Getting A Haircut And A Real Job – Interview with Mikko Rautalahti (Remedy) & Andie Nordgren (CCP Games)

Played around with larp and roleplaying all your life? Want to make so good use of all the experience gained after entering all kinds of strange worlds? Well, at least Mikko Rautalahti and Andie Nordgren has done just that and are now employed at the video game studios Remedy Entertainmet (Alan Wake, Max Payne) and CCP Games (Eve Online, World of Darkness). Here interviewed by Johanna Koljonen about their thoughts about their work today and it’s connections to their roleplaying background.

Mikko Rautalahti plays role-playing games because they’re awesome. When he’s not pretending to be somebody very interesting, or enabling others to do the same, he writes. Turns out that can be a real job! He’s currently employed at Remedy Entertainment as a senior writer, where he makes video games like Alan Wake. To the best of your knowledge, he has never punched a baby.
Andie Nordgren produced the Interactive Emmy Award winning game The Truth About Marika and is currently working as a technical producer at CCP Games. She is one of the co-founders of the Geek Girl Meetup, a member of the change-through-participation think tank Interacting Arts, and was recently chosen one of ten people whose advice the next Swedish prime minister should heed by Internetworld magazine.

Site: log.andie.se
Twitter: @nordgren

Johanna Koljonen is a writer, Radio and TV host, critic, and a popular lecturer on larp and related topics. Her groundbreaking larp criticism, in essays like “Eye-Witness to the Illusion: The Impossibility of 360° Role-Playing” and “The Dragon Was the Least of it: Larp As Ephemera and Ruin” are widely quoted in the field. She is a co-founder of the TV, radio and web production company Rundfunk Media AB and has a BA in literature. She has hosted several popular radio shows such as “P3 Kultur – Nördorama med Johanna Koljonen” and “Jättestora frågor med Johanna Koljonen” on Swedish national radio and writes columns for Dagens Nyheter and Fokus. She is the scriptwriter of the Oblivion High series of graphic novels and the co-author of the book-length larp autopsy Dragonbane – The Legacy. She also won the innovator category of the The Swedish Grand Journalism Prize of 2011.

Site: johannakoljonen.com
Twitter: @jocxy

Photo: Jakob la Cour www.jakoblacour.dk

On Games: Painting Life With Rules

Johanna Koljonen is a writer, Radio and TV host, critic, and a popular lecturer on larp and related topics. Her groundbreaking larp criticism, in essays like “Eye-Witness to the Illusion: The Impossibility of 360° Role-Playing” and “The Dragon Was the Least of it: Larp As Ephemera and Ruin” are widely quoted in the field. She is a co-founder of the TV, radio and web production company Rundfunk Media AB and has a BA in literature. She has hosted several popular radio shows such as “P3 Kultur – Nördorama med Johanna Koljonen” and “Jättestora frågor med Johanna Koljonen” on Swedish national radio and writes columns for Dagens Nyheter and Fokus. She is the scriptwriter of the Oblivion High series of graphic novels and the co-author of the book-length larp autopsy Dragonbane – The Legacy.

Site: johannakoljonen.com
Twitter: jocxy

Photo by: Jacob la Cour

Nordic Larp Talks Copenhagen, 16 Feb 19.00 at Huset

Welcome to Nordic Larp Talks Copenhagen 2011 – an evening of entertaining, thought-provoking and mind-boggling lectures about projects and ideas from the Nordic tradition of live action roleplaying games.

The evening is hosted by writer and radio & television host Johanna Koljonen.

Free admission.

19.00-20.30 at Huset i Magstræde, Rådhusstræde 13, Copenhagen
The bar is open after the event. 

The event will be streamed live as it happens, on this page:
http://nordiclarp.knudepunkt.org/

Facebook event: Nordic Larp Talks Copenhagen 2011

Press contact: Kristoffer Thurøe k@doodlers.dk +45 2980 8128

Program

Nordic Larp culture
Johanna Koljonen

Fabricating madness
Peter Schønnemann Andreasen

Learning through playing
Sanne Harder Flamant

Playing with personal development
Bjarke Pedersen

Why some games use our real life fears and emotions to create stories
Markus Montola

Not another story of boy meets girl
Tor Kjetil Edland

Can playing games teach us about war?
Eirik Fatland

Documenting the Nordic Larp Scene – the making of the Nordic Larp Book
Panel: Jaakko Stenros & Johanna Koljonen

Watch this space for updated information about the speakers.

Nordic Larp Talks 2011 is organized in cooperation with Rollespilsfabrikken and Bifrost, and supported by DUF and Københavns Kommune. It is a part of the programme the week before larp conference Knudepunkt.

About Nordic Larp Talks:

The first Nordic Larp Talks event took place in Stockholm in 2010, in connection with Nordic larp conference Knutpunkt. All the talks can be seen on this website:

Introduction to Nordic Larp

Transmitting a political vision through larp

The Quest for the Perfect Manifestation of a Dream

Portraying Love and Trying New Genders

Larp as Borderland Festivals

High Resolution Larping

Critical Strategies of Larp

Nordic Larp Book Talkshow

The Nordic Larp book presents 30 outstanding larps with stories told by designers, players and researchers. It is presented with over 250 photographs and also contains two essays about the history and rhetorics of Nordic larp, and it’s current relation to theatre, art and games. We held a talkshow about the book with critic Johanna Koljonen and book producer Anna Westerling during the release parties held simultaneously in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki.


