Larry Hosken: New: Puzzle Hunts^W^W LARPs are Everywhere, Even the Transbay Terminal

Girts noticed something Nonchalant-Game-ish to do this evening in San Francisco. There was a nicely-done stroll. (It was fun! I'm glad I went! I still don't want to do Nonchalant-ish things that don't have strong direction. But by golly, when you do one of their events in the correct order, you really appreciate their design and their production values!) We got through that. And then there was something else: Girts got an SMS saying that something was going on at a nearby bus station. And there we found out that the Games of Nonchalance also have a LARP-y aspect: a figure in black kowtowing to a strange diagram. In the evening's activities, we'd learned some backstory: two groups in conflict. We were "earning" our application to join one group. This mysterious figure in black was no doubt from the other group. He hopped on a bicycle and rode away. Girts and I could have tried to stop him, but we didn't.

LARPers are, I guess, into the role-playing elements. I say that because when we talked to some of our fellow players afterwards—well, one of them chased after the mysterious black-clad bicyclist. Another one wanted to catch the bicyclist and wrestle answers out of him. Chasing. Wrestling.

I remembered helping a man with a broken ankle, helping carry him to a bench where he could sit down. He broke his ankle chasing a "henchman", just running around in a park. I remembered the catch in DeeAnn's voice, as she talked about this. DeeAnn of that game's Game Control, someone who cared deeply about her players' safety. It sounded like she wanted to cry when she talked later about that guy and his ankle.

These kids, running around, talking about wresting non-player characters... I hope these kids remember that we can be fragile. I doubt I want to be running beside them if they forget. I've collided with gamists before; it wasn't fun.

Tags: puzzle hunts brutal truth
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