The Post-Game Foodmob: Labor and Leisure in LARPing

Glenhaber Mehitabel
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

LARPing is a co-creative medium, in which participants collaboratively construct storyworlds, eschewing a traditional producer/consumer dichotomy. (Montola, 2012, Stark 2012) To facilitate co-creation, LARPing communities group participants as GMs or players, dividing up narrative roles (Montola, 2008) The negotiation of this division of narrative power has been extensively researched, mostly in Nordic LARPing communities. (Hammer, 2007, Sternos, 2016) However, there is less work on how divisions of creative control correspond to divisions of labor, and attitudes about what constitutes “work.” In this paper, I draw on participant observation and interviews in the MIT Assassins’ Guild, an American LARPing group, in order to explore attitudes about narrative control, labor, and power. I argue that, while the Assassins’ Guild is a non-commercial organization, where most members regard their participation as leisure, social relationships between players and GMs reflect vestiges of a producer/consumer relationship, which Guild members simultaneously reject and borrow from.


Playful Practices in Ancient Greek Philosophy

Weichelt Sebastian
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

This paper examines the philosophical practices of ancient Greece for symptoms of play, namely Socratic dialogues, sophism, Aristotle's idea of the perfect life, and thought experiments to find connections between rationality and play. And indeed, these practices can be identified as playful in ways that challenge Huizinga's and Caillois' definitions of play and games and point to an understanding of play as a mental activity.


“Overwatch is anime” – Exploring an alternative interpretational framework for competitive gaming

Ruotsalainen Maria Välisalo Tanja
2020 DiGRA ’20 – Proceedings of the 2020 DiGRA International Conference: Play Everywhere

Esports has often been likened and compared to traditional sports. This paper suggests an alternative interpretative framework for competitive gaming by focusing on the team-based first-person shooter game Overwatch. We explore Overwatch esports using multi-sited ethnography and demonstrate how the fans and viewers use a rich spectrum of cultural products to enrich and explain their relationship with esports. In the case of Overwatch, anime is particularly prominent, used not only to enrich and explain, but also to challenge ‘sports normativity’, which is visible in the media discussions on Overwatch as well as in the production choices of the esports tournament organizer. This also has consequences on the norms and the values of the fans and the viewer: for instance, it affects the way masculinity is constructed in the context of competitive Overwatch.