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Grown Through Ludocracy: (Media) Regulation in a Police Roleplay Group
  • Matthew Horrigan
Matthew Horrigan
Simon Fraser University

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How can authoritarianism and spectacle relate in gameplay groups? Through a case study of DOJRP (Department of Justice Roleplay), a Grand Theft Auto V player organization using the FiveM server framework, I develop a theory of ludocracy, describing situations where expanding administration of a game becomes central to playing the game. Textual analyses of DOJRP’s governance documents find legalistic norms that extract work from players, enroll players in mutual surveillance, and allocate capital hierarchically within a system whose members demonstrate increasing social standing through rules enforcement upon each other. Tracing both a process through which players advance in rank, and a history through which DOJRP first originated in a small scene then inspired profuse imitators, I argue that what relationships a roleplay group encultures follow what images the group emulates.