Some years ago, when I was a goth and also on the internet we had this thing called “Usenet.” Usenet was basically twitter combined with a brutally unfriendly user interface and no limit to the number of characters you could post. Usenet had groups for the discussion of various topics. There was rec.games.frp.live-action, for example where people would discuss the differences between styles of larp (or LRP.)
There was also alt.gothic, the home for an international community of erudite punk mimes who were either students or worked in IT. There would be regular attempts at trying to decide whether something was goth, and, when you get down to it what this goth thing actually was anyway. The conclusion was that nobody really new, and although there were some great definitions out there, time was probably better spent drinking cider and black in graveyards and generally posing about the place.
Fast forward twenty-five years and I’m coming to the same conclusion about Nordic larp. It’s interesting, seems a little dangerous, and the people are lovely once you get past the fact that they are intense and intimidating. Spending time trying to agree a definition is unhelpful. I can give you mine, but that’d be subjective and we’d have a whole long rambling argument that would lead us nowhere.
There are a lot of fascinating experimental, artistic, beautiful games out there. Not just in the Nordic countries but everywhere. Where there are larpers you will probably find Nordic larpers. From Palestine to Tanzania and on to the ends of the Earth, like Birmingham or I dunno, Enfield?
Nordic larp is really good at collaborating, and talking about what it is doing, and trying to do. One of the ways it does this is via the Knutepunkt convention. This annual event, which has been running for twenty years, moves from country to country (changing its name as it goes: Solmukohta, Knutpunkt, Knutepunkt, they all mean largely the same thing in the local language – nodal point, or meeting point.)
This convention takes place in English. There are talks, and workshops, and larps, and, parties, and intense conversations at 3am, and drinking, and dancing, and politics, and planning, and it’s really rather good. The next one is in Oslo, in February 2017.
One of the things that Knutepunkt does is to publish a book or books about Nordic larp, about how to run larps, about the process and the why, and the what. They do one every year. They are all available for download as PDFs.
Next year’s book is about storytelling in larp. If you want to contribute to it then the call for papers is now out. You can find it here https://knutepunkt.org/call-
“Twenty years is a very long time. Long enough for legends to be created. Stories are told and retold and grow with each telling. The very act of telling a story goes in and out of fashion. Some believe that it has no place in larp, others that the whole point of larp is to make every single character the protagonist. This year we would like to sit down in a comfortable chair and have a word with ourselves about stories.”
Of course larp is older than 20 years. I amused myself at Solmukohta (which was on a boat that sailed between Finland and Sweden) by opening conversations with the statement “Of course, when we invented larp in the UK, back in the early 80s -”
Or was that goth we invented in the UK, back in the early 80s? It was such a long time ago now that I am not sure I recall.