 The live talkshow was broadcasted on the 22nd December 2010 during the release parties of the Nordic Larp book. Host was writer and critic Johanna ‘Joc’ Koljonen.

Guests:
Jaakko Stenros – Book editor, Finland
Markus Montola – Book editor, Finland
Erlend Eidsem Hansen – Chapter author, Norway
Bjarke Pedersen – Chapter author, Denmark
Anna Westerling – Book producer, Sweden

Buy your copy of the book at the webshop Fealivia.se

And don’t miss out on the Nordic Larp blog & Knudepunkt 2011

The show was produced by Petter Karlsson and SocialVideo Production

What some people have said about the book:

“Nordic Larp is a rare and vivid glimpse into a fascinating gaming tradition. If anyone knows how to imagine better worlds and build a more engaging reality, it’s larpers.”
Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

“Now evolved far from its roots in genre consumption and modification, the progressive Nordic live roleplaying scene is building the tools for participatory performance that artists internationally will be using for generations to come. Nordic Larp is the first book to put the community’s key pieces in one easily digestible and visually seductive format.”
Brody Condon, Artist

“The rise of the ars ludorum is not confined to the bombastic power fantasies of the videogame but is manifest all over the globe in diverse ways, from the doujin games of Japan to the passionate intensity of the indie games movement to the rise of the Euro-style board game. Not least among these movements is larp, brought to its apotheosis in the Nordic countries, where vast, imaginative works of enormous artistic ambition receive attention not only from game geeks but from their national cultures as well. This vital phenomenon is now accessible to English speakers through this landmark work, an anthology of articles describing some of the most impressive and compelling works of the form. Anyone seriously interested in role-play, interactive narrative, and the collision between games and theater will find it of enormous interest.”
Greg Costikyan, Game Designer

We are doing a new round of Nordic Larp Talks in conjunction with the Knudepunkt 2011 conference. Read more about that here.

Introduction to Nordic larp – Johanna Koljonen

Johanna Koljonen introduces Nordic larp by talking about her bodily experience of a fallout shelter outside Tulsa during an alternate past Cuban Missile Crisis. She explains how you can understand what goes in to creating ambitious larps by comparing the process with a birthday party, and goes on to answer the question of wether these games are games at all. Watch this Nordic Larp Talk for a brief introduction to Nordic Larp and why it’s an art form worth knowing more about.

Johanna Koljonen is a writer, Radio and TV host, critic, and a popular lecturer on larp and related topics. Her groundbreaking larp criticism, in essays like “Eye-Witness to the Illusion: The Impossibility of 360° Role-Playing” and “The Dragon Was the Least of it: Larp As Ephemera and Ruin” are widely quoted in the field.  She is a co-founder of the TV, radio and web production company Rundfunk Media AB and has a BA in literature. She has hosted several popular radio shows such as “P3 Kultur – Nördorama med Johanna Koljonen” and “Jättestora frågor med Johanna Koljonen” on Swedish national radio and writes columns for Dagens Nyheter and Fokus. She is the scriptwriter of the Oblivion High series of graphic novels and the co-author of the book-length larp autopsy Dragonbane – The Legacy. Read more: johannakoljonen.com

Further reading

Eye-Witness to the Illusion: An Essay of the Impossibility of 360° Role-Playing
by Johanna Koljonen, in the 2007 Knudepunkt anthology Lifelike.

One of the dominant design ideals in Nordic larp is the 360° illusion, the ambition to create a physically realized virtual reality in which “what you see is what you get” – everything in the game area representing its fictional counterparts exactly. In this essay, Koljonen traces the development of this ideal, charts the experience of interacting with such an environment, compares it with real-life role-playing situations and challenges the assumption that a complete physical illusion will always bolster the experience of being “in character”. The essay includes descriptions of the larps Föreningen Visionära Vetenskapsmäns Årliga Kongress (a conference of mad scientists), Carolus Rex (retro-futuristic space pulp staged on a Russian submarine), Knappnålshuvudet (a combined lunatic asylum and therapy centre watched over by guardian angels).

The Dragon Was the Least of it: Larp As Ephemera and Ruin by Johanna Koljonen, in the 2008 Solmukohta anthology Playground Worlds. 

Dragonbane – The Legacy by Johanna Koljonen, Tiina Kuustie and Tiinaliisa Multamäki

PDF download

This book-length post-mortem and the theoretical essay that preceded it describe the design, production and outcome of the fantasy larp Dragonbane, in which an enormous international team of volunteers created a fully-functional fantasy village in the remote forests of Swedish Älvdalen. The game had functional magic, special effects and pyrotechnics and an animatronic dragon the size of a building.

24 Hours in a Bomb Shelter: Player, Character and Immersion in Ground Zero
by Heidi Hopeametsä, in the 2008 Solmukohta anthology Playground Worlds.