by Jeremiah Sater
What is LARPing? A question that is baffling to those who are unfamiliar with the acronym. For those unfamiliar, LARPing is abbreviated for Live Action Role Playing.
Those who take part in it are generally acting out videogames. Devin Bell, a member of the group, described it as bringing the videogame like Skyrim to life or any game their imagination can bring to life.
Ben Buhrmen, the faculty advisor of the group, has been a part of LARPing since 2005. However, it was not until Collin Scarbrough, the president and founder of this LARPing group, came to Buhrmen at the beginning of this past semester that he took part in this specific group.
According to Scarbrough, the process is slowly moving toward what he hopes will make the group an official club. Currently, the club has no official status with the college.
Scarbrough said he did “an entire semester worth of research,” before suggesting that the LARPing group become official club.
While the process is slowly moving, the group has been meeting at Halfway Park until it is allowed on campus.
Both Buhrmen and Scarbrough want to have it on campus for more than the fun it provides. They also spoke of the many academic aspects to it.Participants in the activity use “primary sources, secondary sources, and even tertiary sources,” said Buhrmen. This is invaluable experience for any college student, he said.
In LARPing, a character is created such as in a videogame, but in real life. Buhrmen emphasized that research is needed to create an accurate character that adds to the academics of college.
Beyond the academic aspects, Buhrmen also mentioned how LARPing students have been used for the police academy to act out situations to test the officers. LARPing students have also worked with the nursing program and being used to prepare them for certain real life situations.
Buhrmen said the uses of LARPing goes beyond the fun they have, even helping others with their ability to act.
The traits within LARPing help not only in academic research, but also with job interviews as Scarbrough explained. LARPing experience can help students to act the part when given situations in an interview.
Scarbrough has a list of more than half a dozen benefits LARPing has for the students of HCC that all the members of the group agreed they “want to accomplish if it becomes a club.”
The current members would welcome anyone that wants to become a part of the group, Scarbrough said. They currently average about 20 people in the group.
Scarbrough also said they “role-play to find [their] place in life.”
As the president of the group and his character being a king, Scarbrough said he has learned leadership skills.
Anyone taking part can take real life experiences from it and apply them to their life in college or in their lives after school Scarbrough further said.
He also described it as a “healthy step from reality.” Not only does it use imagination for academia, but a different outlet than videogames to have that step away from reality.
Buhrmen said that many members are “gamers looking for another outlet.”
Bell described the attraction of the “It gets me out of videogames.” It has the physical activity that videogames do not, “it is a very tiring” activity to take part in.
Bell further described it as an “escape from reality to our own fantasy world” bringing the videogames to life while acting as a stress-reliever.
Scarbrough and Buhrmen said the questions about LARP being childish miss the point.
Scarbrough said that some people engaged in LARPing needed to find their “inner-child,” finding no problem with it being called childish.
“I would ask what about theater or costume design,” Buhrmen said.
Bell spoke the need for imagination that LARPing fuels, as it “is good for careers that need imagination.”
Scarbrough described it as “improv theater,” adding that it provides free entertainment for the students not participating in the action. On occasion, he said, people watching the action have even interacted with LARPers engaged in their sport.
Scarbrough said he hopes to use the academic benefits to outweigh the minor insurance issues the college to officially welcome the group as a club onto the campus.