MMLARPing: Game Nation

Will we have to queue for a ride on the Space Mountain Instance?
Not exactly PC gaming, but I wanted to type “MMLARPing”. Game Nation is, apparently, something like LARPing on a massive, commercial scale.

Game Nation™ is the world’s first Experiential Video Game Theme Park and Resort. Visitors will become players as their dreams and fantasies come to life in adventures yet to be told. You will become anything you like and live out the character you create. But this is no game. It’s real!

There’s so much fodder here, I almost dare not think about it. If this goes ahead, someone is going to write some serious New Games Journalism. Probably Quinns. It’ll be how he meets his end. Slain by a giant emo. Keep an eye on this lunacy here.

47 Comments

  1. LewieP says:

    How much I am willing to pay for entry to something like this would be largely determined by how salty the fries are.

  2. a.nye.123 says:

    “You will become anything you like and live out the character you create.”

    Oh dear. There are going to be so, SO many virtual naked ladies in it.

  3. Tei says:

    My friends visit every friday a “RPG Club” where people play RPG games, LARP and table games. I have played some of these and I am impressed. A very simple LARP game of people just talking, taking a role (I don’t know… a sarge inside a robot body) is very satisfying. The world of table games have continue evolving. There are table games as interesting and complex as most videogames!!. And the trading card games, … true social events.

    All of this is brilliant, and good opportunities to socialize …something very important for nerd people.
    I don’t know if this Game Nation will be any good, what I am sure, is that the future of “no-computer games” is not dead, and has lots to show. Than a single element like a paper that describe your character and your mission, can really *create* worlds.

    I just like videogames more, but these things are true amazing.

    • Sarlix says:

      Tei!!
      if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t even know what LARPING is!
      You destroyed my innocence!!
      At our last encounter you hit me with Lighting Bolt
      Well I’ve been waiting!!
      Feel the backhand of justice!!! *Casts Magic Missile*

    • Tei says:

      The LARP session I have experience, are not different than a normal RPG game, even have taken place in a table.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Were you LARPING the breakfast scene from Resevoir Dogs, or something?

    • Sarlix says:

      Obscure table LARPING aside….Tei has clearly had a memory loss.

      But It matters not, justice has been served!

    • RedFred says:

      I’m Steve Buscemi!

  4. Freudian Trip says:

    Theres only one thing I can think of when LARPing is mentioned

    • BigJonno says:

      I knew exactly which video that was going to be! It always makes me wonder if I look that bloody stupid when LARPing. It’s a far cry from some of the large scale British events though. Being involved in a battle with several thousand other people is amazing.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      haha! I guess one of the main things about LARPing is having the capacity to place all self consciousness over to one side for the day. Or is it massively alcohol fuelled?

    • BigJonno says:

      A little from column A, a little from column B. The consumption of copious amounts of alcohol is a pretty central feature of most big weekend LARP events. You often get a lot of unusual homebrew stuff and lots of mead (quite why mead isn’t more widely available, I don’t know, as it tastes fantastic.)

      It can take a while to get over your self-consciousness, but you’ll adjust pretty quickly. It only takes a couple of hours for it all to seem perfectly “normal.” The strange bit is going back to reality after a 3-4 day event. You’ll feel completely paranoid walking around without a sword.

    • jeremypeel says:

      I’ve no beef with LARPing, nor any experience. I’m curious to hear from you RPS folks who do though – how does the ‘combat’ work generally? Are there strict rulesets or is it more like close-combat paintballing? I could imagine playing with rules being a bit like playing Morrowind for the first time, struggling to adapt to seeing your attacks hit whilst the game tells you it’s a miss.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      JeremyPeel: There’s various rule-sets, basically, like anything RPGy. Most of them I know of are based around you being able to take a number of hits – depending on your character type – to every “part” of your body. The players keep count of ’em. Some games you do the math and then fall over mid-battle. Other games you sort it out at the end of the combat. Then there’s stuff like saying DOUBLE! or whatever when hitting and you’re doing twice as much damage.

      That kind of stuff. It varies.

      It’s amazing the information you pick up.

      KG

    • jeremypeel says:

      Thanks Kieron. Locational damage, nice – the sign of any good RPG. I’ve been listening to the brilliant podcasts on Irrational’s new site and LARPing came up quite a bit in one of them; variety really does seem to be the way with these things, and I guess there’s a particular slant to suit most.

