Keynotes 1: Forms of Larp

This page features Keynote slides, video, and photographic documentation from the Living Games Conference in Austin, TX from May 19-22, 2016. Living Games is devoted to the academic and practical study of larp in all its forms.

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FRIDAY, May 20, 2016

Keynotes 1: Forms of Larp

Moderated by: Lizzie Stark and Emily Care Boss

J Li, “Emotional Immersion”

Emotionally immersive games are designed primarily to give players an intense, dynamic, and continuous emotional experience. Where serious games are often seen as theater-, narrative-, or social-commentary-driven, emotionally immersive games are often anything but. It’s a genre where situation beats style, and highly dramatic circumstances can engender adventures taking place beneath the surface. Designing for emotional immersion comes with its own needs. How do we deliver wrap-around intensity to all characters at once? (Should we?) How does coherence and climax interact with highly internalized plot? How can we rethink the act of larping to have continuous emotional adventures together?


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Sarah Budai and Kristin Hammock, “The State of Amtgard”

Amtgard is an international combat larp with one of the largest memberships. In this speech, Sarah and Kristin will go over how they used statistical surveys to counter anecdotes and help the game through a period of cultural and rulebook transitions. They will show how you can benefit from this across other games, by showing what the data said about recruitment, as well as tips for you to get started surveying your own game.


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Susan Weiner, “Secrets and Powers Larp”

Something strange is happening and you are here to get to the bottom of it! In the American one-shot, theater-style larp community, there is a style of game that is so assumed that it took years to name. What is a Secrets and Powers game? What distinguishes a good one? What impact has this style of larp had on the larger American larp community?


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Ashley Zdeb, “Factionalism in the Larp Community”

Larping, as with gaming as a whole, has long been plagued by a sense of factionalism centered around what game you play, who you know, and what the “right” way to larp is. With a diverse background in several forms of larp over the past two decades, Ashley draws on her experiences in larp communities both as a participant and a professional organizer to explore the reasons why factionalism exists within the hobby, the harm it does, and what can be done on all sides of the table to combat it.

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Photo by Heather Halstead,

Note: Since the delivery of this talk, Living Games and Ashley Zdeb have become aware that use of the word “tribalism” outside of an Indigenous context can have a negative connotation to Indigenous people. It was not our intention to refer to tribes in an offensive manner. As we continue to learn about the oppression embedded in our culture, we are committed to acknowledging unidentified connotations in the English language, apologizing for any unintentional harm caused, and improving our communication style for the benefit of the whole community. Viewers are encouraged to replace the word “tribalism” with “factionalism” or “insularity” when viewing the above talk.

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Posted July 16, 2016 in: news by lgadmin