The warm hum of a CRT monitor is drowned out by the scream of a dial-up modem. As Internet access becomes ubiquitous, people with obscure sexual interests are beginning to find one another in anonymous forums. A cursor floats over a hyperlink to looner-landing private forums 18+ only.
On one bulletin board service, a group of people connect over their common sexual interest in balloons. Who are the people behind the keyboard? What nascent community do they form, and how does it change when they meet in person for the first time?
POP! is a live-action game about online communities, for 8 to 12 players.
Specifically, it’s about an online community of people who love and fetishize latex balloons.
Players will immerse into the warm, soothing atmosphere of a nostalgic Internet via private messenger, forum posts, and chat rooms. At the end of play, the characters will meet for for the first time at an in-person meet-up event, which might be a joyful revelation or an awkward trainwreck. While this game is about a very specific community, the themes of finding belonging are universal.
Designed by Alex Roberts
Organized by Jon Cole and Tom S. Tea
Saturday, 25 May 2019, from 2 to 5 pm
POP! will take place at SpringBOX, located at 262 University Ave W in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Parking is available on site. METRO Green Line and bus lines stop nearby.
Get a “ticket” by filling out our POP! registration form before 11:59 pm on Sunday, 19 May. Unlike some of our other events, these tickets are first-come first-serve. Once you have a ticket, you don’t need to do anything else besides show up to play. In the unlikely event that too many people sign up, we will solicit volunteers to drop out of the event in exchange for a “golden ticket” of instant admittance to their next event with us.
SpringBOX is a space for community events and programming, operated by Springboard for the Arts. We are requesting a pay-what-you-want donation ($5-10 suggested) to support the work of SpringBOX in appreciation for the use of their space. No one will be turned away if they are unable to make a donation.
The majority of the larp is spent in a world of text based interaction, represented by large pieces of paper throughout the playspace. It has a retro ’net surfin’ feeling—players are formless, disembodied, but connected to other people in strange and exciting ways. Towards the end, characters will make contact in the real world at a meetup event, which might be stilted and awkward, or sweet and joyful.
Our play space is level and open with wide doors. Seating is available. We will not be using any spaces that are only accessible by stairs. We will be able to adjust the temperature. The bathrooms are single-stall gender-neutral with locking doors. (If you have any specific questions about accessibility issues contact us.)
An important part of the game involves moving between large pieces of paper and writing on them.
Characters may talk about sexual experiences and feelings, or flirt via instant messenger. No balloons will be present and none of the characters will have sex in game.
Just to be extra clear, this event is a recreational live action role-playing game, intended to tell a compelling story for its participants. It is not a kink, fetish, or sex event, though people from those communities are very welcome to attend. This larp is intended to be a safe and non-judgmental space for balloon fetishists and non-fetishists alike. We do not tolerate any shaming of risk-aware consensual sexual practices.
No costuming is required.
After the game, some folks will probably go get a bite to eat together at the Los Ocampo on University. Folks who didn’t attend the larp are welcome to attend this part.
Contact us with any questions or concerns!