Nordic Larp Talks and State of Play

April 11, 2012 at 8:48 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you’re interested in what’s going on in the fields of participation, interaction or roleplaying, I recommend spending this evening at Club PRKL in Helsinki or online following the webcast. It’s the publishing of the new Solmukohta journal States of Play followed by Nordic Larp Talks.

The doors open at 6pm, the excellent book States of Play is published at 7, and Nordic Larp Talks hosted by Johanna Koljonen starts at 8!

States of Play is edited by Juhana Pettersson and has dozens of really interesting articles on the design, theory, documentation and results of the cutting edge Nordic tradition of live roleplaying. My article Folk Fantasy deals with Täällä Kirjokannen alla and what I think might be the dawn of a new era in the fantasy genre. The book is also published as a free PDF.

Now, here’s some info on Nordic Larp Talks:

We are proud to welcome you to Nordic Larp Talks Helsinki 2012 – an evening of entertaining, thought-provoking and mind-boggling lectures about projects and ideas from the Nordic tradition of live action roleplaying games.

The talks are presented by writer, radio & television host as well as winner of the innovator category of this year’s The Swedish Grand Journalism Prize award, Johanna Koljonen.

You can follow the talks live streamed on nordiclarptalks.org Wednesday April 11th 8pm EEST or at the PRKL club in central Helsinki, Kaisaniemenkatu 4.

Speakers
Mike Pohjola – How to become a god
Johanna Macdonald – From stage to larp
JP Kaljonen – The interplay between player and man in the street
Jesper Bruun – Experimental Larp Design
Lizzie Stark – Playing in Graveyards: Terror collides with larp in New York City

My presentation, How To Become A God, deals with the history of drama from Dionysian rituals to reality television, and beyond, and how all of this relates to roleplaying. While doing that, I’ll also answer a puzzling point in Aristotle’s Poetics that’s been bugging theatre scholars for three thousand years.

See you there!

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Conspiracy For Good nominated for awards

February 23, 2011 at 9:46 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Conspiracy For Good that was played last summer in the streets of London, and before that all around the world online and with mobile phones, is nominated for some of the top prizes in interactive media.

The media festival South By Southwest (SXSW) gives out awards every year for interactive works, and Conspiracy For Good has been nominated in the mobile category. Cool! SXSW takes place in Austin, TX, March 11.-20., and the award gala will be March 15th.

The last time The Company P won an International Interactive Emmy was a few years ago with Sanningen om Marika at MIPTV in Emmy. That award was for Best Interactive Tv Service. Now we’re nominated for the same award again. The name is no the Interactive Digital Emmy, though, and the category Digital Fiction. The lightning-winged Emmy goddess might end up in our hands on April 4th in Cannes.

Exciting! 🙂

PS. If you missed Conspiracy For Good, here’s a great video that explains the whole giant of an experience in a few minutes.

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New Knudebooks online!

February 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

The roleplaying conference Knutepunkt 2011 is going on as I type. For the first time since 1999 I’m not attending, but I’ve written a short essay on one of the books. Yes, one of the books, since this year they had three books! You can download them all as PDFs.

Do Larp has manuscripts an blueprints for several recent larps, Think Larp has academic articles on larp, and Talk Larp has various rants and essays on larp. That’s the one I’ve contributed to.


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Nordic Larp is coming out!

December 21, 2010 at 11:10 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

My friends Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola have been working for eighteen months on a huge photo book about the most ambitious larps in the Nordic countries. Nordic Larp will be published today Wednesday. I got my copy Tuesday afternoon, and it’s worthy of much praise!

The book has thirty excellent live roleplaying games from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Some games I’ve been involved in creating (Luminescence, inside:outside, Europa, PanoptiCorp, Dragonbane), in others I’ve been a player (Helsingin Camarilla, Ground Zero, The Executive Game, Hamlet, Zombie, Mellan himmel och hav, Silmäpuoli merirosvo), and all of them I’ve heard lots of good things about.

During the fifteen larp years in the book, the scene has deal with gender roles, society, cancer, Norway’s Nazi occupation, the mafia, nationality, insanity, capitalism, Shakespeare and the homeless, and adventure with vampires, dragons, steampunk spaceships, pirates and dead spirits that communicate through radio. Many of these in the same game.

