By far, my most active hobby. I game a lot. A whole lot. In many ways, even. Below are some of the ways.
Live-Action Role Playing (Or LARPing...)
The "live-action role playing game," or LARP to the clueful, is a surprisingly popular activity, especially in the metro Boston area. Many LARPers come from the plethora of colleges in the area: Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Brandeis, Boston University, Boston College . . . the list goes on and on. There are many who continue LARPing after finishing college (or not, as the case may be), my housemates and I included.
When asked what LARPing is, I often answer that it is a cross between an improvisational theater experience, and a group playwriting workshop. Stereotypically, there are predefined characters, a setting, costumes, and even some props! There is no script (at least, not usually), but every character comes with a background, interests and goals.
There are many ways to define the differences between different sorts of LARPs. One major distinction I make is the difference between "pre-written character" LARPs and "create-your-own character" LARPs. Another possible distinction could be made between "one-shots" and ongoing LARPs.
Of the LARPing I do, the LARP is typically a pre-written character one-shot, or a create-your-own onloing game. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. The former often has a more tightly-knit, integrated plot, since a person or set of people wrote all the pre-LARP information. This often lends to more complex interaction at the start, and occasionally, better acting / more realism-drama. The latter allows for greater player input into their character, and the ability for relationships to grow and change over time. Whether a StoryTeller / Game Master (see: person who wrote the thing) wants to tell their story in either format is up to them.
A final note: Some people call live-action role playing "interactive literature." Though I like that term far more than LARPing, it's not one I'm used to using. But know that they are, at their heart, the same.
One-Shots - The one-shots I play in are typically run and sponsored by the New England Interactive Literature group, or NEIL, the same group that runs Intercon, a LARPing convention. (Well, technically, according to the website, LARPA runs Intercon, not NEIL. I'm still a little confused, since the Interactive Literature Foundation broke up into LARPA and NEIL a year or so ago.) I also LARP with the MIT Assassins' Guild, who run a good many LARPs a school term, using their own brand of name, a "guild game." I find this use of terminology useful, as the Guild has developed its own sense of writing and running LARPs which set them apart from many other places I've LARPed.
Ongoing LARPs - The only ongoing LARPs I play in currently are sponsored by The Camarilla. While a non-profit dedicated to interactive literature in the gothic/punk "World of Darkness" setting created by White Wolf, they are also a charity and social group. Jason Schneiderman and I were planning on running an ongoing Changeling and Wraith game, but I think we've skipped out on that. I am still technically part of the House of the Severed Sun, in the North East Region of The Camarilla. Unlike many ongoing LARPs, they have the advantage of attempting a cohesive international game! Insane? Probably.
Online Role Playing
Yep, I even MU*. MU, in this case, stands for "multi-user." The flavor of online role-playing I've mostly done has been on a MUSH, or "multi-user simulation hallucination." I sometimes still MUX. No, I don't know what the X stands for.
The primary distinction I'd like to make here is in the difference between a MUSH / MUX / MOO, and a MUD or talker. MUSHes, MUXes and MOOs are primarily for role play. MUDs, IMO, are primarily for having a multi-user online kill-the-orc-get-the-treasure game (with some small amount of role play, I'll admit it). The main goal is to advance in rank, not to develop stories. Talkers are primarily for online socialization. If I want that, I'll use IRC.
Fading Suns MUSH - Written by the original authors of White Wolf's Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Fading Suns is set in a futuristic world which combines the technology level of a science fiction game, the noble structure of a fantasy game, the powerful church of the real-world middle ages, and the darkness of a White Wolf game. To learn more about the setting, see the official Fading Suns website.I play Marit, the lady-in-waiting to Countess Adalia, the head of the Hawkwood noble house in the city in which the game is set. Come join us!
Greenfield - This Changeling: The Dreaming MUSH set in Greenfield, MA is not yet open. I very much look forward to its opening, however, as I don't think I've had as many MUSH friends on the staff of a particular MUSH as I have on this one. I play Brigitte, a Sidhe of House Eiluned, keeper of the Basilisk Blade, which is an odd story unto itself. Come join us!
Tabletop Role Playing
Tabletop gaming is what people traditionally think of when they think of gaming. You know, sitting around the available flat surface, indulging in various foods and drinks of questionable healthiness, and rolling dice. Luckily enough, I know a set of people who include gen-u-ine acting in the process. Impressive? Sad to say, yes, in some circles.
I am currently in an alternating Shadowrun / Earthdawn game which runs nearly every Saturday afternoon at MIT. There are many things that point to our GM, Brian Sniffen, being insane, but I think this game confirms it for me. There are something along the lines of twelve players in the game. That's more than in many covens. Among the players of this game are Kat Allen, Jesse Cox, Eddy Karat, Thomas Mack, Andrew (is that his first name?) Menard, Meredith Peck, Ariel Segall, Tommy Rhyne, Justin Stamen, and a girl I can only remember as "Thista." I feel like I'm missing a name in here somewhere. If I forgot you, poke me and I'll add you to the list.
I hope to be running a game myself soon! Rebirth of rhe Rose, a game based on Revolutionary Girl Utena in the anime-themed system Big Eyes, Small Mouth 2.0. Go see the page for it!
I occasionally play video games. I have a Playstation and a Sega Saturn. My current video game fixation is Chrono Cross, which Tracy gave me for Christmas. I also have: Final Fantasy VII, Monster Rancher, Monster Rancher II, SimTheme Park, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, and You Don't Know Jack. I intend to get Final Fantasy IX at some point in time.
Do I have other hobbies? Yes. But I'll get to those in the copious free time I have that isn't taken up by my education, recreation, creativity or connections. Also keep in mind that some of my hobbies are traditional artistic pursuits (acting, vocal performance, dance) and are listed on my creativity page.