I’m going to try to read all of the KP books and write short summaries of the articles and my opinions of them, so you don’t have to. Hopefully it’ll end up being useful to search through.
The first of the nordic larp books, where it all began to be written down. Lots of interesting articles and opinions, some mostly for historical reasons, others because we still have many of the same issues today. It’s a lot less academically laden than later works and a good place to start on theory, since it doesn’t have that much to refer back to.
Taking into account that my personal tastes are aimed at dramatic-immersive play and interaction design, here’s a summary of the articles and my opinions on them. Also bear in mind that while I have no problem parsin academic texts, I find them next to useless in any practical sense, the language sets up far more barriers than needed.
Developing a Character – Advice to LARP organizers/writers – Holger Jacobsson
A suggestion to drop writing long background stories and descriptions for roleplaying characters and focus on the personal qualities and experiences that the players would want to explore.
I love the idea and I’m happy it’s spread wide since then.
Pre-Larp Communication – Some views on why and how – Cathrine Movold
A short primer on the principles of communicating information to the players before a game and the exciting new opportunities of digital media.
A good point, but could use better practical advice.
Cultural Studies and Role-Playing – Frans Mäyrä
The lack of and trouble of doing academic studies of roleplaying, due to it’s manifold character and grassroots nature.
Starts out interesting, but ends up too descriptive to be of use.
The LRP-Phenomenon – Reflexivity and Post-Modern Escapism – Lars Ivar Owesen-Lein Borge
Summary of an article. Ritual theory as applied to larp. The unique conditions of audience-less performance and the liminal spaces that allow for behavious unaccepted in normal life. The duality of actual experiences in a fictional setting.
Oh dear, academic wordiness started early in our hobby. Actually some good points, but buried in lingo.
Norwegian Vampire Larp – An odd bag of nuts in the World of Darkness – Torgrim Husvik
An example of a vampire larp campaign in Norway and how it differs from the original Mind’s Eye Theatre system from the US, illustrating some particularities of norwegian larp.
A pretty good picture, but documentation is mostly of historical value.
Factors of Larp – Morten Gade
Seven factors that players would want out of larp: Adrenaline, fun, intrigues, personality, education, media, art.
Some good factors that have been refined since.
Historical Worlds – New project establishes larping – Henrik Summanen
Ideas and examples of possible cooperation between museums and larpers, the kinds of thing each can gain from the other.
Very optimistic article, full of hope and potential. Still waiting to see the magical results of using larp in other settings and good cooperation with externals.
Before Full Time – Ingrid Fahlgren
Two examples of larps that had to be stopped before time, due to developments that hurt the play of a large part of the participants.
Interesting to see how larps crash, like carcrashes are fun to watch.
Larp on the Net – Bo Kjellson
How larpers are using chatrooms to continue the life of their characters between play.
Oh how fascinating this Internet was back then.
Experiencing History – Using LARP as education; experiences and visions. – Hilde Bryhn, Cathrine Movold, Margrete Raaum
Example of and advice for using a larp to teach history to primary school students.
Very good article on an early edu-larp, manages to cover many of the important points we still work with today.
Politically Consciousness-Expanding Larping – Helge Hiram
A wandering jumble of philosophical perspectives on larp as a post-modern media and it’s ability to change political viewpoints (towards the left).
Another case of academic word-bluster, good perspectives on the media side, a bit silly with the political stuff.
Why Larp Changed the Society Before 2010 – Morten Gunnerud
A scifi-style look at how larp was supposed to save the world in just ten years.
A fun read, some things are actually quite true now.
Emotions and Authority – Female Larp-organisers – Ragnhild Hutchison
How a higher degree of women in the Oslo larp scene has brought emotional depth and a focus on relationship play into the hobby. As well as giving opportunities for women to take on roles of authority and the problems faced due to gendered socialization.
I find the view of women in the article a bit too heteronormative, but most of it is legit.
Larp = Sex? – Erlend Eidsem Hansen
A look at how larp is like sex in many ways, ex. the use of body language and the intensity between two people.
A very good read, clever and funny. I agree with and confirm many of the observations.
Hidden Plays In Public Places – Jonas Nelson
A thorough dissection of the dangers and moral implications of pervasive larping, using numerous examples.
Very solid and serious look at what downsides exist to pervasive larping.
Building Dramatics – Susanne Gräslund
A text on creating better dramatic structures for games, focusing on the individual player perspective. Goes through three-level models of design, dramatic webs, fateplay and assorted narrative techniques.
I agree with the playstyle here and it’s a good look at it.
Two-Faced Dogme – Auteur Truth – Joc Koljonen
A comparison of the state of larp with contemporary media, specifically film and larp theory with political thinkers, to examine theorists who do not connect with reality of larp.
A bit tricky to understand outside of it’s time, but interesting nonetheless.
About the Feminist Movement – Staffan Ericsson
An ironic counterstatement.
Same as above, except not interesting.
Warning – Self Destruction Has Started – Thomas Davidsson
A warning that if we keep suppressing the dissenting voices, larp itself will die.
Well, we seems to have heeded the warning. Good on us!
A series of statements on how larp ought to be and how to go about making it so.
Always a fun read.
A look at the state of larp in the nordic countries, Murmansk and the US.
Interesting if you want the historical perspectives.
This is as with most of the KP books a mix of good and mediocre texts and messages. Each text is usually short and sweet, but some could’ve been longer and more comprehensive. Still, not a bad read for a more than ten year old document.
Next in the series: The 2003 Book