Research and documentation of live action role-playing games must tackle problems of ephemerality, subjectivity, first person audience and co-creation, as well as the underlying question of what larps are. The Nordic Larp book is not strictly academic, its target audience is much wider and its tone more accessible. Still, it was edited by a pair of researchers. For academics interested in using the book as a reference, we have created a sort of an academic appendix: The Making of Nordic Larp: Documenting a Tradition of Ephemeral Co-Creative Play. This article – published in the Proceedings of Digra 2011 Think Design Play – outlines the general challenges in documenting larp and maps the solutions used in this particular case. The paper also discusses how documenting larp relates to documentin performance art, addresses the problems of writing about game cultures as an insider, and makes a case for addressing normative choices in game descriptions head on.
In the Nordic countries, live action role-playing has developed into a unique and powerful form of expression. Nordic larps range from entertaining flights of fancy to the exploration of the intimate, the collective and the political. This incredible tradition combines influences from theatre and performance art with gamer cultures, in order to push the boundaries of role-playing.