Emergent Systems: Virtuality, Legality, Formality

Edited book (chapter)


Hourigan, Daniel. 2023. "Emergent Systems: Virtuality, Legality, Formality ." Mitchell, Daniel, Pearson, Ashley and Peters, Timothy D. (ed.) Law, Video Games, Virtual Realities: Playing Law. United Kingdom. Routledge. pp. 95-110
Chapter Title

Emergent Systems: Virtuality, Legality, Formality

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID3137
Book TitleLaw, Video Games, Virtual Realities: Playing Law
AuthorsHourigan, Daniel
EditorsMitchell, Daniel, Pearson, Ashley and Peters, Timothy D.
Page Range95-110
Chapter Number5
Number of Pages15
Year2023
PublisherRoutledge
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISBN9781003197805
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003197805
Web Address (URL)https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/edit/10.4324/9781003197805/law-video-games-virtual-realities-dale-mitchell-ashley-pearson-timothy-peters
Abstract

As online worlds increasingly embrace artificial life and emergent systems in place of traditional static technologies, their legal form as captured by the ‘magic circle theory’ has become insufficient for an ordinary understanding of what now counts as a videogame. Nowhere is this bold thesis more apparent than in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) where it is immersion in virtuality itself that is at stake. The magic circle theory was imagined against a cultural background of static game boundaries. In such games, the geometric lines of a tennis court or soccer field are simultaneously distinct from and representative of the formal rules of these games. In this context, any changes to the visual appearance of a field of play will necessarily reformulate the rules. In an exciting move, this deeply traditional obscuritanist problem of games’ spatiotemporal geometry lapsing into the mass consensual hallucination of the formal rules of the game itself is radically reorganised by the virtuality of contemporary MMORPGs that is more akin to the psychoanalytic concept of psychosis. This chapter will reconsider the legal form of emergent systems in recent contributions to the MMORPG subgenre of videogames.

KeywordsLaw; Cultural Legal Studies; Cultural Studies; Video Game Studies
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020460708. Virtual and mixed reality
480403. Law and humanities
470214. Screen and media culture
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/z1yx5/emergent-systems-virtuality-legality-formality

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