Chinese Anti-Drug Campaign Leverages Game Operators

June 2, 2010 -

The Chinese government is calling on the sizeable network of game operators within its borders for assistance with an anti-drug campaign.

Over 50 online game operators, including the likes of Shanda Entertainment and Giant Online, have said they will take part in a competition to create anti-drug public service advertisements at their own expense. The consortium was put together by Shanghai’s anti-drug commission, according to a story on

The PSA’s judged to be best will eventually be shown on the city’s mobile TV network and in Internet cafes.

Of China’s 30 million online gamers, “most” were billed as being men, under the age of 35, which coincides with numbers estimating that 75 percent of all new drug users in Shanghai are people under 35. Xu Chuan, an “official” from the Shanghai anti-drug commission, noted, “Online gamers and drug users have similar demographic characteristics in most of the cases."

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No Apologies: A Writer’s Cocaine-Fueled Game Addiction

March 23, 2010 -

A young man with a promising future as a writer seemingly gave it all up to in order to give in to the unhealthy combination of Grand Theft Auto IV and cocaine.

The Observer has an article up written by Tom Bissell, the former essayist himself. Bissell begins by outlining the period from 2001-2006, which saw him author two books and a series of magazine articles. During this time he says he “rarely felt disciplined,” and his productivity seemed to happen in spite of itself.

The author's dive into gaming kicked off with GTA: Vice City, which he called, “the first video game I can recall having to force myself to stop playing,” before he moved on to GTA: San Andreas and eventually GTA IV. When the latter game came out, a friend introduced Bissell to cocaine and the pair played the game for 30 hours straight.

Bissell attempted to put a finger on the attractiveness of the game:

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Developer of iPhone Drug-Dealing Game Fears Apple Banhammer

July 10, 2009 -

The top dog at U.K developer A-steroids, creator of Underworld: Sweet Deal for the iPhone, is worried that his company's game is going to be rejected by Apple over its drug-dealing theme.

As readers may recall, this is a bit of an ongoing saga. GamePolitics reported in December, 2008 that A-steroids had renamed the game, originally called DrugLords, in an effort to avoid an App Store ban. A few days later, an Englishwoman who lost her daughter to heroin abuse called upon Apple to ban the game, whatever its title.

Apparently the issue is still up in the air, based on an e-mail GamePolitics received today from Andrey Podoprigora, Head of Studio for A-steroids:

We have recently released our first game on the AppStore - Underworld: SweetDeal. The game was previously known as DrugLords, location-based MMO about dirty trade...

This week, we have submitted the game in it's original drug-trade setting to the AppStore. We were hoping that after the iPhone 3.0 came out with it's parental controls improved, there is a chance for the game to finally come through.

Now, we have got an update from Apple, saying they require "unexpected additional time for review". Which is sort of bad because we are already familiar with responses like that - in December, 2008 this led to months of silence and then ended up as a reject. Would be sad if it means nothing changes in Apple's app reviewing policy.


BBFC Says It Investigated Crystal Meth Recipe in GTA IV

June 22, 2009 -

The British Board of Film Classification, which last week lost the battle for control of U.K. video game ratings to industry-favored rival PEGI, once investigated whether Grand Theft Auto IV contained a genuine recipe for manufacturing crystal meth.

The Times reports that the discovery prompted "crisis talks" with developer Rockstar. In testimony last year before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, BBFC head David Cooke discussed his organization's review of GTA IV:

We did examine [GTA IV] extremely thoroughly and we are the only regulator I know of who looked, for instance, at the particular issue where... there was a concern about whether you were being given instructional information about how to make the drug crystal meth.


We actually took independent advice on the point and eventually were able to satisfy ourselves that some of the crucial ingredients and techniques were missing so it was not a genuine cause for concern.

UPDATE: College News (leave it to those crazy college kids) explains where the so-called crystal meth recipe can be found in GTA IV:

The suspected recipe for crystal meth can be discovered in the video game as a posting on the fictional Web site Craplist --a parody of the popular real life Web site Craigslist.


Second Life's Virtual Meth Lab Will Help Train Police

June 10, 2009 -

While Second Life has many uses, law enforcement training has not historically been among them. But that may be changing.

New World Notes reports that consultant Fred Fuchs, who goes by Gus Plisskin in Second Life, designed a virtual meth lab to help cops recognize when they've stumbled upon the real thing. Such labs are not only illegal, they're extremegly dangerous as well.

