Friday, September 10, 2010

From Shame to Fame

I find it quite interesting that Kevin at LARP Source made a post on the same topic I had planned. Great minds think alike.

Now that Starcraft 2 is out, eSports is getting a lot of play, even here in the US. Players and teams in the US are getting sponsors for, well, playing video games.

I'm not trying to belittle their accomplishments. These players are seriously competing on the highest level, to the point where the common player might have a hard time following what they're doing. But what really gets me is that people are starting to make a living off of something they may have been ashamed about once.

And the biggest reason they're seeing such popularity now is that a few revolutionaries in their field stopped being ashamed at what they did, and instead spread the word.

Kevin asked if we think we could have corporate sponsors for the game or not. I think it's a bit early for that. One of the reasons you get sponsored is that there is going to be significant visibility for the sponsors. Until we can start televising events or creating brands of products, we simply won't be prime targets for sponsorship. Unfortunately, to get these events televised, players are going to have to stop being ashamed of what they do.

In my opinion, the closest path to sponsorship at this point is through the game Jugger. It's close enough to a sport and lacks actual roleplaying, so it may seem a lot less damning than the lightning bolt video. They're putting a league together (USJL) and anyone can start a team. And when you start that team, you have to start telling people about it, telling people that you're a jugger.

We have to overcome our shame, and if it means going through an intermediary like Jugger, then so be it. The only way we'll start to get acceptance as a culture is for people to know LARPers, and to identify the fact that we're not so different after all.

So let me ask the readers. Do your friends know you LARP? Significant other? Co-Workers?


  1. World of Warcraft Arena teams have sponsors, but it was a process. The teams had to define themselves as the best, offer resources to other players, consistently have current content, and then market themselves. WoW has millions of players so sponsorship is easier.

    If you wanted a LARP sponsor. You would have to create a website that has the best resources anywhere on the internet, have blogs attached such as this, post more vids and pics, and actively pursue vendors.

    Call up vendors of say latex weapons. Try to arrange a deal. "Hey give us 10 weapons and we'll feature your items in our upcoming videos and pics at our events, we'll also right a review on why they are better and even provide a link to you as a recommended source"

    I spent some time in marketing and it is amazing the amount of free stuff you can get if presented correctly.

    As for your poll...
    Co-Workers: NOPE
    Friends: Yes, they think it's dorky, a few are curious, and a few tried
    Wife; oh she knows, she's embarrassed lol

    I think if probably 1 out of 5 ppl you know gave it an honest shot, they would enjoy it.

  2. Umm... nah. I'm perfectly fine being ashamed of what we do and not getting my lunch money stolen by real world thugs.

    Thx for the thought.

  3. I love the sport aspect of our game, I would gladly accept sponsorship. I played paintball on a sponsored team, it is pretty incredible to do what you love for free.

  4. Sponsoring and building your game like paintball did from the 80s till now is the way to go, not e-sports.

  5. While that might be a good idea, the problem arises when paintball was not a "forbidden" hobby. People could easily tell everyone else that they played paintball.

    In that respect, LARP has a lot more in common with eSports.

  6. To be honest, I think that LARP has gone fairly mainstream. I've seen it portrayed on at least 7 different popular t.v. shows.

    MANY more people are aware of D&D, thanks to Barnes and Noble, the movie and the rise in conventions.

    Everyone I know is aware that I LARP. Both Deans at the colleges I teach at were not only aware of D & D, but had played and some point and were totally jazzed and interested when they read "Live Action Role-Playing", a combination of impromptu theater and medieval fest....Frankly, I think it is why I got hired.

    I think I've only been vague once. That was to my doctor/allergist. I tried to be vague and mentioned that I camp, cause he was asking about possible allergens. At which point he asked what camp, since he is a camper. The conversation degraded until the truth came out. At which point he mentioned that he played some tabletop (maybe D&D) and his son was totally into LARP (Daggerheir maybe?).

    So really, there's an inner geek in most of us. Everyone is just so afraid to let it shine or of what others might think that sometimes it is easier to just hide it.

    But seriously, the group of guys that first brought me to NERO? Gun-toting, total rednecks with the self-made bass, recommissioned T-Bird, tobacco-shooting hilljacks. And they loved every minute:-)

    I totally respect those that are still in the closet, and I totally understand the reason why.

    Someday, though, your going to be at Origins. You're going to see your boss. And they shall have a D&D book under one arm and a Cthulu stuffed animal head under the other. FTW.