound awesome now, but give it a couple weeks.

See, why can’t you people dream of a far-future world where robots take care of all our crap work, we can make everyone look like Greek gods (or Hindu gods, if you want more arms), and our social schedule consists mostly of going from party to party imbibing tasty-sounding alcoholic beverages and sleeping with each other?  You know, like all those great European movies of the sixties and seventies, only better and real and in an environment sponsored by Apple?  Now THAT would be a LARP I could get into.

Reason the third:  You’re a grownup, so grow up.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play:

So play all you want, and dress up all you want.  But do it like a grownup.  Grownups wear costumes for making sex or for company Halloween parties, and not for anything else.  Alternatively, get drunk or get stoned and then giggle your way through a Battlestar Galactica marathon (the old one, obviously, dumbass).  Because until we get a Holodeck or a 3-D sensory MMO environment, those are going to be the most adult ways to entertain yourself.

Reason the fourth:  You’re making the rest of us geeks look bad.

And stop it.  We’ve suffered enough.  We already take a lot of shit for our odd loves from people who don’t know the difference between a hobbit and a run-of-the-mill dwarf.  But at least most of the stuff we do takes place behind closed doors or online, watching TV or gaming or having trivia contests.  Now you’re becoming the public face of geekdom, because you are practicing your geekery in an area where they can point and laugh at you.  And it’s dragging the rest of us down to the point where convention-goers are starting to look respectable.  That’s not acceptable.  It’s bad enough that every time I go to a Star Trek convention looking to add to my autograph collection, I have to walk past the oddest assortment of costumed losers* ever assembled in whatever the hell town I’m in.  But now I have to do it with the imminent threat of a LARP breaking out in the aisles or the parking lot?  DUDE.

In summation, go LARP yourself.


* This phrase does not apply to you if you’re a hot chick wearing something form-fitting and/or skimpy.  Rock on, baby.  Rock on.


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