Said Fuchs/Plisskin of his virtual meth lab project:

We hope to encourage use of SL for training law enforcement and social workers. We found that a walk-thru helped other types of clients think about ways they could use SL... Accuracy in simulations is 'my thing'.


Don't Tase Me, Bro... Second Life Zapped by TASER Lawsuit

April 21, 2009 -

TASER International, which manufactures the controversial electric stun guns that bear its name, has given a jolt to Linden Lab and a number of its corporate executives with a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona.

TASER, which faces numerous lawsuits of its own filed by individuals who have been tased (or, in some cases, their survivors) is concerned that virtual TASER replica items are being sold in Second Life as gear for SL avatars (see pic at left).

TASER also alleges that its brand will be damaged via association with virtual sex and virtual drug use occuring within Second Life. From the 102-page complaint:

All of the defendants that sell virtual property like Plaintiff's real ones, under the mark TASER for use in Second Life programs and grids, also sell adult-only explicit images and scenes... thus attaching such content to the TASER mark... and also sell unlawful drug materials... thus attaching such content to the TASER mark...

TASER 's claims are primarily based on trademark considerations. The company seeks damages in excess of $75,000.

Via: Massively

UPDATE: New World Notes has more...

UPDATE 2: GamesLaw offers a legal analysis of the TASER suit.

UPDATE 3: New World Notes reports that Linden Lab, owner of SL, contacted an in-world vendor of virtual items and requested that "Taser" be replaced with "stun gun."


Report: Dad Finds Ecstasy Tablets in Used Copy of Grand Theft Auto

April 8, 2009 -

A British man who purchased a pair of used Grand Theft Auto games discovered what appeared to be ecstasy tablets wrapped in plastic and hidden in one of the game manuals.

The Telegraph reports that Richard Thornhill, 34, bought the second-hand games at a GameStation in Gloucestershire:

When I opened the box up, the cling film wrap fell out. I could not believe it. I have two children and my son plays Xbox all the time. He could easily have opened the box and found them.

I dread to think what the consequences would have been if he had. He is only 12. He could have died. It was a pre-used game, but that should not make a difference. My wife is beside herself over this because she keeps thinking about what could have happened and so do I.

The retailer and local police are investigating.

Online Game Addresses Steriod Abuse in Major League Baseball

April 7, 2009 -

Baseball's back, but fans' lingering anger over steroid use by MLB players has cast a bit of a cloud on Opening Day.

Baseball *Juiced, a new online offering from Addicting Games, examines the steroid issue, although unfortunately without much depth. For example, if your player works out at the gym in the off-season instead of taing steroids he will hit well.

But if you choose to dope your player, he seems to hit a home run every time up. Eventually, however, he will flunk his random steroid test.

The message is: steroids may increase performance but at cost in reputation. Player who juice could be indicted, ala Barry Bonds, or banned from the Hall of Fame.


Bavaria's Interior Minister Likens Violent Games to Drugs, Kiddie Porn

April 3, 2009 -

In the aftermath of last month's horrific school shooting rampage in Winnenden, criticism of violent video games by German government officials has been on the rise.

In the latest political attack, Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann (left), a frequent critic of violent games, upped the ante by likening such games to illegal drugs and child pornography.

Herrmann made the charge in a Tuesday press release (Google translation) which was issued to coincide with the government-sponsored German Games Award as well as a video game conference in Munich.

German GamePolitics reader David Ziegler provides this translation:

The statement contains the usual accusations that "such games are one of the causes for youth violence and also for school shootings, where images from killer games become reality",and that "more and more children are getting mired in this virtual world of violence", so that "they have no time left for school or job training,  and are lost to our society".


However, this time, he's taking it a bit further. The last sentence states: "In regards to their harmful effects, [violent video games] are on the same level as child pornography and illegal drugs, the ban on which rightly is unquestioned"

However, a second German official, Commissioner for the New Media Thomas Jarzombek, criticized Herrmann's remarks:

The comparison is completely inappropriate... anyone making such statements is unqualified to participate in any further debate [regarding the] protection of minors from harmful media.

GamePolitics reader tibuka, also German, adds:

[Herrmann's] statement was released on the same day as the first German Videogame Awards ceremony took place in Munich. In return, all important German game-associations (G.A.M.E., BIU, ESB) released statments of their own, demanding an apology.


