Let’s Test 2016 and Live Action Roleplaying

I’ve been accepted as a speaker at the Let’s Test Conference 2016 in Sweden this May, and I’m damn excited. This will be my first test-related conference, and I’ll be talking about roleplaying (Or LARPing) and how it can be used in a professional context. It’s gonna be awesome!

For those of you who doesn’t know what LARPing is, it started out as a “dress-up” version of classic pen and paper role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. An extra dimension was added as the players dressed up as their roles and acted out their actions instead of recounting them to the other players in an oral narrative. In a classical LARP, special rules make up for the lack of dice controlled actions, such as combat, magic and situations which could be difficult, dangerous or too extreme to enact properly (such as pick pocketing or sex). This classic approach to the form still exists today, but the genre has evolved in many different directions. LARP can also be described as game form that takes place in a physical environment and encompasses dramatic and narrative elements. LARP is a story-telling system in which players can assume a character role that the players through action and interaction are portraying in person. The game world is an environment located in both space and time that is agreed upon by the organizers and players, and is governed by a set of rules that in some instances must be formal and quantifiable.

“Wait, what? LARPing and software testing? How does that work?!”

During (at least) the last 10 years, there’s been a rise in LARP-themed events for larger and quite serious companies. Why? Because at LARPs, you allow yourself to “play”. A bit like kids do. And somehow, both kids and adults learn a lot when they play. Some adults just forget how to do it (And feel embarrassed about doing it). And that’s where these events excel, be it training for a specific situation (A presentation, an emergency…), or getting to know new colleagues while doing a dress-up dinner party. For many, the LARP themed events allow them to face situations they are unsure about, in a safe environment.  After all, it’s just for fun, and everyone else act and look silly too, so it doesn’t matter that you expose yourself. There are many ways to arrange and take part in the different events, and so many things that you can learn from engaging with it, though the things people take with them from these events are very different.

I’ve done LARPing for over a decade, and I still love participating in events. I can improvise on a whim. I’ve gained a distinct body language and confidence to “act” in front of a crowd, which in my professional career means that I feel at ease talking in front of other. Below I’ve added a small selection of images from recent events. It sometimes help people relate to the concept of LARPing.

The many faces of LARP
Me at different LARP events

I’ve based the talk/workshop on my master thesis from the Games study at the IT University in Copenhagen. It examines how live action roleplay can be used in building team relationships, and goes into the amazing relationships and connections that are established through these events. The thesis gathers data from interviews, observations and auto-ethnographic methods, and gives a short presentation to the genre and its history. If you want to learn more about LARPing and social connections, you can read the thesis here.

And if it’s caught your attention, you should join me at Let’s Test 2016!


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