Role-playing in games seminar & Solmukohta 2012 (UPDATE: 22.04.12)

RPG scholars united in Tampere!

Both, the seminar and the conference have been a great success.  Update (22.04.12) Link to photos added (19.04.12): Link list to other recap texts added. Some spelling mistakes erraded. A mission statement can be found at the end of this blog entry.

Role-playing in games seminar

The 8th Annual Tampere Game Reseach Lab Spring Seminar had the effect of a larp. All the ‘fictional’ characters I have been reading about in the last years (Harviainen, Montola, Stenros, Mäyra, Mortensen & bunch) became flesh and blood. We had intense 48 hours of academic talk on all that is role playing related. What I liked most was the structure of each session. Ten minutes presentation, two expert commentators (Torill E. Mortensen and J.Tuomas Harviainen), twenty minutes discussion. The feedback was honest (some called it harsh), very constructive and fair. This is all you want when you travel across the world to meet colleaques from your field. I had the impression that everyone was dedicated to improve what we all do, in order to raise the quality of role-playing studies in general. Big thanks to Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros for organizing and virtual greetings to all participants.

Further info:

Nordic Larp Talks

Juhanna Peterson explains the direction larp will go

In Helsinki, the metal bar Prkl became the center of insightful talks and a panel how to make money with role-playing games.

Further info:

Solmukohta

Rich and diverse program with talks, larps and workshops

The sixteenth international larp conference took place in the area of Helsinki.

Solmukohta, finnish for ‘meating point’, was packed with around one hundred program points.

My presentation on Ninja Ethnography or how to gather data without disturbing larpers’ play was rescued by a shift in time. The only critique point to the event team is that presentations has been laid in the time of the lunch hour.

But then there were extraordinary tasks done by them. The participants number doubled from 200 to 400 only a couple of months before the event. Not only being able to cope with this amount of visitors, there were such extras like a bus shuttle from Helsinki to the hotel, but also the A week in Finland program were you could arrive earlier and participate in many activities, from sightseeing of known places to special locations and so forth. Finnish larpers greeted the foreigners as hosts and I had a very nice stay at Nino & Joonas’ place.

My personal highlight was to meet many interesting people from all around the world. The panels on making a living of larp and how to talk to society about larp, with journalists from several countries, were my favourites. The presentation of the Franco-Swiss connection opened my eyes to the French, Belgic and Swiss larpers. I participated in the mini larp ‘1942 – the Police”, winner of the Belarusian Larpwriter Challenge. The experience was pretty intense and the debriefing took longer than the actual game. Fortunatelly, by intention or by chance, after the WWII game, we had a party made by German visitors. The motto ‘Don’t mention ze war’ rose awareness how this topic is perceived by some Germans in their twenties and thirties, combining it with self-mockery. For example a game challenge of Stackenblochen.

All in all, I’m glad to have been there. I’ve learned a lot about larp and met fantastic people. Next year Knutepunkt in Oslo.

Further info:

  • My pictures
  • Website of Solmukohta
  • A collection of all the other reports can be found here. If you are not lazy, read this accurate and entertaining blog entry by Evan Torner from the US.

Mission statement:

After reading through half of the Solmukohta book States of Play. Nordic Larp Around the World, I decided to send a contribution to the next book in Norway. Further, in the next eight weeks, I will post every Friday about what I have learned at the Solmukohta. Do not miss the next entry and subscribe to this blog.

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6 thoughts on “Role-playing in games seminar & Solmukohta 2012 (UPDATE: 22.04.12)

  1. Thanks for the kind words and glad to have you at the Sensory-Overload! One thing I realized this year is that I just need to document more in general, and in English in particular so that our games show up in people’s searches online.

  2. Ola Carlos!
    It was really a great meeting. Michal has started to spread the wold of your website on Facebook. I have talken to some people and waiting for response.
    Best to the other corner of the world
    Rafael

    Salut Thomas,
    it was a great thing to attend. You really impressed with the sensory-overload thingy. If you upload something in English, please let me know.

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