Research Blog Antarctica #62 – Claire Keegan’s Antarctica

Claire Keegan Antarctica

Book: Claire Keegan: Antarctica (Faber and Faber, 1999)

This is a collection of Irish short stories. The title story uses Antarctica as a metaphor, and that’s where the collection’s connection to the continent begins and ends. The title story is intereresting, and a couple of the others are good as well, but in general the writing is too abstract for my taste. There’s no sense of place, character, or anything, and many of the stories are mood pieces where very little happens. The subjects range from infidelity and dating to rural life.

Research Blog Antarctica #61

Forbidden Quest

Movie: Peter Delpeut: Forbidden Quest (The Netherlands, 1993)

A Dutch fake-documentary Antarctic movie! This is a great Antarctic film, done with very little means. Its a documentary about the fictitious Hollander expedition, put together using the actual vintage Antarctic and Arctic footage shot by Herbert Ponting, Frank Hurley and others.

The story soon veers into the weird when it turns out the Hollander expedition was looking for a tunnel from the Arctic to the Antarctic, but the whole thing is told in a very low key, stylish way. There’s even subtle Lovecraft references and a nod to the famous passage in Shackleton’s South about the fourth man.

Research Blog Antarctica #60: Alien Hunter

Alien Hunter

Movie: Ron Krauss: Alien Hunter (Bulgaria, U.S.A. 2003)

At first you think you’re watching the X-Files, then John Carpenter’s The Thing. Closer to the end you realize this is actually a pretty clever B-movie with some moves of its own.

In the beginning, alien stuff is found in the Antarctic ice, and we spend the rest of the movie in the claustrophobic environment of the South Pole base. There’s some cool and atmospheric scifi- and Antarctica low-budget special effects, and if the movie didn’t use stock footage, I could’ve been fooled. In a nice touch, some of the video from the retrieval of the alien artifact embedded in the ice was from The Thing.

The movie has plenty of Nineties alien movie cliches, the script is clunky and the characters made of cardboard, but it still achieves a certain kind of scifi movie poetry.

Naisen kunnia

Avasin Virginie Despentesin kirjan King Kong -tyttö satunnaisesta kohdasta, ja löysin tämän lauseen:

On vaikea ymmärtää, miten dildovyön käyttö erityisesti nakertaisi naisten kunniaa.

Haluan, että kun oma kirjani avataan satunnaiselta aukeamalta, tulee vastaan joku tuollainen lause.

Lisää Cannes-juttuja

Mike kirjoittaa blogissaan Sanningen om Marikan tiimoilla tapahtuneista seikkailuistaan:

Kirjoitan tätä osallistujille varatussa isossa kokous- ja nettitilassa. Vieressäni istuu pornotähden näköinen nainen, joka on tv-ohjelmien ja -konseptien ostaja. Hän kysyi, tiedänkö mistä saisi kokkelia. (En tiennyt, mutta jaoin kuulemani huhut kannabiskauppiaan sijainnista.) Sitten mimmi kertoi piipahtaneensa illalla Monacossa bilettämässä. Melkoinen lifestyle, mutta ei taida mimmi tietää mitään roolipelien magiasysteemeistä.


“Fuck passive media”

Hesarin Jussi Ahlroth kirjoittaa blogissaan Sanningen om Marikan Emmy-voitosta:

Mutta asiaan liittyi siis uutinenkin. The Company P ja SVT tekevät uutta vuorovaikutteista tv-sarjaa. Rahaa on tullut EBU:lta ja Belgian VRT on mukana. VRT:llä on jo kokemusta ARGeiden etekemisestä.

Christopher Sandberg The Company P:stä kertoi, että siinä missä Sanningen om Marika oli kokeellinen työ, seuraavasta tulee “isoa mainstream-draamaa”.
Siinä on kuulemma edelleen “vahva sisältö”, mutta tunnelma on erilainen kuin Sanningen om Marikassa.

Olennaista on, että se esitetään samanaikaisesti useassa eri Euroopan maassa. Ehkä mekin pääsemme sitten sitä kokeilemaan. Haloo Yleisradio?


Sanningen om Marika (The Truth About Marika) wins Emmy!

Adrijanna and the Matrix

Sanningem om Marika, a Swedish tv series and alternative reality game wins an international Emmy for best Interactive Television Service!

Here’s the official press release.

The series itself was written by my friend Martin Ericsson, and the alternate reality game stuff related to it was produced by the Company P, where I also know many good people. One of the people behind the Company P is our very own Mike Pohjola. It looks like it’s going to be party time!