  5. Antsy says:

    LARP is about as close as I’ve come to a genuine Outside Context Problem.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      ….
      ‘kay.

      In what way? Think it’s going to destroy you? Just take your medication according to the prescribed amounts and timing and we’ll all be cool.

    • Antsy says:

      Brilliant! Ad hominem abusive. You’re a master of internet argument.

  6. Mario Figueiredo says:

    I went to a LARP day once, close to where I live.

    It was one of the most fun experiences I had. I really like theater. A lot. And if you do get good actors, who knows? The thing can be fun. There was also lots of humor… and free food.

  7. Wurzel says:

    Larping’s great fun, whether a social one with good plot and characters or a combat linear, though it gets a bad rap from people who mock costumes etc. Seriously, if the idea at all appeals to you, you should see if there are any people running one in your area (there are tons just in the UK).

    Not sure a theme park would work for it though. I pretty often go to events where you have >1000 people in a field together, and I’d say the market in big LARP events is pretty saturated by the top groups (Profound Decisions, Curious Pastimes, Lorien trust); it’s unlikely that this new venture will serve that group’s needs, or create enough new customers to make money.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      When all else fails, point them to the ladies: link to larpers.wordpress.com

      Or keep the secret to yourself and smile candidly as they go on with their mockery.

    • Sic says:

      I haven’t been in one myself, but friends of mine have organised a few (ones where they’ve built entire towns and whatnot). I’m pretty sure the “lightning bolt” guy isn’t the best example.

      Also, they used to rent old buildings to do more horror based stories. That sounds like great fun.

    • innokenti says:

      Yeah, I’m not entirely convinced by the Game Nation idea. It looks like it will struggle to attract either the LARPers or the video gamers… as both, I can’t say that I am all that intrigued. (Well… I’m intrigued, but only in a sense of observational curiosity.)

  8. Flafingers says:

    Not to dismiss the idea, but I suspect that readers of the “Dream Park” novels by Niven and Barnes will find this concept awfully familiar.

  9. Bobic says:

    I can just see this turning into a brief anecdote in a psychology textbook.
    “The residents became so into their roles that they would even murder each other with real swords.”

  10. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    Could someone point out the differences between LARP-ing and what I used to do as a preteen in the playground?

    I’ve no problem with a bit of theatrical make believe amongst consenting adults, none at all. But , you know, come off it, you’re just playing at giant stompy robots / elves / warriors / cops and robbers… No?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      There are rules in LARPing.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cooper says:

      What, like girls can’t play ‘cos they’re all, like, girlie and stuff?

      Ok, pointless trolling & being obnoxious aside, I am actually interested. I had some mates who did a bit of LARPing and it looked like a jolly – does it just toe the line between round-the-table RPG games and improv theatre?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      That’s about right. Think tabletop RPG with rules where rules have been made somewhat lighter and built to take into account that you are not just narrating your character. Some fantasy LARPs I’ve seen use, say, ping pong balls for spell casting to determine where you cast something. World of Darkness LARP (Mind’s Eye Theater) uses rock-paper-scissors instead of die rolls. There’s usually a bunch of conventions like, when you’re invisible you have to keep your arms crossed across your chest and other players must ignore you while such is the case. You have a character sheet with stats and such and there are game masters.

      And most of them have rules that say you’re not allowed to physically touch other players and mustn’t carry weapons as actual props (no toy guns) but have to use item cards and act as if they had the prop in their hands. From what I understand, no one really follows these rules outside of events officially sanctioned by some gaming authority.

      Also, I love your avatar.

    • BigJonno says:

      Your basic “fest” type LARP (check out Kurgol’s Maelstrom link below, or search for The Gathering, for a couple of examples) has a relatively simple rules system along the lines of what Kieron described above. They need to be able to cope with large battles, so it usually comes down to different things that you can shout at people while hitting them with a variety of weapons. Most UK LARP systems require a decent standard of kit; weapons are movie-prop quality, not the foam cricket bat things you see in a lot of American LARP, although I did hear that things were getting better on the other side of the Pond.