Rev. Jesse Jackson Downplays Influence of Violent Media in Testimony to Parliament

March 27, 2009 -

The Rev. Jesse Jackson downplayed the influence of violent media yesterday in testimony before the British Parliament's Home Affairs Committee. The committee, which has been investigating knife crime, is chaired by longtime video game critic Keith Vaz.

While Jackson said that violent video games, music and movies could have some influence on behavior, he placed far greater emphasis on poverty, drugs, domestic violence and inequality as factors which lead to increased violence.

For the benefit of our readers, GamePolitics has transcribed the portions of Jackson's testimony which relate to media violence issues:

Labour MP Martin Salter: Rev. Jackson, we've been taking evidence on the effects or the increasing effect of violent media images on young people, whether it's in video games, whether it's on TV, whether it’s the cinema. It seems the evidence were hearing, that there's a general danger that young people can be desensitized to the concept of violence by the images that they see, but there's a greater predisposition to violence if those young people are brought up in families and households and communities where actual violence is the norm. Do you have any lessons from America for us on this issue?

Rev. Jesse Jackson: For a long time we challenged music artists and movie makers to be sensitive to the impact that their music and their movies have on children and they have some force... But those who grow drugs in Afghanistan and poppy seeds – they don't listen to music. This thing is not about music and movies. It’s about a form of economy... we’ve lost more lives from [the drug] war than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we seem to see it as something marginal but it is in the center of our security and it’s getting worse in my judgment... the structural crisis of poverty and drugs and guns is more real than just movies and music.

Labour MP Keith Vaz: Do you accept that there is a link between violent video games and violence that is perpetrated by individuals? Do you think that those images do have an effect on young people?

Rev. Jesse Jackson: There may be some link of imitation. The question, Mr. Chairman, is art imitating life? Is life reflecting art?  There’s always a big debate there. What we do know in these troubled times… there’s increased domestic violence in the home. [Children are] more likely to imitate parents fighting physically. Domestic violence is maybe even a bigger factor on violent behavior than the movies and the worst games that are played. So, yes, we urge artists to not use their considerable skills to desensitize people to violence. Sure, these games that think that killing is a game must be challenged. But the economic impact of life options determines whether one is headed up towards university or down toward prison.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Testifies

16-Year Old GTA IV Gamer Charged with Grisly S&M Murder of NYC Newsman

March 25, 2009 -

A 16-year old New York youth has confessed to the stabbing murder of a veteran New York City radio newscaster, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The suspect is an avid video gamer who lists Rockstar's controversial Grand Theft Auto IV as his favorite title.

The NYPD has charged John Katehis (left) with repeatedly stabbing George Weber, 47, last Friday. The pair met after Weber posted a Craigslist ad offering to pay for violent sex. Katehis was to earn $60 for the sleazy encounter at which alcohol and cocaine were reportedly used. Weber, apparently as part of his sado-masochistic fantasy, supplied the knife with which Katehis eventually killed him.

That's not to say that Katehis was a stranger to edged weapons. The New York Daily News, which refers to Katehis as "emotionally disturbed," displays a picture of the teen posing with his exotic knife and sword collection.

Gawker has posted Katehis's MySpace profile, in which says the suspect wrotes:

I enjoy long conversations, drinking, bike riding, hanging out, roof hopping, hanging off trains, any type of Parkour exercise. Extreme violence (chaos, anarchy, etc.) Video Games, Violent Movies and listening to my ipod...


I like to do crazy and wild things. I am like an adrenaline junkie. I'm a big risk taker and like to live life on the edge...

The MySpace profile references an account on At that site, Katehis lists Grand Theft Auto IV as the "Hottest PS3 or Xbox 360 Game You've Ever Played" and includes a picture of himself holding a copy of the PlayStation 3 version. Katehis holds up Far Cry 2 in a separate photo.

Additional coverage: Gawker

GP: There are just so many dysfunctional pieces to this story, but video games will certainly be blamed in some quarters.


Retro "Just Say No" Commercial Features Wrestler as Mario

March 21, 2009 -

By way of What They Play comes this bit of gaming/TV/war on drugs nostalgia:

Depending on how old you are, you might recall the Super Mario Bros. Super Show. It was a television show that aired on the cusp of the '90s, featuring wrestler Captain Lou Albano as Mario...

