Sarah Lynne Bowman, the author of The Functions of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems and Explore Identity (which I still haven’t had the time to read), speaks about larp and its Nordic variety in a Bitch magazine podcast.
SR: I know that the culture around LARPing is pretty different in Denmark and Sweden, for example, from how we perceive it in the U.S.
SB: The Nordic LARPers, incredible group of people that are fascinated by LARP theory; role-playing theory in general, but specifically LARP and how it can be used to promote social change, how it can be used to challenge gender stereotypes, how it can be used to recreate totalitarian states. It’s absolutely fascinating. It makes what we’re doing over here look like child’s play. There’s this one called System Danmarc where they spent nine months creating a set in the middle of Copenhagen, and they created a shantytown. I forget how many players, maybe 350 or something like that. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, and they’re playing the lowest of lowest classes. I mean, there was like real violence, real sex, just, you know, anything goes—
SR: –As characters?
SB: –Real drug addiction—yeah. And the government was funding it. There are people in America who were doing experimental stuff too, but nearly to that degree. I mean, these people had manifestos, and anti-manifestos, and just, you know… it’s pretty incredible stuff.
Later on she goes on to a certain rape scenario too.