Fantasy roleplaying games are either played out around a snack-strewn table or sat at a high-powered gaming rig, right? Well, not necessarily. LARPing is a fairly old phenomenon, but True Dungeon is an interesting twist on the idea that I’d not heard of before:
“Each year at Gen Con Indy, a massive gaming convention held in Indianapolis, Martin and a cadre of volunteers assemble a life-size dungeon, complete with traps, monsters and treasure. More than 3,000 people — some dressed for the part — take on the role of a fantasy adventurer and travel through the dungeon each year, attempting to avoid traps, defeat monsters and claim treasure.
From the 6,000 hand-carved stones that make up the walls to True Dungeon‘s immersive sound effects, Martin strives to provide the ambiance of a classic fantasy dungeon. Some monsters are portrayed by volunteers in makeup, while others are sculpted creations or animatronic puppets. Martin adds more detail and complexity each year, within the limits of the space available.”
So yeah, my inner geek thinks that would probably be a guilty pleasure it’d quite enjoy as well. But I wonder if there’d be enough interest in it that a permanent installation somewhere would be a viable business proposition? Both fantasy worlds and RPGs are big business these days by comparison to their outsider status of a few decades ago, after all. [image by Danielle Blue]
Imagine what you could do with a couple of empty warehouses… and you wouldn’t have to stick to fantasy settings, you could just as easily whomp up something more science fictional. Hell, why stop at a couple of warehouses – once they’ve been emptied by the urban drift, you could make an entire town into an RPG setting! Oh, wait, hang on…
Games can be a great tool for learning and for developing new ideas. Hence the Institute for the Future‘s new “forecasting” game, Superstruct – it’s a roleplaying game acted that will be acted out on blogs and social media platforms from September 2008. Here’s a snippet from the FAQ:
Q: What is Superstruct?
A: Superstruct is the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. By playing the game, you’ll help us chronicle the world of 2019–and imagine how we might solve the problems we’ll face. Because this is about more than just envisioning the future. It’s about making the future, inventing new ways to organize the human race and augment our collective human potential.
Q: What does ‘superstruct’ mean?
Su`per`struct` v. t. 1.To build over or upon another structure; to erect upon a foundation.
Superstructing is what humans do. We build new structures on old structures. We build media on top of language and communication networks. We build communities on top of family structures. We build corporations on top of platforms for manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. Superstructing has allowed us to survive in the past and it will help us survive the super-threats.
Q: How do I play Superstruct?
A: Superstruct is played on forums, blogs, videos, wikis, and other familiar online spaces. We show you the world as it might look in 2019. You show us what it’s like to live there. Bring what you know and who you know, and we’ll all figure out how to make 2019 a world we want to live in.
Via Jamais Cascio, who’s been involved in developing the idea, you can read the full Superstruct press release on the IFTF website.
It’s an interesting idea, and very in line with Futurismic‘s mission, because it’s encouraging people to apply science fictional thinking to a very plausible near-future scenario… and to do so with a purpose, namely inventing a future where we don’t snuff ourselves out as a species. [image by Philipp Klinger]