America's airwaves in the '80s and '90s were also thick with anti-drug Public Service Announcements. These were usually doled out by celebrities or cartoon characters. It so happens "Mario" warned kids away from drugs, too--in a manner that was a little harsher than the norm...


U.S. Anti-Marijuana Ads Focus on Reduced Gaming Skills

March 10, 2009 -

Above The Influence, the youth-oriented, anti-drug media campaign run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has a new, avatar-based ad campaign which warns gamers that their skills will be negatively impacted by smoking pot.

From the Huffington Post:

To dramatize how bad a stoner can be at video games, the site interviews a computer-generated character who laments the demise of a gamer friend of hers. "I used to have a good time with Lyle. We made a good team. He had skill. He had swiftness," she says. "Well, he used to, anyway. Then our last fight, Lyle decided to get high. And it was simply: sayonara skill, sayonara swiftness."

The Above the Influence campaign points out that perception, memory and eye-hand coordination are all reduced by marijuana use.

Via: Kotaku


Swedish Youth Advocate: WoW is Crack Cocaine of Game World

February 28, 2009 -

A youth advocate in Sweden has likened World of Warcraft to crack cocaine in terms of its supposed addictiveness and the Swedish National Institute of Public Health has endorsed that view.

As reported by the UK's Daily Mail, Sven Rollenhagen of Sweden's Youth Care Foundation has authored a report describing WoW in ominous terms:

The most dangerous game on the market... There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part...

It is the crack cocaine of the computer game world. Some will play it till they drop.


Drunk Japanese Minister Lampooned in Mobile Phone Game

February 24, 2009 -

A Japanese finance minister who appeared to be drunk and sleepy during a G7 press conference earlier this month is the subject a new parody game for mobile phones.

As reported by the Telegraph, Shoichi Nakagawa delivered the less-than-stellar performance at left during G7 in Rome:

Now [Nakagawa] has become the latest target of Japan's mischievous game industry. Players are invited to wake a likeness of Mr Nakagawa as he fields questions at a press conference and then let him nap to increase his energy reserves.

Players gain points in "Drowsy Presser by Drugged Minister" if they boost Mr Nakagawa's "support rating" by having him answer journalists' questions. But if the minister is caught sleeping by journalists, he falls off his chair and the game is over.


BYU Profs Attempt to Clarify Study Results... Sort of.

January 27, 2009 -

Late last week GamePolitics reported on a Brigham Young University research study which linked video game play to a variety of negative behaviors in college students (see: BYU Study: Video Games Are Bad For You in So Many Ways).

The research, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found gamers more likely to drink and use drugs and to have poor family and friend relationships. Among women, game play was linked to reduced self-esteem.

While Edge Online and Kotaku are reporting somewhat conciliatory comments by the study's authors, their research findings remain unchanged. For example, Edge spoke with BYU's Dr. Larry Nelson, who stressed that the study found correlation between gaming and negative behaviors, not causation:

The study absolutely does not find that videogames cause this behavior. We've repeatedly tried to emphasize that in the study itself. It was all correlation...


One factor [of increased substance use] could be the experimentation that goes on with [drugs and alcohol]... If we had done a study specifically on videogaming ... I'm sure [benefits] are there. There's no doubt they're there. We're not saying there is nothing at all positive about videogames.

Nuclear Geek details an exchange with BYU's Laura Walker. The professor, who previously told the Deseret News, "Everything we found associated with video games came out negative," attempted to clarify her remarks and indulged in a bit of the media blame game:

One study does not claim to be representative of all gamers, and we were in no way making that claim. We are not even claiming generalizability to the 18-25 age group, this is just what we found in our sample.


Media has a way of really spinning these stories that are not always accurate. However, in our study, we did find that video game use was related to only negative behaviors for students this age. Does that mean this applies to all gamers? No. Does that mean video game use causes these outcomes? Certainly not. It is possible that video game use could be positive in a number of ways, but given the variables we measured in our study, it was related to only negative outcomes...

GP: To be perfectly honest, I don't see the BYU authors backpedaling, as Kotaku reported. Nor do Dr. Nelson's comments to Edge explaining that the research team found correlation vs. causation change anything.


BYU Study: Video Games Are Bad For You In So Many Ways

January 23, 2009 -

A study published today in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence maintains that video games - including the non-violent kind - are linked to a variety of negative findings among college students.

