Drug Wars: A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

Drug Wars is exactly the kind of video game your grandmother warned you about. An ultra-violent, morally bankrupt, sex-drugs-rock-and-roll hoodlum-simulator designed by Satan himself…

Except it’s not. Yes, you do play as a drug dealer, but you can’t do drugs, rob banks, or even run down hookers in a stolen car. There’s no instruction or example as how to become a dealer either. You simply select “buy” or “sell” and go your merry way.

Not pictured: Depravity.

Not pictured: Depravity.

The game is essentially an economic simulator, with edgy theming to appeal to youths. You keep an eye on the market, buy goods where they’re plentiful and sell them where they’re dear. Players learn about supply and demand, profit margins, and the value of diversifying investments. The game could easily have been called “the travelling salesman” and had players trading in shoes and wristwatches instead.

So why call it Drug Wars? Because drugs sell. Because it’s more fun to pretend you’ve got a trunk full of PCP and angel dust than that you’re peddling overpriced vacuum cleaners which you ding people for on the warranty. People like to be bad, especially in video games, where there are no lasting consequences. Though I’d still be careful letting your kids play, they might grow up to be bankers.

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