Why Has LARP Seen a Tremendous Surge of Popularity?
During the 1970s, Live Action Role Playing (LARP) was
born into the world. In an age of dungeons, dragons, game masters, and massive
amounts of notebook paper there was also another movement brewing. This
movement stripped down some of the rules, rid themselves of the table and planted
their own two feet into the story itself. It wasn't until the late 1990s that
LARP achieved popular status, with the publishing of the first universally
defined LARP system, Mind's Eye Theater. In the following years
LARP gained popularity steadily, but it wasn't until recently that LARP's
popularity has exploded across the world.
Today, you're only a quick web search away from finding a
park near your home, gearing up, and doing epic foam battle with allies from
all walks of life. But why the sudden interest in foam sword combat, dragons
and interactive storytelling? Are these activities not just for nerds living in
their mother's basement? Let's look at some of the influencing factors that
have led to this massive surge in make-believe.
Pop Culture - Let's face it, Hollywood loves knights and dragons as much
as we do! With the film adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's masterpiece The
Hobbit and Lord of the Rings selling hundreds of
millions of dollars in the box office, it’s safe to assume there are fans of
mythical fantasy around the world! Rather than just being amazing stories,
however, these films also opened the minds of their viewers to a desire of belonging
in the film's universe. This can be translated into an increase in the number
of LARP participants. Not to mention the movie Role Models, which
while it didn't do a good job of accurately portraying LARP events, it sure did
make foam combat look fun.
Curiosity - Going along with the first point, people are curious as to
what LARP consists of. They hear about these events through word of mouth or
the internet and they think "I could see myself getting into that".
There is a generally mindset shift, as more and more people accept the idea of
mythology, that is, as the concept becomes mainstream so will its various
activities (Dungeons and Dragons, LARP).
It Is Simply FUN - Nothing
scream cathartic like clubbing on someone with a foam baton. On a more serious
note the living story, the preservation of dying trades like armor crafting and
food preparation create another-worldly feeling and an escape from the stresses
of daily life.
The film industry is largely responsible for bring LARP into the spotlight in
recent years, and that's a great thing. These dedicated people and brilliant and
passionate about their hobby, and they would have to survive this long. When
you bring passionate people together with an event that's terrifically fun, can
you honestly expect it not to spread like wildfire?