1st Edition

Law, Video Games, Virtual Realities Playing Law

Edited By Dale Mitchell, Ashley Pearson, Timothy D. Peters Copyright 2024
    322 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume explores the intersection between the coded realm of the video game and the equally codified space of law through an insightful collection of critical readings.

    Law is the ultimate multiplayer role-playing game. Involving a process of world-creation, law presents and codifies the parameters of licit and permitted behaviour, requiring individuals to engage their roles as a legal subject – the player-avatar of law – in order to be recognised, perform legal actions, activate rights or fulfil legal duties. Although traditional forms of law (copyright, property, privacy, freedom of expression) externally regulate the permissible content, form, dissemination, rights and behaviours of game designers, publishers, and players, this collection examines how players simulate, relate, and engage with environments and experiences shaped by legality in the realm of video game space.

    Featuring critical readings of video games as a means of understanding law and justice, this book contributes to the developing field of cultural legal studies, but will also be of interest to other legal theorists, socio-legal scholars, and games theorists.

    1. Introduction: Playing Law 

    Dale Mitchell, Ashley Pearson and Timothy D. Peters 

    Part I: Code as Law, Law as Play 

    2. Towards a Legal Ludology: Language Games, Playful Magic, and the Game of Law 

    Dale Mitchell 

    3. Invisible Walls: Facts and Freedom in Coded Space 

    James C. Fisher 

    4. Emergent Governance from Polycentric Order in Virtual Reality Social Spaces 

    Anne Hobson 

    5. Emergent Systems: Virtuality, Legality, Formality 

    Daniel Hourigan 

    6. Decoding Legal (Un)certainty in Doki Doki Literature Club! 

    Ashley Pearson 

    Part II: Worldbuilding and Subject Formation 

    7. Playing With Borders: Using Video Games to Bring Emotion into the Law Classroom 

    Jean Ketterling 

    8. One More Turn: The Gamic Afterlives of Johnson v M'Intosh and Digital Settler Colonialism in Sid Meier's Civilization VI

    S. Thomas Keynes 

    9. Playing the World Picture: Sid Meier's Civilization and the Law of Abstraction 

    Kieran Tranter 

    10. A Minor Jurisprudence of Play: Becoming Jurisprudents Through Play in the Majora's Mask

    Joshua D.M. Shaw 

    Part III: Sites of Law and Jurisprudence 

    11. Gaming at the Margins of Law or, Niko Bellic's (Critical) Theory of Justice 

    Luis Gómez Romero 

    12. Law Among Chaos: An Anti-Schmittian Reading of Skyrim

    Anna Lukina and Shane Finn 

    13. Grand Theft Neoliberalism 

    James Gilchrist Stewart 

    14. Terra Nulllius: Claiming Land on Civilization's Empty Earth 

    Conor Leggott 

    15. Game Over: On Emptying the Public Square 

    Desmond Manderson


    Dale Mitchell is a Lecturer in Law at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

    Ashley Pearson is a Lecturer in Law at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

    Timothy D. Peters is Associate Professor of Law at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.