Check out Sanningen om Marika at the Company P website.

Check out the old “in-game” site of the game

Helsingin Sanomat has an article about the winners here.

More About Playground Worlds

Here’s the official press release about Playground Worlds, an anthology of articles about roleplaying I contributed to:


How does a boarding school that uses role-playing games as a primary teaching method function? Can the basics of Forge theory be condensed into one article? What do Happenings and larps have in common? How can role-playing games be criticised? What is jeepform? How is the production side or putting together a larp handled?

These and many other questions are tackled in the new Solmukohta book, Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games. The book was published last week. Edited by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros (the guys behind Beyond Role and Play four years ago), the book features 25 papers written by authors from six countries.

For example, John H. Kim gives a primer on the American parlor larps, short one shot larp scenarios. Heidi Hopeametsä analyses the experience of playing Ground Zero as reflected in the post-game written debriefs. Malik Hyltoft reports how the experimental “Role-Players’ Boarding School”, Østerskov Efterskole, has functioned in its first 18 months. Playground Worlds also documents some of the most interesting larps of the last few years (Totem, Dragonbane, Frail Realities and many others).

The book is divided into three sections. Community and Journalism includes articles on role-player communities written particularly with an eye for approachability. Art and Design covers role-play as the product of a creative process, exposing philosophies and intentions behind specific role-playing works while providing advice and guidance for prospective designers. The Research and Theory section focuses on recent advances in analytic and academic thought on role-play. We are hoping that this structure makes the book useful both for random readers and dedicated theory junkies.

The book covers all kinds of role-playing games from the latest avant-garde Nordic live action role-playing games to the history of British action style larps in last 25 years, and from Forge style indie games to jeepform, Happenings and child’s play.

Playground Worlds is the latest book in a series of collection that
have documented Nordic and international trends in larp. Several new
themes emerged this year. Firstly, the staging of larps has previously
been discussed mostly as an artistic activity. This year a number of
authors have decided to approach the more practical side of project
management. Secondly, while the one belief that most role-playing
cultures around the globe subscribe to is that role-playing games are
not children’s play, most are willing to concede that there are
important similarities. Two papers explore these connections. Finally,
two papers attempt to find ways to capture lightning in a bottle: they
discuss criticism and documentation of larp.

You can download a pdf that contain the first page of each article from The pages also feature a number of pictures from the book.

(At the moment the actual page is still hosted in a different location
and only redirected from the address above. Still, please link through
the above address as that will be the permanent address.)


The Solmukohta 2008 book Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games will be on sale in a few random role-playing game shops around the world. Your local shop probably isn’t one of them, so you can order the book by emailing the editors at <book-at-solmukohta-dot-org>. The price of a first copy is €20 (plus post and packaging), but the further copies are sold much cheaper: You may want to gather up a few friends or take some to your local convention to get the discount.

You can pay with PayPal or a domestic money transfer. Please note that PayPal accepts all major credit cards. You will get the payment details with email from the editors.

At a later date, we will also publish an electronic edition as a freely downloadable pdf. However, the pdf version is ransomware; given out only after a sufficient number of paper copies have been sold. The funds raised by the paperback sales are used to support Solmukohta 2008, by partially paying back the financial support we received from our benefactor, Ropecon ry.


Contact the editors at <book-at-solmukohta-dot-org>.

Playground Worlds

I’m back from Solmukohta! I’m going to post some other stuff from there as well, but first the annual Solmukohta book:

Playground 500px

I have an article in the book called The Age of Indulgence. Here’s the abstract:

Role-playing games are a way to do things you want to do, but wouldn’t in ordinary life. In this essay, I discuss role-playing as the art of indulgence, of playing games as a way to fulfil desires, based on several indulgent larps and tabletop role-playing campaigns.

Read more about the book on the official website, here. I’m hoping they’ll put up information about how to buy the book for yourself!

Plastic Cup update

The pre-game meet for the Plastic Cup larp will be at the main railway station in Helsinki, inside, under the big timetables, at 13:30. (The game will be on Thursday the 3rd of April.) We’ll go together to the game location. The local train we’ll use leaves a few minutes later, so be on time.

In case of confusion, call me at +358 45 123 99 81.

You can come to the pre-game meet to see if there’s space in the game, but it’s probably easier to make a reservation by phone (the number is +358 50 526 22 13).

Those coming to the Finnish-language version at 18:00 should contact me either by phone or by email (jlp at iki dot fi) as soon as possible to get directions to the game site.