Posted Thu, May 27, 2010 by Sardu
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What if the concept of a "theme park" MMOG were to cross over into being a real world attraction? That's exactly what Game Nation has proposed with the announcement of the "world's first experiential video game theme park and resort". Yes, you read that correctly. We'll take a closer look at one of the most bizarre new concepts to hit the wide world of gaming in recent years today in Loading... Welcome to LARPland.
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At one point or another, we've all heard of MMOGs referred to as either a "sandbox" or "theme park". The differentiating characteristics between the two being that the former tends to be somewhat open ended but gives players the tools to create their own experience such as EVE Online's Tyrannis expansion which launched yesterday. The latter tends to provide players specific points of interest and more often than not leads them by the nose to get there through various means as popularized for the masses by World of Warcraft.
Now, on any given day I come up with plenty of wacky ideas that I realize should never be made public. But even at their wackiest, I don't think I've ever sat down and said to myself, "Gee, I wish there were a real world MMOG theme park where piles of gamers could LARP the day away and then settle in for the night with a relaxing massage given by a team of ninjas." But when I first read about Game Nation, that's exactly what I pictured. Or more specifically, I pictured a cross between this video, DragonCon cosplay contests and Fantasy Island. And to be honest I don't know whether I should be highly amused at the thought, or very, very scared.
Described as the world's first Experiential Video Game Theme Park and Resort, Game Nation claims, "Visitors will become players as their dreams and fantasies come to life in adventures yet to be told. You will become anything you like and live out the character you create. But this is no game. It's real!"
Apparently we still have plenty of time to ponder whether to be amused or scared by the thought of what Game Nation is proposing, as the official website states that a location for the theme park will be decided sometime in the next 12 months. The 'What is Game Nation?' portion of the site is similarly cryptic, upping the bizarro factor by 10 with a long winded description of setting out on grand adventures or talk of majestic relics and whimsical hardware rather than explaining what in the world this place is supposed to be.
Regardless, I have to admit a morbid curiosity to see what ultimately comes of this. For all I know it might not be the LARPland train wreck waiting to happen that I imagine it to be, but then again all signs point to a giant case of WTF? whenever I think about it for too long.
Do you think the world is prepared for the coming of LARPland? Do other, even more bizarre things spring to mind when you contemplate the idea of stepping into a real world MMOG? Don your favorite +10 Cape of Conversing and share your thoughts in the Loading... forum!
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- Reuben "Sardu" Waters and the Ten Ton Hammer team