According to the Deseret News, the study, conducted by a team of faculty and students at Utah's Brigham Young University, concludes that:

  • the more the students play video games, the worse their relationships are with friends and parents (although this effect is modest)
  • those who play video games daily smoke pot twice as much as other players and three times more than those who never play
  • young women who play often have lower self-esteem

BYU prof Laura Walker, the lead author of the study, told the newspaper:

Everything we found associated with video games came out negative... [But] I don't want parents to go out and yank all video games. It's like TV. We have to choose what's good and bad and practice moderation.

Student Alex Jensen, who participated in the research project, added:

I assumed violent video games would be related to lower relationship quality with friends and family. I didn't expect regular video games — nonviolent video game use — would be correlated to lower relationship quality...

An abstract posted on the website of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence offers some information on the methodology of the BYU study:

Participants included 813 undergraduate students (500 young women, 313 young men, M age = 20...) who were mainly European American (79%), unmarried (100%) and living outside their parents’ home (90%).

GP: It is quite interesting that this study would appear in conservative Utah at a time when a renewed effort to legislate video games is underway there.


MADD Canada Objects to Game Designed to Discourage Drunk Driving

January 16, 2009 -

Surprisingly, the head of MADD Canada has flatly dismissed a game designed to teach users the perils of DUI. As reported by the Globe and Mail, CEO Andrew Murie has "no interest" in Booze Cruise, a drunk driving simulation developed at the University of Calgary.

While MADD Canada sees no value in the game, the U.S. Army is in the process of adopting Booze Cruise as a tool to educate military personnel on the dangers of getting behind the wheel while impaired. 

MADD Canada's objection appears to be that the game lets players know - based on body weight - how much they can imbibe before becoming intoxicated. That would seem like a pretty valuable thing of which to be aware. However, Murie said:

We've spent decades telling people not to drink and drive, and this simulator, one of the skills it teaches is to drink so much, and then drive.

GP: In some ways, Murie's objection to Booze Cruise is reminiscent of the sex education vs. abstinence debate. 

Via: What They Play


GTA Chinatown Wars Rated 18 For British Market

January 9, 2009 -

No surprise here.

The British Board of Film Classification has assigned an 18 rating to the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

No edits to the game were required, although the BBFC issued warnings that GTA Chinatown Wars "contains very strong language and drug references".

The game is scheduled for a March 20th release in the UK.

UPDATE: GameSpot notes that the 18 rating assigned to GTA Chinatown Wars is the first ever assigned to a DS game by the BBFC. The game's rating for the North American market is not yet listed on the website of the ESRB.

New Illinois Law Bars Alcopops From Kid-centric Games

January 3, 2009 -

In Illinois, a new law restricts certain content in video games.

However, unlike the 2005 game violence law championed by recently-indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the video game industry is unlikely to mount a legal challenge in this case.

The new measure, aimed at keeping alcopop beverages away from would-be underage drinkers, bars their depiction in games whose audience is primarily children. Here's the language from SB2472:

No entity may advertise, promote, or market any alcopop beverages toward children. Advertise, promote, or market includes, but is not limited to the following... (4) the display of any alcopop beverage in any videogame, theater production, or other live performances where the intended audience is primarily children.

As a practical matter, the wording of the new law seems to indicate that it would only come into play with games rated T and under. Historically, we can't recall any commercially-produced games featuring alcopops.

Via: GameCulture


Pong Toss Publisher Serves Non-Alcoholic Holiday Card

December 25, 2008 -

GamePolitics readers will likely recall the controversy surrounding Beer Pong, a downloadable game for the Wii. Following objections by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenhal (D) and others, publisher JV Games renamed the game Pong Toss.

Adding to our holiday card collection, JV has issued a slightly tongue-in-cheek reminder of the Beer Pong flap with a non-alcoholic card that features sparkling cider.

Heroin Victim's Mom Wants iPhone Drug Dealing Game Banned

December 8, 2008 -

Last week, GamePolitics reported that a soon-to-be-released drug dealing game for the iPhone had been renamed in an apparent effort to win App Store approval. Drug Lords, developed by a-steroids, had its name changed to the less offensive Underworld.

Despite new title, the mother of a British heroin user wants the game banned, according to UK tabloid the Daily Star. Thelma Packard's daughter Amy has been in a coma for seven years after dabbling with heroin as a 17-year-old. Mrs. Packard told the newspaper:

My daughter’s life has been ruined by drugs. If this game is allowed to come out, impressionable kids will play it and Amy’s mistake will be repeated over and over again. Youngsters like Amy are exactly the people who download and play games like this on their mobiles.


