Ok so in an hour it’s a bit past five which means it will be two weeks after the start of my run of Just a Little Lovin’ (JaLL). Others have already written about their experience properly a lot less rambling and more eloquent than me, (I haven’t read them yet but might do after this post and I’ll make sure to link them in a later post as well). As regular readers know I like to write detailed and rambling straight from mind to word about my role play experiences, which until now has been at conventions. With the larpwriter summer school (LWSS) last year being a bit different but Still the same.
I’m a bit in doubt as what to do this time, as the experience was very personal and hard to explain without going on for plus 15 pages, I know because that is what I have done. Before writing this I wrote a long and detailed retelling of the whole thing. Not to be published but as an exercise in remembering and as it turned out handling the whole experience. It’s an epic journey in notes, ramblings and disorganization. If I ever write it up I might publish it a bit hidden as some have asked to read it (the poor bastards).
But this will then be the short version to try and tell just quickly about my JaLL experience. And that will properly be followed by a few other posts, we’ll see. Right now I’m on the train heading to the alumni gathering at the LWSS, so I might get around to write some more posts there. Any way let’s get going. (Edit it’s still five but now it’s the other five and I’m at Riga airport).
JaLL is without a doubt the most intense and through designed game I have ever played. I understand now why some call it the best larp in the world. There’s other as well designed games out there but it’s the mix of brilliant design with a theme and especially the handling of the theme that creates just a more intense experience.
Quick recap (read my posts leading up to JaLL for more about the game and how I prepared for it here) the game is set in the gay and alternative communities of New York in the eighties and followed how the aids epidemic devastates the community, but also brings people together in friendships that defies even death.
In short: a well designed game will give a strong experience, a game with the themes such as death, friendship and happiness in the darkest hour will, even with a halfhearted design, give a strong experience, and a game with such well written, colorful and just living the hell out of it characters would even without the theme and design give a strong experience. Combine all three of them and you got why JaLL does what it does.
I knew that the theme and the design was strong. Through out the game the designer in me thought oh that’s just perfect, that’s just pushing all the right buttons that little detail there. But it’s only now I’m fully realizing the importance of the characters, it’s not only that they are well written (although they are) it’s that they’re just right. They are intense, they are living life, they are well I lack words, just right. They all have the themes of desire, fear of death and friendship written into the core of them. That’s the lesson your characters shouldn’t just be the right kind of people to tell the story (we need a stockbroker and a drag queen and a closeted senator) they should also be the essence of the themes and feelings you want your players to explore. I only see this now, but it’s brilliant.
I know part of the credit have to go to us players (yay pat ourselves on the shoulder). Just to mention one thing: people went all out on costumes, found looks that both felt like the right time, but also made it very clear what kind of character you were and as the acts progressed also showed the development of the characters. I was very aware of this in my own game, each day thinking over what clothing would best show the situation of the character. And it was clear that so did everyone else which just gave such a cool effect.
So what about my experience? Well wow it’s, well it was in a word intense. I kinda had two parallel stories that complemented each other but was very different in hummm emotional effect. One was a cool and different and in its own twisted way beautiful narrative, the other a much more emotional journey for me as the player. Close to home in a way I have not tried before. I think I’ll retell them shortly in a separate post, just like I’ll do a separate post on the design and in that also the structure of the game. (Edit I’m doing that now and finding it very hard to build down the story so that might end up as many posts).
So let’s stop this post here. If there’s any thing about the experience that you would like me to write about feel free to tell me. As I’m a bit in doubt as to what to write about this time. So what do you want to hear about, that would be a great help.