Friday, August 13, 2010

another weirdo dream about a game

Last night I dreamed that my ol' game buddy Gopher invited my daughter and I to this sweet new LARP he was into.  Note that I'm confident that Gopher has never LARP'ed in his life.  Anyhoo, the deal with this LARP is that it's a dungeon exploration type affair set in a sprawling concrete and steel complex that has been seriously wired up.  Tiny cameras in every room, magnetic locks on some of the doors and wi-fi throughout the joint.

In addition to the usual costumery and props, every participant carries a smartphone of some sort.  Want to 'pick the lock' on one of the maglock doors?  You play a little lockpicking minigame on your iPhone or Droid or whatever.  Spell casting also worked through the smartphone.  Select light off of your spell list and remote controlled lights come on wherever you are at.  Cast clairvoyance and the phone shows you whatever the nearest hidden camera is picking up.

In the dream your phone also somehow tracked hit points.  You couldn't die in the middle of a fight, but after defeating the badguys you might get a text message telling you that you're dead.


  1. That would be AWESOME! I wonder how hard it would be to rig up an old laser tag place to do that. Or an off-season Renn Faire site. I think it would be easier to create and program custom devices, rather than require every person to have a smartphone.

    It's really just the obvious overlap between LARP and ARG. It just amazes me that you could set it up pretty easily with existing technology.

  2. Anonymous6:58 AM

    iLARP! Fantastic!


  3. Jeff, you need to ditch that whole going back to school thing and go into entertainment and amusement venture design!

  4. Anonymous4:07 PM

    Ever read Dream Park? It's thirty years old at this point, and the sequels switched over the VR tech instead of holograms as it seemed more plausible, but they're some great gaming fiction as well as decent mystery stories. The second book is The Barsoom Project, and the third The California Voodoo Game.

  5. A game he ran with his old roommate, Thugs For Drugs, was pretty close to a LARP. Involved toy guns and fake cash, lockers, clues, disguises....

  6. wierdo dream or pure genius? i know where my vote lies, and it is wholeheartedly in the latter...

  7. I had a similar idea once when I saw those apps people had that dropped GPS info into the live camera view into a smart phone and made sort of like an HUD overlapping reality. You look through the phone screen/camera lens and can see things that aren't THERE in real life.

    Most of the time, this is used to paste directional arrows giving people directions.

    But I thought, why not put monsters, puzzles, clues, etc. Basically you could lay real-world LARP/scavenger hunt/geocaching games over actual geography and architecture.

    All the "modules" and where you can start play, even scores and playthroughs could be kept on a central site.

    Anyone could create new "modules" anywhere on earth (where you can get a smartphone signal anyway) and it would add a whole new layer to going on vacation, right?

    Anyway, I really like the idea of adding a specialized environment to that, which would respond via door-locks and things of that same ilk.

    But that reality HUD thing has insane possibilities. Like, if you're an elf, the "secret doors" will be detectable when you look around for them.

    Stuff like that. :)