I just want to help other families avoid the nightmare that’s wrecked mine.


Grogger Game Reminds Players Not to Cross the Road When Tipsy

December 5, 2008 -

It's like the arcade classic Frogger, but with a beer buzz.

Grogger, an online game developed by, believe it or not, the city council of Melbourne, Australia, is designed to remind players that it's dangerous to stagger across the road after drinking.

As reported by

The character can pick up beer bottles as they go, which slow their reaction times, while water bottles help the player continue on their way. They win if they make it across the road without getting "smashed" by a vehicle.


Melbourne City Council commissioned the game in an effort to reduce the amount of pedestrian accidents the city sees each year, 70 per cent of which result in injuries. The council estimates around 716,000 people visit the CBD each day, with more in the holiday season.

Melbourne will be holding a live Grogger event with players competing on a big screen later this month.

GP: We gave Grogger a try - sober, mind you, at the time. It's actually a lot of fun in that nostalgic, 8-bit way.


Will New Study Linking Kids' Media Habits to Sex, Drugs & Obesity be Fast-tracked to the White House?

December 4, 2008 -

A study released by watchdog group Common Sense Media this week strongly correlates the amount of time children spend with media to poor school performance as well as negative health outcomes such as obesity, substance abuse and smoking.

Media and Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic Review is, essentially, a survey of research on the topic conducted over the past 30 years. The study was carried out by researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and California Pacific Medical Center.

From a political standpoint, it is interesting to note that lead researcher Ezekiel Emanuel of the NIH is the brother of President-elect Barack Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Common Sense Media CEO and founder Jim Steyer (left) discussed the Obama connection with Time:

[Rahm Emanuel] will have a strong position in the incoming Administration. And I am optimistic that you'll see a renewed emphasis, from the White House on down, on media, technology and kids. In that sense, I'm very hopeful that Barack and Michelle Obama will be parents-in-chief and role models-in-chief for our country. Barack talked about it repeatedly through his campaign—turning off the TV, turning off the video games, doing your homework, talking with your kids.

Steyer also told Time that the study deliberately stayed away from issues of violence and media:

The research team decided that there was a voluminous amount of studies that focus solely on media and violence. So they wanted to stay away from that... This report doesn't say, nor would Common Sense ever suggest, that media is the cause of all society's ills, or the sole cause of childhood obesity or risky sexual behavior or smoking or alcohol use among teens. But it is a significant contributing factor...

The study's politicial potential is also emphasized in a press release on the Common Sense Media website which quotes former FCC chairman and CSM board member William Kennard:

The new administration has shown a commitment to children and has already made important statements about how it will focus new attention on technology and media. There is a unique opportunity to make real change in the role that media plays in our children’s lives.


Drug Lords iPhone Title is Renamed for App Store Acceptability

December 2, 2008 -

What's in a name?

App Store approval, perhaps.

Pocket Gamer UK reports that Drug Lords, a drug dealing sim for the iPhone, has been renamed Underworld by its developer, a-steroids.

The move is apparently by way of not alarming the folks who run the App Store. From Pocket Gamer:

a-steroids contacted us to announce the game has finally been submitted to the App Store. Assuming approval, you should be able to start hawking your illicit narcotics sometime in December. But, in order to grease the wheels, the game has undergone rebranding. So, like a GTA hot car respray, it's goodnight Drug Lords, good morning Underworld. The name is less controversial and certainly more App Store friendly.

The game sets you up a small-time drug pusher, selling your stash on the local street corner to other players, and even makes use of the iPhone's GPS functionality, meaning you'll be wheelin' and dealing from your realworld local street corner... the map screen now includes data on pushers in your local vicinity...

a-steroids notes on its website that the game will be free. But, when it comes to drug dealing, isn't the first one always free?


Police Use Video Game, Beer Goggles to Warn Teens Of DUI Risk

November 19, 2008 -

Yesterday GamePolitics reported that police in Australia and Winnipeg engaged in a bit of game bashing by relating stolen cars and reckless road behavior to driving games.

