• Collapsing the Venn Diagram: ARGs, LARPs, and Porting Values/Approaches between RPG Genres

    ARGs, LARPs, RPGs: all narrative-rich games with a lot of room for overlap in theory, but in practice often following specific, separate agendas and using different, non-overlapping micro-mechanics. I recently spent an hour discussing the differences between ARGs (alternate reality games) and LARPs (live-action role-playing) with someone who researches LARP playing as a hobby; at the end, he asked me a great question: what are features or tactics you’ve seen in ARGs that could carry over to LARPs? I’d like to look at this question from both points of view: ARGs > LARP and LARP > ARG.

    We should spend a short amount of time (5-8 minutes) defining ARGs/LARPs and giving specific game examples for attendees who aren’t familiar with one or both, but I’m not interested in debating different definitions of what is or isn’t LARP or ARG: what I really want to do is identify the cool tactics, narratives, learning opportunities, and gameplay mechanics from each genre that aren’t being used in the other, and whether this needs to be the case (is it a core part of what it means to LARP?) or whether we can imagine porting some of these features from game genre to genre. Ideally, we’d generate a public list of ideas that game designers could dip into when attempting to expand their work.

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