      Players are usually divided up into factions based on the character’s nationality, guild, religion, that kind of thing. They’re run by a group of people who come up with the overarching plot, which filters down to the players through the hierarchy of the different factions. Alongside that, everyone will have their own motives and desires. I’m sure you can imagine what it’s like with hundreds or thousands of characters of every fantasy archetype imaginable with their own plots and plans with a background that’s been engineered to be as volatile as possible.

      In my first proper LARP event, I snuck into an enemy faction’s big meeting to spy on them (bloody scary, spent the whole time convinced I was going to get caught and killed,) acted as a bodyguard for various ambassadors (great fun, got to meet a lot of different people, eat their food and drink their booze, all the while picking up loads of info that people will happily let slip in front of bodyguards, as they tend to get classified as an item of furniture,) crept around in the dark to spy on yet another meeting, walked up to the enemy battle lines on my todd to deliver a message, got frozen by some kind of ice creature, taught people the beer song from the recent Bard’s Tale game and fought in a battle.

      Yeah, it’s fun.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      @jonno I don’t know if I could ever do it my self, but that sounds awesome :D

    • innokenti says:

      There’s a fairly fluid scale on how things are implemented by local and national LARPs. There is usually some sort of balance between hard-skill (things that you can actually do to simulate what your character does, like sword-fighting, being stealthy, charismatic) and soft-skill (things which your character can do, and is aided in doing by system, but you yourself can’t do, including the things above, but also magic, flight, whatever).

      So a system might depend intrinsically on hard-skills, but incorporate a few soft-skills to allow elements such as magic and allow people to compensate for lack of sword-fighting skills (sort of how Maelstrom does it – using blackpowder weapons requires a pistol/musket that uses caps, but a hit is automatic with line-of-sight and within range). Other systems will put a lot into soft-skills to make it largely system-based so that a person’s real-life advantages add colour rather than handicap everyone else.

      And of course to go with that you have varying differences in scale and execution. Fest LARPs as described above tend to happen several times a year, but lots of local groups (such as university societies) run linear games weekly for smaller groups (a handful to dozens) which tend to concentrate more on combat.

    • BigJonno says:

      I love the Maelstrom firearm rules. When I went, one of the people I attended with left his brand new and very expensive (both in and out of game) rifle in our big shared tent. With the range being “as far as you like as long as they can hear the call” the temptation to spend the afternoon sitting in our camp plugging random participants in the fight that was going on just outside was almost overwhelming

  11. Kurgol says:

    I think whatever they have planned would have a lot to live up to if it want’s to be better than

    • Sarlix says:

      It begs the question, whats the difference between larping and reenactment.

      I say reenactment, some of those photos boast half-faced lizard men.

      The point is though, does one have more creditability than the other? Is one seen as an intellectual past time and the other as a lesser activity? Does such a divide even exist? Do I even know what I’m talking about?

      No.

      But I did start out with a good point.

    • Sarlix says:

      @MWoody

      OK, now I’m confused.

    • BigJonno says:

      Reenactment is about collaboratively putting on historically-accurate battles and/or getting as close to life in a given period as possible. LARP is more free-form and about playing a character in a given setting.

  12. the wiseass says:

    link to comedycentral.com

    “I’m wearing boots of escaping!!”

  13. Nick says:

    Hmm, getting a Westworld vibe from that press release.

  14. RedFred says:

    I can’t help but laugh. Is that wrong?

  15. Ergonomic Cat says:

    Seriously? None of y’all have seen SCA or Amtgard?

    HItting people with padded sticks is an f’in blast. It’s ironic that it’s the geekiest people that are the most comfortable with themselves sometimes. You have to just let go of caring about what people think to do padded stick. And it’s a good lifeskill to have.

    Also:

    link to wizardquest.net

    This isn’t even the first one to have characters and track stats…..

  16. DJ Phantoon says:

    I would die to a unfulfilled overweight mother of two who is a Grand Master Wizard while trying to figure out the controls.

  17. -Spooky- says:

    best fight i´ve ever seen @ larp

  18. Okami says:

    There’s an annual Zombie Larp in germany, called Zombie Apocalypse.

    This is the trailer for the next one: link to youtube.com

    I guess that the blood splatters have been edited in afterwards…

  19. littlewilly91 says:

    So a theme park with lots of super epic rides like the Pirates of the Carribean one at Disney? They should totally base one on Terry Pratchett’s Only You Can Save Mankind.