Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Playstation in the Second Degree

It's one of the more surprising aspects of law school that I've been able to keep up with reading whilst devoting a fair amount of time to video games. And one of the things I like best about this site is that it gives me the excuse to view everything through rose-coloured legal-shaded glasses.

On that note, here's a list of the games I've been playing throughout law school, and an appraisal into the legality of what I get up to in each:

God of War II:
Goal? As Kratos, violently dethrone the various Gods of Olympus and install yourself as the first mortal God of War.
Legal? Although the ancient Greek civilization might be credited with founding the system of jurisprudence we hold so dear today, I can't imagine those wise jurists would condone my use of spinning decapitations with the Blades of Chaos. (Part of a "Vindictive Combo!")

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
Goal? Covertly land in the jungles of Southern Russia and deactivate a newly designed, long range nuclear weapon.
Legal? This one's a gray area: you play as an operative for the U.S. government and therefore all action - such as exploding enemy kneecaps - should be implicitly legal. But then what to make of the Russian government's sanctioned use of loads and loads of eye-gouging torture?

Red Dead Revolver:
Goal? Remove corrupt town officials and win the local deadly showdown contest.
Legal? Surprisingly, yes. The lawlessness of the Old West took little umbrage with the vigilante brand of justice necessary to persevere in the game. Shotgun to the face? A fair and reasonable reaction to provocation.

NHL 2K6:
Goal? Lead your team to the playoffs and hopefully the Stanley Cup, but most of all, have fun.
Legal? You'd think so, but the kind of hits I lay down in this game fall into the Holt v. Verbruggen definition of "assault and battery not reasonably contemplated by voluntary participation in professional sports."

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
Purpose? Avenge your dear mother's death and become kingpin of the imaginary state of San Andreas.
Legal? Awww, hell no.


Anonymous said...

The legalities of your violent dethronings and debased gangster carnalities are irrelevant as you were using a rumbling controller which, according to Immersion Inc, was in violation of patent infringement.



Anonymous said...

I would argue that GTA San Andreas is legal. How about you just get international recognition and support for your fight against a corrupt government, and that the violence that ensues is an unfortunate necessity to bringing freedom and democracy to San Andreas.

Brett McKay said...

This is hilarious (as well as very clever). I think you have a law review journal article here. Can I help you research?

Lawyerlike said...

I can always use help researching two-player, ahem, joint liability issues in these games.

Anonymous said...

I would take responsibility for the mayhem and carnage not to mention appologies to my neighbours for the screams and laughter when playing Resistance: Fall of Man. 2 player violence like nothing else.

Lawyerlike said...

Except "Resistance" takes place in an alternate dimension where WW2 never took place, and who are we to presume that the British legal system would have remained the same? Maybe the threshold for determining Friendly Fire would have been a lot higher, and throwing that air-fuel grenade into a room full of your compatriots was nothing more than a mere accident not out of tune with the new law.

Anonymous said...

Air-fuel grenades in a closed space, however cool, but Hedgehog grenades are something different. When your brother, tosses a one of these over your shoulder only to have it ricochet back and explode next to your head, impaling you with spikes I'm not sure you can call that friendly fire. I also do not believe they are sanctioned by the Geneva convention.. unlike the Rossmore 236, just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of liability in Resistance. Are you liable for a round of Hailstorm bullets when those bullets will bounce off of all solid surfaces before they hit soft tissue? Especially when you do not know the destination of their redirection?

One could also argue pulling out your Rossmore, running into a pack of Steelheads and screaming "Eat this, alien scum!" with only half a bar of life remaining isn't premeditated if it means getting to your partner's corpse and preventing a complete level restart. It's just human nature.