Ex Nihilo

Identity, trust, growth

Designers: Theo Clarke, Steve Hatherley, Tony Mitton, Tym Norris, Mike Snowden, and Karolina Soltys (Peaky Games)
Number of participants: 8–10
Duration: 3 hours
The presenter feels that this larp IS suitable for young people aged 16+

About the larp

The goal of the Ex Nihilo project is to create artificial intelligence capable of passing the Turing test, though each of the scientists involved seeks a different outcome for the experiment. Six androids are created, each one a blank slate capable of understanding and feeling just a small subset of human emotions. During the game, the androids learn new emotions by interacting with each other and the scientists, question their purpose and form emotional attachments. The scientists need to decide whether the androids are conscious enough to deserve to be treated as human, whether it is moral to give an android an ability to feel e.g. sadness, anger or attraction, and what should be the function of artificial intelligence in society.

Content Warnings: The game is about as triggering as Blade Runner; but we are aware that bleed may and has occurred.

Presented by

Mike Snowden: Experienced writer and player of theatre style LARPs; this game is one that came from the “Peaky” writing weekend.


Physical contact Light contact; touching hands or forearms
Romance and intimacy Demonstrations of affection; e.g. hugging, holding hands
Conflict and violence Shouting and other intimidating actions not involving contact
Communication style Lots of speech
Movement style Walking
Characters Scientists are completely prewritten, AIs are much more blank slates and will develop during the game. There is no workshopping.
Narrative control Intensely plotted and designed, but players have freedom as to how to achieve their goals
Transparency There are predesigned secrets the organizers have from the players, and also that the players will have from each other
Representation level The fictional space looks very unlike the play space, but players will use their imaginations
Play culture AIs’ goals are very mutual in direction; scientists may choose to align or conflict over ultimate goal
Tone Intense

Sunday morning, Studio 3