The Laws of Video Game Land

Phoenix Wright pronounces judgment on the legal systems of other video games.

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 10/10/2011 14:00 Comment on this     ShareThis


Justice of the Land: judge and jury

At last, a kingdom with a real court room! Now this is what I call a good old-fashioned legal system. A fair trial, legal representation, testimonial evidence from a cross-section of witnesses, a jury vote– these are the tools of my trade. Of course I don’t condone corrupt judges and chancellors rigging said trials– that will not do at all.

But I will say this: Guardia has certainly done a great job in putting those less scrupulous heroes in their place. Never again will any of these so-called chosen ones be able to steal the belongings of helpless citizens, and no longer will they be able to do as they please and ignore the cries of children who have lost their cat or retrieve fallen pieces of jewellery from the young girl they just knocked to the floor before helping them to their feet. The days of these heroes are numbered if they try these tricks in the land of Guardia, so I congratulate them for being the pioneers of this long-needed revolution.

The Outer Reaches of the Galaxy:

Legal Authority: the Galactic Federation (plus bounty hunters)

Creating a legal system to span the entire universe was never going to be an easy task but the Galactic Federation have done it. Formed by representatives from across all the known galaxies, this federation works in perfect harmony to keep the peace and crack down on all forms of Space Pirate activity in every region of space. The renowned Galactic Federation Police have also done an admirable job in upholding the law, and even though they haven’t quite succeeded in rooting out the Space Pirates completely, they aren’t afraid of bringing in professionals to help them achieve their goal.

Despite allegations of sexism, bribery, some shady bio-weapons operations and secret life-form experiments, the Galactic Federation is, on the whole, a relatively decent legislature. They have succeeded on multiple occasions in bringing villains to justice, even if they have to get a bit of help along the way, or have Samus take on the whole mission herself, they get results.

So there you have it– a breakdown of the highs and lows of Video Game Land’s most well-known legal systems. More generally though, one of the most favoured trends in video game law-keeping seems to be the monarch and trusted warrior/companion approach, but more often than not it seems like heroes are forced to take the law into their own hands due to their slightly less adequate legal systems, with the Pokémon world being just one example. But hey, it’s always more fun to take out bad guys yourself than taking a back seat and letting someone else do it, isn’t it?

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