It’s astonishing to me that there will be games with phenomenal graphics and orchestral scores and there will just be grammar errors. I deliberated about every single word. A lawyer is more likely to have that kind of neurotic attitude about things than your ordinary game designer.

Mark Yohalem — a Harvard Law School graduate, former law clerk to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, and current assistant U.S. attorney — discussing his interesting sideline as a video game writer.

(More about Yohalem and one of his games, after the jump.)

Yohalem was recently profiled in the Harvard Law Bulletin:

If you really want to improve your legal writing, says Mark Yohalem ’05, try writing a video game. A prosecutor at the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles with a Supreme Court clerkship under his belt, Yohalem has written more than 20 short stories and seven computer games in his free time. He credits the latter with keeping his writing fresh and reminding him that there are multiple ways to tell a good story.

Writing video games can help your legal writing. And knowledge of law can help your video-game writing:

Legal concepts shaped [Yohalem's latest game,] “Primordia.” Complete with detailed, two-dimensional graphics, point-and-click adventuring and a series of puzzles, some shaped by LSAT logic games, “Primordia” features an in rem legal dispute, a robot law clerk named Clarity, and a debate between legal positivism and empathetic judging.

One of our readers, a fan of Yohalem’s work, sent us a video walkthrough of “Primordia,” noting that “it’s got to be the first computer game with a puzzle right out of an LSAT practice test (you’ll need to watch a couple minutes of set-up to get to the puzzle)”:

Congrats to Yohalem on his success as both a lawyer and a video-game writer. In two very different fields of endeavor, he has managed to score a 180.

His Other Life: He’s got game [Harvard Law Bulletin]
Primordia Walkthrough Part 4 [YouTube]
All your base are belong to us [Wikipedia]


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