My article In Prison With Kafka and Beckett is about inside:outside (2001-2002), a larp Eirik Fatland and I designed, and Irene Tanke produced, that was my first larp to be exhibited in an art gallery. The book has eight pages of text an Frode Dybvad’s photos for the game. While the pictures are good, many more articles are much more visual, since the originals were somehow lost in the Faroe Islands in Frode’s bag. (I think this accurately displays what a huge undertaking Stenros and Montola had in getting photos of some of the older games.)

Since a larp is an immediate work that cannot be recorded or reproduced, editing and publishing a book like this is a great deed for the whole culture. Without one the visionary live roleplaying games of old would remain only in the dimming memories of its participants and turn into vague stories told over proverbial campfires, but now they are documented with visual proof. With this book the history of Nordic larp is immortalized.

I obviously haven’t read the whole tome yet, but after browsing it, I can tell it’s full of interesting articles and brilliant photo pages. The book will be available online and in select bookstores, but you can also get it at the publishing party today on Wednesday, Dec 22th.

There will be four or five simultaneous parties held in Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, at least. The parties kick off at 19:00 local time. The Stockholm part fill be held in Betahaus (Skeppsholmen 30), and in Helsinki the location is Dubrovnik Lounge (Eerikinkatu 11). Locations for Oslo and Copenhagen will be announced here.

The parties are also connected to each other with a live stream. You can also watch the video online in real time, or take part by Tweeting (#nordiclarp). (I promise not everyone there dubs themselves a Social Media Expert!)

Welcome!

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The Golden Dragon!

July 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The main event of the roleplaying year, Ropecon, is just behind us. For seven years this is where the lifetime award Golden Dragon has been given to roleplaying luminaries, people whose games I’ve played as a kid, whose stores I’ve frequented and whose magazines I’ve read. In other words, I have quite alot of respect for these Grand Old Men of Finnish roleplaying.

Therefore I was both proud and humbled to receive the same recognition. In my thank you speech I was very touched but managed to speak for the future of the hobby.

A summary of the Finnish press release:

PmWikiMike Pohjola has been influential in the field since the mid 90s. His live roleplaying games have been played in cultural centers and art galleries. His publications include the roleplaying games Myrskyn aika (2003), Star Wreck Roleplaying Game (2006), and Tähti (2007). In addition Pohjola has published Sanaleikkikirja (2008), and the YA novel Kadonneet kyyneleet (2008).

Pohjola is also a founding member in The Company P, that won the International Emmy for Best Interactive Tv Service in 2008 for Sanningen om Marika. Right now he’s working on The Conspiracy For Good mega-project that premiered last Saturday in London. The Nokia-sponsored Conspiracy For Good is a project that combines participatory storytelling and gaming and lets players search clues with new mobile technology to progress in the story and help charities. The creative visionary of the project is Tim Kring, the showrunner of the tv show Heroes.

Thank you so much! It’s a really great feeling to be recognized by your own people in such a way.

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The story of the Conspiracy For Good has begun…

June 16, 2010 at 7:04 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The Conspiracy For Good is a combination of participatory storytelling, gaming and attempt to support real-life NGOs and charities. The story has now begun in earnest, so you can go check out the latest videos on the blog daily. Our story begins in Zambia:

Conspiracy For Goodin website has lots more videos, discussions and riddles… What is Blackwell Briggs doing in Zambia and can we stop it? Where are Missä David, Nadirah, and Ann Marie now?

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Recapping the Conspiracy for Good

May 27, 2010 at 7:12 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Here’s a three-minute recap of the Conspiracy for Good so far. Join the movement, become a nonmember! Remember, this is just the beginning…

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The Conspiracy for Good

May 23, 2010 at 9:56 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

What is this I’m Not a Member thing? It’s all to do with The company P’s, Tim “Heroes” Kring’s and Nokia’s new game/media/activism project, where we want to create a conspiracy for good. It’s a balancing force to such well-known villains as the mega-corporation Blackwell Briggs.  Tim Kring explains the concept:

Join The Conspiracy for Good.

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I’m not a member

May 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

It’s starting to look like hardly anyone is a member!

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Flag Burners at Wreck-a-Movie

February 17, 2010 at 11:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

My 28-minute film Flag Burners is getting close to pre-production… I created a participatory Wreck-a-Movie site for the film so you can for example recommend music for the soundtrack  or give ideas on rough locations to shoot in Helsinki. Join the production and lend me a hand! 🙂 http://www.wreckamovie.com/flagburnerslipunpolttajat2

As an extra bonus for you blog readers, here’s a couple of photos from a recent script meeting. I wish all background research was this concrete. The flag was naturally bought at a gothic clothing store in London’s Camden Market.

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