Game Nation: A Massively Multiplayer Offline Role-Playing Game

Illustration for article titled Game Nation: A Massively Multiplayer Offline Role-Playing Game

Game Nation is gearing up to make your live-action role-playing dreams come true, now scouting locations for the world's first "Experiential Video Game Theme Park and Resort." Sounds like some expensive LARPing to me!

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In 1981, Larry Niven and Steven Barnes produced Dream Park, a novel about an interactive role-playing game resort, where players participate in live-action role-playing games with the aid of holographic technology. Like any pen-and-paper or video game RPG, players accrued experience points and power, gaining the respect of their peers and striking fear in the hearts of their enemies.

That's what Game Nation sounds like, sans the holographic technology. It's a massive role-playing game set in its own resort, complete with weapons, classes, and experience points. "Your dreams and fantasies will come to life," claims the official press release. My fantasies? Isn't that illegal?

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The release doesn't deliver much in the way of specifics, instead talking big about the grand adventures you will have, with a special message from Game Nation's creator, Ruke.

"I remember when I younger and I played video games, when I finished the game I wished that world was real and I could be part of it." said Ruke, Creator of Game Nation. "It's fantastic that people will get to actually realize everything they've seen in a video game come to life".

Ruke, ladies and gentlemen.

This wouldn't be the first time someone attempted to create an amusement park centered around live-action role-playing. In the 90's a company took on the name Dream Park, planning to come as close as possible to Niven and Barnes' vision with current technology. Dream Park Corporation went bankrupt in 1997, and the park never surfaced.

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With several locations across the U.S. and Japan, MagiQuest is probably the closest anyone has come to commercializing LARPing, giving players special wands they can use outside of official locations to duel other players. There's even an online MagiQuest game created by Myst developer Cyan Worlds.

Game Nation sounds a bit more ambitious, but it's hard to tell. The creators are currently looking for the ideal location for the theme park / resort, and should have that wrapped up within the next year. Perhaps then we'll get more information on what exactly it entails, and whether or not Ruke can pull it off.

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DISCUSSION

Somewhere, a kid who saw the film versions of, "The Lord of the Rings," is preparing his epic tale of murdered parents, a ransacked village, and a wounded soul in hopes that he will meet a woman at this park who is into men who can't cope with their own issues.

As a long-time pen and paper RP'er, I find this prospect at once distressing (because anyone who's honest about the hobby KNOWS I'm right) and vaguely insulting. Rolling a d20 shouldn't turn people into Stephanie Meyer-quality writers, but it often does, to the detriment of the medium and the individual. This theme park? It's only going to make it worse, because you'll have eight billion special snowflakes running around being, "the chosen one," all at once.

The collision of egotism, lackluster writing skill and particle-board grade imagination will be absolutely spectacular, in the way a wreck between two trains laden with tomatoes and baking soda would be.