Role-Playing Game Studies Handbook OUT NOW!

In 2013 role-playing game scholars from all over the world met during the DiGRA conference in Atlanta, USA. We began to work on the first handbook of role-playing game studies. Now it has been published with Routledge.

It is my last publication from the time at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. I appear as a co-author in the larp chapter and I am the author of the STS chapter.
5 Live-Action Role-Playing Games
J. Tuomas Harviainen, Rafael Bienia, Simon Brind, Michael Hitchens, Yarislau I. Kot, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, David W. Simkins, Jaakko Stenros, and Ian Sturrock
17 Science and Technology Studies and Role-Playing Games
Rafael Bienia

Disney + Star Wars + Larp elements = Star Wars Land

Disney has announced a new theme park: Star Wars Land.

The park is going to be ‘immersive’. Visitors enter a location with actors in costumes. Visitors can lay hands on the controls of the Millennium Falcon.

As Martin Ericsson writes: “My old friend and boss at The Company P – Christopher Sandberg has been heavily involved in this, imagineers have visited and studied The Monitor Celestra and College of Wizardry, so there is already a strong link to Nordic participatory culture in this venture.”

We will see how it will look like and … feel like.

Book chapter published in Playing with Virtuality


Playing with Virtuality. Theories and Methods of Computer Game Studies, edited by Benjamin Bigl and Sebastian Stoppe will be published this year. I have provided the chapter “Das Computer-Rollenspiel-Genre”. The German speaking book chapter discusses computer role-playing games with an emphasis on role playing as a player practice. More about the anthology here: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers. Continue reading

Wyrd Con Companion 2012 online

The companion to the U.S. larp conference Wyrd Con is online, edited by Sarah Lynne Bowman and Aaron Vanek. The appealing design has been created by Kirsten Hageleit. This year, an academic section has been added. Here you can find among other texts my contribution about larp motivation in Germany. Click on this link or on the image below to open the book (~19 MB).


Click on image to open pdf.

* If you liked the book and would like to support the convention, there is a kickstarter campaign running for next year. 5$ make organizers happy and where do you get coffee below 5$ nowadays? (Maybe in the Bandito Espresso in Maastricht).

How Fantasy-Racism in Larp could create Allophilia

Because of mythopoesis and the size of the larp scene, Fantasy-Racism in larp is creating allophilia, which is the opposite of racism. It is Greek and means love for the other, which includes foreign cultures. The difference to philanthropy, which means love for humans, allophilia is directed to distinguishable groups of people. It could be said of larpers as a subculture to be distinguishable from other hobbiests like amateur photographers or ice-hockey fans. Disclaimer: This article is 99 44/100% free of irony. Continue reading

100th anniversary of the Golden Twenties! A chance for the rise of 1920ies larp?

Das Vermächtnis 1925 photo (c) Rafael Bienia

I was not familiar with the Golden Twenties until I participated in ‘Das Vermächtnis’ (2008), a German 1920ies Cthulhu larp taking place in an almost dilapidated mansion in France.

As part of my preparation for this live action role-playing event, I had spent certainly 700 hours with reading articles and watching film footage from this period.

My connection with that age had been only the German cinema. I was delighted to watch all the strange movies again. There are excellent films, such as Nosferatu, Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, Der Golem – wie er die Welt sah, Häxan, to name the most important ones for me. Continue reading