Players can get ’high’ in ’Narc’ game.

By bubaloo · Apr 28, 2005 · ·
  1. bubaloo
    Players can get 'high' in 'Narc' video game

    Critic blasts game for glorifying drug use; game banned in Australia

    ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- In the video game "Narc," published by Midway, you play an undercover police officer busting drug dealers.

    Except in this game, your cop character can take the drugs he confiscates -- and the illicit substances can enhance performance.

    Narc's publishers at Midway say the game is all about choices, and the consequences of those choices. The following is an excerpt of a statement released to CNN by the company's chief marketing officer, Steve Allison:

    "The drugs in Narc affect game play -- addiction, and crime and punishment are predominant themes in the story. Ultimately, the players who choose to take drugs will face consequences; they will experience the highs and lows of this culture, but following this path will ultimately lead to failure."

    Family groups that have fought against violent and sexual content in video games for years, say this new "high" in gaming is an all-time low.

    Psychologist David Walsh, spokesman for the National Institute on Family and the Media, does not buy Midway's choice-consequence justification, and says drug use in the game creates curiosity and allure for players.

    "They [Midway] do portray the extreme that the use of drugs can lead to bad outcomes, and the game penalizes you for misusing drugs. But the flip side of that message is that some drug use actually enhances play and enhances your performance. That's the glorification part. That's the dangerous message: Drugs are OK, just don't overdo it."

    But Narc is an M-rated title, and designers at Midway say -- in the same statement released to CNN -- that the game is for adults, and "offers adult gamers the chance to play through an interactive crime saga where players face the temptations and choices of an undercover police officer."

    Walsh concedes Midway is not promoting the title for children, but says he knows from experience that teenagers gravitate towards M-rated games that generate a lot of buzz. Popular titles such as Grand Theft Auto and Halo 2, both rated for 17+ gamers, are enormously appealing to teenagers, says Walsh. He says chances are that a game like Narc could end up in their hands, and warp their minds:

    "Games are interactive and psychologically powerful. We have to watch what our kids watch because the teenage brain is a work in progress. The experiences we have during growth spurts in the brain have a greater impact on the formation of attitudes, values and norms than at any other time in our lives."

    "We want our young people going into adulthood with a healthy set of values and attitudes toward health and toward how to treat other people. A lot of these games glorify violence. Now we have a game that glorifies drug use. Where do we draw the line?"

    According to the Entertainment Software Association's 2004 Essential Facts Guide, the average age of a video game player is 30 years old. And the $7.3 billion gaming industry rivals the U.S. motion-picture industry, according to the same guide. Midway's publishers point to these statistics, and say there is no reason video games should not be able to take on the same mature themes as movies.

    Narc has been banned in Australia, and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has denounced the game in his push to pass the Safe Games Act in his state.
    Computer-generated acid trip
    Drug use may give you super powers in the game, but abuse can cause addiction.

    "I would normally say 'just say no' to drugs, except in this case they've been replaced for power-ups. If you were playing Super Mario Bros., a 'magic mushroom' would make you bigger and more powerful. Here, it's kind of the same theory," says video game reviewer Scott Steinberg.

    Marijuana, as you light a virtual joint and take a long drag, causes the screen to become a hazy green. The drug slows time for criminals in the game, allowing your cop character to chase down and arrest them.

    LSD helps differentiate friend from foe, so your character knows whom to confront; allies grow wacky court jester heads, and enemies become devil-headed cartoons. Trippy music and psychedelic colors accompany your computer-generated acid trip.

    Other drugs in Narc include speed, ecstasy and crack. Crack, after the distinct sound of someone huffing on a pipe, gives players a one-shot-one-kill skill. Your crackhead cop character suddenly becomes an expert marksman.

    Drug use may give you super powers in the game, but abuse can cause addiction. Protodone -- the game's version of methodone, can curb your cravings. Otherwise, addiction can lead to withdrawal.

    But unlike real-life, you can kick your virtual habit after a few skillful clicks on the game controller.

    Players can avoid all of this, however, by adopting a "just say no" attitude in the game. The illicit activity is all a matter of choice, says Steinberg.

    "It's entirely up to the player. You can be a good cop, or you can be a bad cop, but there are consequences. I can use drugs or sell drugs to the citizenry. The thing is, there are random drug tests. I can get busted, develop addictions, or my fellow officers can come chasing me."

    The M-rated, 17-and-older title retails for $19.99 and is available for the Xbox and PlayStation 2.

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  1. OccularFantasm
    Re: Players can get ’high’ in ’Narc’ game.

    Swim is speechless. First off, halo isn't even violent. Second, if anything, the game should encourage kids to know the dangers of joining a secret militant organization, and that the exploitation of unwilling people may result in death. The fact that this game also has possible downsides to using drugs produces a fair enviorment. Also situations where violence and chaos incurr, now that's just good gaming. These anti-violence/sex/drugs in video game people are the very same people whom would vote for Hillary Clinton. It's not their fault that they were born without brains, however that should create an enviroment where these people have no rights. It truly saddens swim to see this culture prefers averageness, stupidity, and mob-mentality over actual ideas or real thought. These people simply talk so that they can cover two bases. One; this enables these people to hear themselves talk. Two; this enables those same people to have a feeling of self-importance, most commonly a result of actually being quite useless and wanting to stop it without knowing how. They probably never will realise that since the importance is all asthetic with no real job, they will continue to ramble and ocntinue to stay useless. Swim can only hope all of us will one day completely tune out these people. If that seems impossible in years to come, perhaps forced tongue and finger removement, as to limit their communications, both vocal and online. Sure it seems extreme, but should stupid people have rights anyway. Swim doesn't think so. heh.
  2. Bajeda
    The truth is always dangerous isn't it?

    Not referring directly to the quote, but to the idea that in the game drugs can have good or bad effects. Oh noes! Drugs can actually do something good for you? What blasphemy!
  3. Fantasian
    Re: Players can get ’high’ in ’Narc’ game.

    too true
  4. OccularFantasm
    Re: Players can get ’high’ in ’Narc’ game.

    Swim thinks this game oculd be a lot worse for the supposed bad message it brands our children with. Swim means, in Postal 2 you smoke crack pipes for health, but you still get withdrawl if you dont light up again in time. It seems people are way too up in arms over this, especialy since the game has you on the cops side. Society usually paints cops in a good light (why swim may never know). If swim recalls, if one were to do a line of coke or something, then one would be more aware and indeed have his performance enhanced. After all, thats what they did with the coca leaf in Africa, back in the day before they invented cocaine extraction procedures. Swim also hopes that an update for this gae is added where you can take mushrooms to slow everything down. Perhaps even have a harder time killing people on account of all the happiness. Maybe some heroine so the guy can rest better or quicker. If anything they should add the so-called bad parts in excess. It makes games real fun.

    Swim wonders what the character would do when he is on extasy. Swim cant quite figure out what aspect that would help with, empathising with the guys ur about to shoot?
  5. Broshious
    Re: Players can get ’high’ in ’Narc’ game.

    The bad guys stop attacking you until it wears off.
  6. FrankenChrist
    In the game Postal 2 you can also smoke crack which gives you super-health (and a heart attack after frequent use) and catnip, which slows down time Matrix-style
  7. grandbaby
    Re: Players can get ’high’ in ’Narc’ game.


    She's just drawn it. Drug use is a no-no, but apparently we don't have a real problem with killing.

    And why is it, again, that shit like Columbine happens?

    I'm gonna go flush my head down the toilet to get rid of this shit.
  8. mictihtoya
    Narc turned out to be a pretty lame game. I had such high hopes when they first announced the concept for the game.
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