Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

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The World of LARPing

The World of LARPing

By on Sep 27, 2013 in Featured | 1 comment

In the world of modern transmedia fiction, there are several different facets of a fictional world which an avid fan can delve into, whether it be books, games, movies, TV shows, etc.–but none take the concept of total immersion in a fictional world quite so far as “LARPers”. LARP is an acronym for Live Action Role Play, and for those who truly invest themselves in a fandom, LARP is not just a way to contribute to their fandom family, but it allows them to temporarily part from reality and actively participate in the fantasy world to which they’ve so fully dedicated themselves. To participate in Live Action Role Play, one acquires or makes the costume and equipment for their favorite character, whether it be a medieval mercenary, Aragorn, or even a Teletubby (hey, you never know), and then they congregate with other die hard fans to act out scenarios from their chosen fandoms while assuming the personality traits, appearance, and actions of their favorite character, thus taking the elements of the fictional world and its characters into their own hands. LARPing may seem rather outlandish to someone who has never heard of it, but many LARPers are people who appear to be fairly “normal” according to standard social conventions–that is, they hold down steady, sometimes even high-profile, jobs and don’t spend all their time reading Lord of the Rings fanfiction on the couch in their mother’s dark basement. LARPing is just another fascinating, yet curiously little known and under-documented, aspect of the fandom universe, and it’s a Big Deal.   Most tend to think of LARPing as merely a grown-up version of make-believe or escapism, but who’s to say these are bad things? According to Aeon Magazine columnist Damien Walter, it is human nature to escape the grimy reality of our lives, because “we hunger for an escape so complete it borders on oblivion: the total eradication of self and reality beneath a superimposed fantasy.” Complete immersion in a fantasy world is essentially a coping method that some people use to grapple with the grueling or otherwise monotonous grind of daily life. Additionally, PhD student and gaming expert, David Owen, claims that LARPing is actually healthy for this very reason,...

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