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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

– LARPs can change the world- According to Norway's new Minster of Development – Imagonem

<blockquote class='posterous_long_quote'><div class="post-info"><span title="2012-03-27T20:35:44+00:00" class="date published time">27. mars 2012</span> By <span class="author vcard"><span class="fn"></span></span> <span class="post-comments">4 kommentarer</span> </div> <div class="entry-content"> <h3>At least according to Norway’s new Minister of International Development, Heikki Holmås.</h3> <div class="wp-caption alignright" style=""><p class="wp-caption-text">Minister of Development Heikki Holmås (39) with the Norwegian edition of D&amp;D Basic. Photo: Imagonem/Ole Peder Giæver.</p></div> <p>- I started playing with Ian Livingstone’s The Forest of Doom when I was 15, the minister from western Norway says.</p> <p>From the series of Fighting Fantasy books, the leap wasn’t long to Dungeons &amp; Dragons.</p> <p>With his cousin and a group of English speaking players, the new minister from the Norwegian party Sosialistisk Venstreparti (“Socialist Left”) started playing the Red Box. Soon, they moved on to Advanced Dungeons &amp; Dragons.</p> <p>Holmås was a founding member of the RPG convention RegnCon in the Norwegian city of Bergen, which he led from 1992-1993.</p></div></blockquote>

Excerpt from the interview (crazy!):

"O. - Once I played a eunuch in a Harem. He was captured as a child, and desperately wanted to escape captivity. He also wanted to, how I should put it; regain his manhood by the use of magic.

The minister also participated in the historical LARP 1942, set in a village in the western part of Norway during the Second World War.

H.- It was great. It was insane… I played a member of the Farmer’s Party who’d gone over to the National Socialist party of Norway. He was a carpenter and a collaborator, building an airport for the Germans, Holmås recalls.

He was very impressed by the effort of the organizers.

H.- It was an incredible staging of 1942. We had people dressed like German soldiers, driving around in amphibious vehicles. It was totally… it was an amazing LARP. I’ve never before or since felt such a total feeling of isolation in society. Isolation, and the despair that grabs you when you realized that your German masters didn’t give a shit.

The minister also sees a political potential in role playing games.

H.- RPGs can be extremely relevant in putting people in situations they’re unfamiliar with. Save the Children have their refugee games. I have friends in Bergen who’ve run human rights-RPGs. But you have to be professional. You create real emotions when you play role playing games, real emotions that stick, he says.

H.- That’s kind of the slightly scary aspect of role playing games, which has to be considered. At the same time, it’s what makes it possible for RPGs to change the world. LARP can change the world, because it lets people understand that humans under pressure may act differently than in the normal life, when you’re safe.

The minister of Development has taken note of a Norwegian LARP-project in Palestine later this year.

H.- I don’t know all the details, but there’s no doubt that you can put Israelis into the situation of the Palestinians and vice versa in a way that fosters understanding and builds bridges. Those things are an important aspect of role playing games which makes it possible to use them politically to create change..."

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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