Virtual drug use is a feature of the video game Narc, which will be released next week for PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. The New York Times reports:
In “Narc,” which is rated M, or Mature, for ages 17 and older, players control one of two narcotics officers, partners who were once separated after one became addicted to drugs.
The game play primarily involves arresting dealers, whose drugs can be confiscated and used.
A digital puff of marijuana, for example, temporarily slows the action of the game like a sports replay. Taking an Ecstasy tablet creates a mellow atmosphere that can pacify aggressive foes. The use of crack momentarily makes the player a marksman: a “crack” shot.
But using each drug also leads to addiction, which can lead to blackouts that cost the player inventory and to demotions or even expulsion from the police force, which halts progress in the game.
I wonder if the net effect will be to encourage players to think they can control illegal drug use or to remind them that drug abuse is for losers.