Cannabis Brought Changes to the Video Game Industry
Today, many video games feature marijuana. What’s more, some games also allow your character to fire one up during their missions (Grand Theft Auto V, Saints Row 1 and 2).
However, this wasn’t always the case. Let’s take a quick ride through the history of marijuana mentions in video games.
Marijuana was first mentioned in the 1984 turn-based strategy game Drugwars, where your main character assumed the role of a drug dealer. The game’s main objective was to sell drugs to pay off the “loan shark.”
In 1988, a new game called Narcs was released. Here you could play as a narcotics officer that needed to arrest or shoot dealers. In this case (and many other cases), cannabis was associated with the game’s villains.
The 1990s could be called the silent era when it comes to marijuana references in video games, thanks to the effect of the War on Drugs. However, all was about to change in the next decade.
It all started with the remake of Narcs in 2005, where the main character, besides confiscating drugs, could also smoke them. The creators even made an effort to recreate the effects of THC by slowing down the action in the game.
Younger gamers probably remember the 2010 Facebook game Pot Farm. In this farming simulation game, your main objective was to plant and harvest cannabis strains and manufacture food. What a way to learn how to grow marijuana.
This game helped marijuana become less controversial, especially since the legalization of recreational marijuana took its flight in the US.
In fact, when GTA V was released in 2013, it brought much joy to gamers and stoners. Not only was cannabis mentioned in the game, but you could also hit the bong as Michael and Franklin.
As Franklin, you could even purchase medical marijuana in the game from the pharmacy called Smoke on the Water on the Vespucci Beach Sidewalk, in case you’ve missed it.
Many games followed the cannabis business simulation games trend, like Hempire, Weed Farm, and Weed Shop 2, where you could learn all about weed cultivation and THC.
Today, you can find numerous weed games on steam (from Weed bakery to Lil Pothead). However, due to marijuana’s illegal status in some states, many games have to deal with restrictions, like demonetized videos on YouTube, blocking ads on Facebook, etc.
Ironically, mainstream censors approve games featuring violence, murder, and all the gory details but, at the same time, prohibit video games that present cannabis use as something ordinary.