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We spent two days in a writing retreat and were able to push 13 cases to a point where they are either ready to be proofread or getting close to that. So one third of the texts in now in a good condition! We’ll continue working on the texts in the evenings and reconvene to a retreat in a two weeks time.

The International Journal of Role-Playing is soliciting submissions. The deadline is February the 1st. How about expanding and generalizing your research-oriented paper from one of the Knutpunkt books? Note that the journal accepts proposals regarding all forms of role-playing.

The International Journal of Role-Playing (IJRP) is now accepting submissions for the 2nd issue, due out in early summer 2010. Deadline for submissions is February 1st, 2010.

The International Journal of Role-Playing invites researchers, designers, developers, academics, artists and others involved in the growing field of research related to role-playing to submit articles. The IJRP is a peer-reviewed journal, and welcomes submissions from any sphere of interest, knowledge network, research field or de-development sector that directly or indirectly relates to role-playing interests.

Potential topics include but are certainly not limited to the following:
•    Role-playing games, e.g. frameworks, storytelling and graphics; art, design and creative industry
•    Role-playing culture, psychology, media, economics, and sociology
•    Role-playing technology, surveys, vocabulary, training and education
•    Other aspects of role-playing and related research and development

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An announcement via the Czech KP-regulars. One English programme track is in plans.

Odraz Conference 2010

Creating for Players, Theory for Creators, Playing for Theorists.

The third year of the itinerant Odraz conference has come. We would like to invite you to Holiday Resort Štědronín, where Odraz 2010 is going to take place from 26 to 28 March. Unlike the previous years, the conference is starting Friday morning 26 March and you can arrive Thursday afternoon. The conference is ending Sunday afternoon.

Odraz 2010 is organized by a non-profit organization Tempus ludi, o.s., continuing in the tradition set by Court of Moravia, o.s. and Prague by Night, o.s.

The conference will allow the LARP organizers and participants from Czech Republic and abroad to meet there. It will be a possibility for exchanging experience and broadening the theoretical knowledge during the lectures, as well as to meet on informal occasions and contacting fellow enthusiasts. The programme will be enriched by several mini-LARPs and workshops aimed at the practical part of organizing LARPs. An enjoyable evening programme will also be arranged.

Read more!

Last week in Digra I gave a short presentation about documenting Nordic larps and Markus talked about bleed games. Many people in the audience were not familiar with Nordic larps, but were interested in finding more about them. An annual collection of articles has been published since 2003 (most of them are online, see link on the left under the heading Knutebooks), but the problem is that there is no single place where one can jump on this train. After all, that is one of the reasons why we are putting together the book this blog connects to. Another unfortunate hindrance is that as with most research that connects to sort-of fandoms (and this unfortunately includes even Digra), there is a too strong a tolerance for crap. So I’ll try to point any interested parties in the right direction.

lifelikeLarp as it has developed in the Nordic countries is quite different from the rest of the world. There is a high level of artistic (essentially story-telling and first-person experience) ambition, and much less focus on the formal ludic aspects of the game than almost everywhere else. This has opened up the design space for a lot of experimental game-making too, and some of this has been produced in collaboration with established art institutions, or just heavily influenced by contemporary arts. As Johanna Koljonen has pointed out, obviously a fair proportion of the experimental games (like of all games) will be made by people who are twenty years old and have only just come across, say, masques, or Bakhtin, or the Sixties, and the results are not that interesting even to the players. But there are also larpmakers who are widely read, educated either in conceptual art or theory, social studies, who have brought a strong activist aspect to their games and so forth.

legacyGood places to start are some of Koljonen’s writings. She has covered the larp adaptation of Hamlet and written about one of the strongest and most influential design ideals in Nordic larp: the 360 degree illusion. Along with Eirik Fatland’s post-mortem of AmerikA and our Momentum paper, these will hopefully communicate what the games are like at their best. After these, you can either start skimming through the Knutebooks, or ask for specific recommendations in the comments. (For example for “role-play before role-playing games” I’d recommend these two, for “Happenings vs. larp” I’d point you towards Playground Worlds (not yet available as a pdf), for “a through documentation of a single game” I’d point you towards Dragonbane: The Legacy and Momentum Evaluation Report.)

If you want to follow what is happening in the scene, keep an eye for this website. It is updated fairly seldom, but it is the best web resource we have at the moment. The best way to find out more about these games is to come to the next Knutpunkt. It will be in Stockholm April 15th-18th 2010.

The Digra conference has just ended. There was a panel discussion on role-playing games. I talked about the challenges of documenting larps and the current self-understanding of the Nordic larp scene. Some people asked that I’d post the slides somewhere. I’m not if they make any sense by themselves, but here they are.

The call for proposals is now out, as is the style guide. Also, we published our wishlist of games to be included in the book. The planning stage is almost over. Bring on execution. Feel free to distribute these to any and all relevant parties.

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.