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.


Collegiate E-sports as Work or Play

Kauweloa Sky Winter Jennifer Sunrise
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

This study examined how collegiate E-sport athletes conceptualize the process of their own competitive game play as situated between work and play. Using interviews guided by Stebbins’ (2007) serious leisure perspective, 12 active, competitive, collegiate E-sport players described how they experience their gaming as work or play, how belonging to a collegiate E-sports team has shaped their identity, and how they experience gaming within the structured environment of a collegiate E-sports club team. This study extends the serious leisure perspective by applying the framework to collegiate E-sports. Overall, Stebbins’ description of skill and knowledge development of serious leisure was supported and the findings are in accord with Stebbins’ conceptualization of “personal rewards”, in particular self-expression, self-image, and self-actualization. Additionally, competitive gamers frame their development as skilled players by integrating the idea of “gamesense.” The study also found differences between players’ experiences in a more structured program (scholarship-based) and less-structured one.