Well that was only a matter of time

Its fairly common to see cookers derided as “larpers”. Now the FBI has a formal guide on how to tell the difference between larpers and violent extremists:


I’m not sure its right on “audience” (it thinks larps want one while violent people who later claim to be larpers really, really don’t). In Aotearoa, we’ve generally found an audience off-putting for the participants, as well as them missing a lot of what is going on. OTOH, our usual response when asked “can I watch” is “the best way to experience larp is by participating; would you like to play?”

Thanks for posting that. My understanding is that American LARP culture is very different from NZ as well so perhaps having an audience is much more an American thing.

As you say, it was only a matter of time. On that note, I have also noticed a growing trend on NZ social media platforms to decry, in particular the Freedoms Movements as ‘larping’.

Yes - in the sense of “pretending” (without understanding the other things larping is about). But you can just make a three inches of foam joke to dismiss that.

Interestingly, the “game” defence the FBI article is targeted at goes back quite a way in NZ. The Bill Trotter attempted kidnapping case in the early 2000s springs to mind…

Hadn’t come across that one - absolutely crazy to think they could get away with ‘its a game’.

I don’t think audiences are usually a thing in US larp either. It’s probably the FBI writers of the advice filling in the gaps in their knowledge with guesses. “Oh larp is like a performance so there must be an audience.”

They’re trying to convey contrasts between larp and dangerous people. Dangerous people are secretive and private, so larpers must be open and public. Not really accurate.

Paper is like 80% accurate of larp in general, another 10% accurate of most US larp (it’s just for fun!) and 10% inaccurate of larp generally. That last 10% is a bit of a concern if real larpers ever end up on trial. If you’re running a larp about overthrowing authorities or anything that might seem real and illegal, notify the police beforehand.