Matt says my attempts to analogize online roleplaying games to more familiar contests like chess or automobile racing are “just silly.” But his response appears to reinforce my point rather than refute it. It is the responsibility of the gamers and gaming organizations to create and enforce rules. People violating those rules are subject to sanctions by the gaming organization first, but it’s hard to imagine how any contestant who follows the rules of a (legal) game can be subject to legal sanction.
I said as much in my comment on his post, naming sports and game organizations like the World Chess Federation, National Scrabble Association, and National Hot Rod Association that have been successfully enforcing and arbitrating game rules for years. But as better examples of the well trod path between law and game rules, I might have offered smash-up derbies or boxing. Outside the game, drivers and fighters would be subject to civil and criminal penalties, but inside the game, where participants are expected required to be aware of the rules and the risks of the game, we find ourselves intolerant of legal interference. Not that the overall legality of violent sports like boxing hasn’t been question, but that where it is legal, the game rules are the first (and often final) authority in the ring.
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