LAOG is an acronym for Live Action Online Game, also known as Online Larp. It refers to larps and larp-like games that are played using online media as a platform, e.g. video conferencing software, audio chats, text messenger applications or a combination of them. The term was coined by Gerrit Reininghaus, one of the driving forces in establishing online larps as its own art form.
In 2013, the online larp ViewScream by Rafael Chandler was published. The author describes the game as a "video augmented role play", or VARP. The general concept is for four participants that play the stranded members of a spaceship crew, trying to save their failing ship and themselves. It's game design has elements of competitive play and is built on intransparency, creating the conflicts in trying to save your own character while trying to get help from your co-participants. The structure of ViewScream is more like a framework with numerous scenarios that can be played within its defined boundaries.
Since 2019, the Golden Cobra Challenge gives out an award for the best LAOG.
While there have been a number of scenarios and runs of LAOGs, the Corona pandemic has brought a halt to larp events worldwide. Larpers and larp designers alike saw themselves facing an uncertain future for their art form in general. During this time, larps that could be played online became more than just an interesting alternative, but the only way to play at all.
This led to a sudden increase of games being played and players that got to know online larps a valid form of expression. New scenarios have been written, tried out and improved in very short time frames. Conventions that would have had to be cancelled have been move to online platforms and new ways of interacting within these platforms have been tried out and, if they worked, established.