Friday, November 19, 2010

The beauty of a thing at rest

NERO International has been the premier traveling boffer fighting larp for a long time. New games have better rules and better ideas but NERO stays the course with momentum. I believe that the time is nigh for a revolution in gaming the likes of which our generation of larpers has not seen. Join me brethren, viva la revolucion!


  1. Actually, NERO is smaller than some of the other foam fighting games, like Dag and possibly Amtgard. But as far as games with continuous character advancement and customization I believe NERO's the biggest.

  2. Momentum and simplicity. Though some of the playtests and the formal magics can get complex, the core of the game's easy to remember.

    That's harder to achieve than you'd think, in LARP...

  3. The way I see it, nobody really likes Nero any more. They like the IDEA of what Nero COULD be - what we keep saying it will be just as soon as is finished. But then when that comes out, there's always some reason (or excuse) why it's not quite as good as it we say it was supposed to be.

    What draws people to Nero and keeps them there is that core concept of a true "living, national campaign." Unfortunately, that rarely extends past the names of the settings. Sure, Greyhorn and Therendry are both Duchies within the Kingdom of Evendar, but how often are any world events in Therendry ever felt in any other chapter? For instance, Greyhorn was utterly devastated by undead a year or two ago, but unless someone from that game told you so, you'd never know it because the writing staffs don't communicate. (This isn't a dig at ARGO and Metro specifically, I'm just using them as examples because they're the two chapters I've been to most recently.)

    I've been hearing statements to the effect of, "Larp is dead," with increasing frequency over the last few years. I contend - the larp of the 80s and 90's is, indeed, well and proper dead. However, the larp of the 21st century is still on the horizon. Everything from cheaper and more readily accessible means of production, to the sudden prominence of technology, the internet and social networking will make the next generations of larp games something truly spectacular. If done right, the next big national campaign will be as different from the Nero of old as the Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move are from an Atari 800.

    That's a really great analogy, actually. Back in the Atari/NES days, we didn't realize that video games totally sucked. In fact, they were fun as hell! But there's absolutely no question that Gears of War 2 is of a completely different scope and scale than the original Contra. When Contra was the newest, best game out there, we had a ton of fun with it. But, barring some fit of nostalgia-enduced emulator gaming, you never hear people clamoring for more 8-bit cartridge games. Nearly every successful board game and tabletop RPG has embraced this concept. Talisman, Axis and Allies, D&D, World of Darkness, Warhammer, hell, even Monopoly has released new revisions and fresh takes on their games. Nero is one of the only ones to remain almost completely static over the last decade.

    It's time for Larp to move forward with the rest of the gaming industry.

  4. Bah. I used <> angle brackets in the first paragraph and the editor must have interpreted them as HTML code. The 2nd sentence should read:

    "They like the IDEA of what Nero COULD be - what we keep saying it will be just as soon as [the next big national project] is finished."