Grand Theft Legal System

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6 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    The police in the game do a vastly better job of taking all your guns away when they arrest you than they do in real life.

    Also, it’s interesting that the level of police monitoring has been amped up as the series has gone on — in GTA III, you could get away with *a lot*, and the cops weren’t all that tough: you could blow through a lot of them before the SWATs and the helicopters really came into play. It was later games that really made them formidable, actually forces to avoid rather than merely an annoyance. I wonder if we should start drawing real life parallels from this or just use Occam’s Razor and chalk it up to pure game design?

  2. Joel says:

    Interesting comments on the games, especially about the escalating impacts of what might start as semi-petty actions (driving on the sidewalk to dodge traffic). It reminded me of a theme that ran in the first season of “The Wire” where they had different characters on both side of the drug game asking why it couldn’t be done without “the bodies” which brought the cops, which led to running, which led to…

  3. Jeremy Blumenthal says:

    Without trying to redirect the thread to over-analysis of the empirical causal question, I’d simply note that the social science is less “dubitable” than this particular post suggests. For useful examples see work by Nicholas Carnagey and Craig Anderson (both empirical and theoretical).

  4. I’ll stand by my “dubitable” remark; claims of a link are open to a great deal of doubt. I haven’t read Carnagey and Anderson’s work, but Ted Castronova utterly took apart one of their papers.

  5. CT says:

    Another interesting tidbit is the game’s conception of jurisdiction. I haven’t played GTA4 yet, but in prior versions a sufficient number of state law violations mysteriously gave the FBI and the National Guard power to pursue you.

  6. A.W. says:

    i think the big lesson to come out of GTA is how if 1) you dehumanize other people (characters in the game are literally not human at all), and 2) have few consequences for bad behavio, you get really awful behavior. But that doesn’t seem like a legal issue so much as a sociology issue.