RPG vs LARP

Ones real life identity tends to be irrelevant in the culture of gaming, RPG’s (Role playing video games) such as Final Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons and WOW allow an individual to portray themselves however they please through their character in the fictional world. Reflect your real life morals or go against them and be someone entirely different – the choice is yours. There are two specific ‘groups’ within this RPG culture, they include WRPG (western) and JRPG (eastern). The western culture RPG’s tend to be more system/rules based with darker realistic graphics, however Eastern RPG’s are generally action/story based with brighter anime-like graphics and intricate plots.

 

 

Regardless of their cultural differences, role playing video games are peripheral to the art of cosplay in the fact that the characters/identities portrayed in these games are who cosplaying individuals look toward to influence their costume choice.  A lot of the time, an individual will develop a bond with their online persona and therefore, it becomes easier for them to reflect this persona in their cosplaying over a character they are not familiar with.

An extension of this RPG experience is LARP (live action role play) where a group of individuals dress up and pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world while interacting with each other in character. I see this as like ‘next level’ cosplaying, as they are not only dressing up as the characters, but also choosing to engage themselves in the recreation of the characters identity through role play.

A lot of the time, YouTube is the digital media platform which both RPG and LARPers use to express their voices through recording their live action or video game experiences and uploading them for the public to see, as seen below. In addition to this podcasts are used, one group in particular who use this in addition to their YouTube channel is Rooster Teeth.

 

 

 

Through viewing and comparing both these forms of role play, it is immediately clear how much dedication and passion an individual puts into their characters. To me, the LARP genre actually helps to break down the stigma created by RPGer’s as the second video reveals the multitude of people who actually get involved. The Rooster Teeth video (to be honest I didn’t watch all of it) does reveal the ‘WRPG’ mentioned by the comparison video through its darker and more realistic graphics. As a non-gamer the detail and customisation actually surprised me but in saying that, the specifications confused the hell out of me! People who actually play this game and understand it, I applaud you because I had no idea! This video also shows how RPG’s allow the option for both male and female characters regardless of your real life gender (Ray has chosen a female panda even though the others chose a male) which is the same when dressing up for cosplay in the fact that you can be whoever you choose to be.

Back to the LARP video – I was amazed at the amount of planning and scripting etc that goes into them because before watching this, I honestly thought that they were improvised. The fact that people do this kind of thing on a weekly basis is actually impressive, a further reason why the dedication and passion are so necessary to these gamers life. The strategic and tactical ‘quest’ elements resonate through both the RPG and LARP  worlds, and I feel as though it would be one of the main motivations to playing the games. Completing quests, moving up levels and gaining more skills would be super satisfying and ultimately enhance the bond you have with the character.

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6 comments

  1. While I don’t play WRPGs or JRPGs at all, l am aware of what they are and roughly how they work. But LARP? I’d never heard of it until I watched that video.From first impressions, I have to say that LARP looks like singly the most fun, crazy, nerdy and completely sane, even healthy thing to do. What an excellent way to escape reality, get some fresh air and completely let loose all at once! The concept of death is fascinating in RPGs because of the amount of hours people spend building and levelling up their avatars, but its even more so in LARPs (and a great deal more dramatic too!!) I’m not sure if LARP itself would be considered a peripheral media, but the way that gaming culture is played out through LARP is definitely an interesting topic that needs to be explored further. Do you know if this happens around the globe? are there international LARP events? It would be awesome to see if there exists such communities in Asian cultures. Great post! 🙂

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  2. That’s really interesting. I’ve never LARP’d, (although I have played tabletop RPG’s with dice :D) although I absolutely adore RPGs, specifically fantasy RPGs. I find that a lot of mainstream games just can’t tell a good story anymore and it really disappoints me. However, I absolutely adore games, like Skyrim, that allow you the freedom to make your own story. I actually downloaded a mod, so instead of having to start the game at the same point and quest, it drops you in a random location in the huge open world, allowing you to start off and explore places you never normally would have during the start, creating a unique roleplaying experience every time.

    It’s actually fascinating looking at how games have the ability to go beyond a book or a film, where you actually are allowed to influence the story, making it your personal story. That’s why many people hold games, that allow player decision to influence the greater scheme of things, close to their hearts. 🙂

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  3. Having spent many house involved in RPG including WOW, I can see what it means to have an ‘extension’ of yourself through your online avatar. Whilst I would never delve into the world of LARP, I feel it is a bit too far gone down the rabbit hole. Where does fantasy world end and the real world start? This could be a good thing to research, how far does LARP’ing go? Has anyone ever changed their life for it? Chasing that fantasy world? Im baffling here, but that would be incredibly cool to research.

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  4. There’s no real set definition of the difference between WRPGs and JRPGs but I’m not sure if your definition is necessarily true. When people refer to a JRPG, its usually based in learning the system and tactics of turn based gameplay, such as Pokemon. And while some popular RPGs have a bright, anime inspired artstyle like Pokemon, its not exclusive. Final Fantasy, one of the most influential JRPG series, often have dark themes and art styles. WRPGs are usually more action based like Skyrim or Mass Effect. However, both genres seem to offer a degree of customization for playable characters.

    I don’t really know much about LARPing but I’ve been watching some videos. To me, it seems like its taking a step backwards from video games. While some might find it fun, I can’t imagine the convenience of playing a game in my house would beat going out to the forest to be hit with a sword. Video games are designed to deliver the best possible experience in the most convenient and fun way. It must take a lot of dedication though, and a lot more imagination then I have.

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