Hi! I'm Bjarke A. Larsen (pronounced Bjar-ke, like the [Bj] in Björk, [arr] like a sad pirate, and the [-ke] in kernel, it's old Norse and means bear, which is pretty much the opposite of what I look like).
I do several things, so here's an overview:
I've made games since 2015, starting in school and later professionally. I have been a designer, writer, programmer, and all three throughout my projects.
An Alternate Reality game made at UCSC in collaboration between the ID and GUII Lab, to be played in the Redwood forest of UC Santa Cruz Campus.
I was the Narrative Designer on the project, wrote the storylines and organized the puzzles into the narrative flow. I was part of running the live game and played several fictional characters through Discord channels.
I was also part of the collaborative design process for many of the puzzles, helped implement the Discord Bot the game ran through, and conducted playtests.
An interactive fiction game about a cursed medieval village seen through a CRT-monitor. It was made solo for the WAG (Write-a-Game) Challenge, and was awarded a runner-up position in the Amateur category and loved for its subtlety.
In 2017-2019, I worked as a part-time programmer for Pointvoucher, being part of the teams developing live branded mobile games like Mr Bean Solitaire Adventure, Suppedas, or Emoji Blast, as well as maintaining steady updates for Play London and Far Til 14, among others.
- "Voice of God". A voice-controlled game about shaking the earth. Made in a team of 7 for Global Game Jam 2017.
Won awards for Best Game, Most Hilarious Game, and Most Out of the Box Game at GGJ@ITU in Copenhagen.
- "Cthulhu Writer" A Horror Typing Game. Made solo for Ludum Dare 40. Awarded 22nd in Audio and 20th in Mood.
- "I'm a Wizard And...". A silly physics playground about being a dubstep wizard. Made in a team of 2 for the Giant Bomb ROM#1.
- "The Cardboard Company". A company breakdown management game. Made in a team of 3 for Nordic Game Jam 2016.
I've mostly worked in Unity and C#.
I'm also experienced in Twine and Ink, writing smaller experiments and poetic pieces, like this one.
Flux is an interactive documentary for tablets that encourages you to reflect upon the construct of gender and ultimately also re-imagine the social structures we are part of. I helped on this project as a technical director, helping to implement early prototypes and find technical solutions.
I have written fiction since 2012, where I started writing a book for the NaNoWriMo competition. I write about fantasy, computers, magic, and identity.
Since then, I have written a book and a half, a multitude of short stories, poems, and flash fiction. Here's a taste:
- "The Last Summer". A short story about two friends sharing their last summer because climate change is forcing them apart.
- "Our Little Utopia". A short story about a post-apocalypse utopia and the fringes of happiness.
- "The Silence and the Noise". A 25-episode Christmas Calendar about oppression, friends, and, inevitably, Christmas.
- "The Hut." A Second-person, humorous short story about the nature of video games.
I write non-fiction essays on my blog, often about games, sometimes not. Here's a taste of those:
- "Revealing the Map". A reflection on the Map in Elden Ring (and somehow, Red Dead Redemption 2) and on how maps play with our expectations.
- "Ocarina of Time is an Endearing Mess". A somewhat humorous look back at Ocarina of Time in 2018.
- "No, Disco Elysium, I Don't Want To Be the Drunk Asshole". Criticism and praise of Disco Elysium.
- "Celeste, Mt Fuji and Self-reflection". A personal essay about how climbing mountains (doesn't) change your life.
I'm a PhD Student in Computational Media at UC Santa Cruz on interactive storytelling and narrative play in video games. I started in 2020 and expecting to graduate in 2025.
I'm focusing my studies on storytelling in on-going live games like Destiny, FFXIV, and League of Legends. I call them "perennial games". For the abbreviated version, read this blog describing the term and why I am researching it. I consider perennial games one of the most important media forms of the current age, and make strong parallels with, among other things, traditional mythology and professional wrestling.
I have done a survey study, interviews, and a long-running ethnography with Destiny 2 players, to understand their narrative experience of the game, outside of extensively playing the game myself. As of October 2023 I have published two papers on perennial games, with two more accepted for publication later this year, and even more planned for 2024. See this page for all my publications.
Before my PhD, I did a Bachelor and Masters degree focusing on how mechanics in games create narrative meaning, culminating in a Master's Thesis titled "The Narrative Quality of Games and Play", wherein I dissect (among other things) the narrative elements of Chess.
I also wrote a paper in 2020 on how traditional Detective Games rarely let you play as the Detective.
Besides games, writing, and academia, I have practical knowledge about a range of other
fields within media technology, such as interaction design, signal processing (image and sound), and film (I was part of this short film), editing, and music production. I listen to instrumental electronica and have written a lot of words on the greatest song ever made.