Today, the Peterborough Examiner reports that cops in Ontario are using a driving game in a positive way to help educate high school students about the dangers of drunk driving. Officers there have combined an unspecified game with the shell of an automobile to simulate a real-world driving experience. Students then don "beer goggles" which warp one's vision in a manner similar to a state of high intoxication. Sgt. John Ogrodnik commented:

If anyone actually did this they would never want to get behind the wheel of their car (while drunk).


Outrage Begins over Drug-Dealing in GTA Chinatown Wars

September 25, 2008 -

Given this week's revelations that GTA Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS will feature a drug dealing mini-game, it was only a matter of time before criticism began.

Today's edition of British tabloid The Sun covers the story under the headline Fury Over Drug Deal Vid Game and includes a comment by Darren Gold of support group Drugsline:

Anything using drug-dealing as entertainment is sending out the wrong message. Glamorisation doesn’t help our work trying to educate kids of the dangers of substance misuse.

Rockstar, of course, seems to revel in such controversy.


Take-Two Cancelled Previous Drug-Dealing Sim

September 24, 2008 -

Who remembers Snow?

Today's news that GTA Chinatown Wars on the kid-friendly Nintendo DS will contain a drug dealing mini-game reminded us that as recently as June, 2006 GTA publisher Take-Two Interactive put the kibosh on Snow, a drug dealing simulator for the more adult-centric PC platform. The game had been on the show floor at E3 just a month before.

What's different now?

  • In June, 2006 Hot Coffee was still a big issue for T2 and the game biz
  • GTA Chinatown Wars = GTA + the Housers. With their contract expiring in February, T2 is likely to be quite accomodating to the creative urges of the reclusive brothers behind the best-selling GTA series.

Here's correspondent Colin McIness 2006 report on Snow from the old-school GP.


Report: Grand Theft Auto DS to Have Drug Dealing Mini-game

September 24, 2008 -

In a move that is sure to spark controversy, the upcoming Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for Nintendo's handheld DS will feature a drug-dealing mini-game.

Although many grownups use the DS, it is widely regarded as a kid-friendly system. Citing a print story in Edge magazine, CVG reports:

Here's some news that's surely going to send mainstream newspapers (and Nintendo's PR department) mental. It's emerged that for DS features a full-on drug-dealing mini-game.

Revealed in the latest Edge magazine, the drug-dealing feature lets you flog heroine, cocaine, weed, ecstasy, acid and downers. Selling the six type of drugs makes you a ton of in-game cash and help you gain experience of market conditions, says the mag.

Rockstar exec Dan Houser is also quoted:

We wanted to have a drug-dealing minigame in lots of the GTA games. We played with it a little in Vice City Stories, because it worked really well juxtaposed with the main story. It works well with what GTA is, with driving around the map, and it gives you another thing to think about - another layer or piece of the puzzle to keep you motivated. It does intersect with the main story, and things you learn from it work with the story, but it mostly runs on its own.

GP: In the video at left (sorry for the poor sound quality) Nintendo exec Cammie Dunaway announces GTA Chinatown Wars at this year's E3.

The Clue that Fallout 3 Would be Watered Down...

September 10, 2008 -

Yesterday, Edge Online broke the news that Fallout 3 would ship worldwide next week with the same gameplay edits that were made to clear censorship hurdles in Australia.

The issue for Australian censors was the game's ability to use virtual morphine as a health power-up. Down Under, of course, the highest rating is MA15+.

After posting about the news, I realized that last week's GamePolitics story which reported that the BBFC had rated Fallout 3 "18" for the U.K. market contained a huge clue that the Aussie edits had gone global (a clue that I failed to fully pick up on). Here's what I wrote then:

Fallout 3 has been cleared for sale in the U.K. with no content edits required...


Curiously, a "consumer advice" note posted with the rating decision does not mention the drug use which got Fallout 3 banned in Australia earlier this year. The only reference to content is "Contains very strong bloody violence and gore."

So, yes, I noticed that the BBFC hadn't commented on the game's virtual drug use but didn't make the connection that it might have been edited out. Doh!


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Papa MidnightBack to when, RedMade? A week ago? (seriously, though...)08/30/2015 - 1:55am
RedMageOh hey, a news station is trying to scapegoat gaming. That takes me back. - 1:40pm
Big PermA link to TB twitter with Matt Lees in the replies - - 12:16pm
Brad GlasgowWhy would he say the company lies about getting abuse? Oh, because people don't abuse GG?08/29/2015 - 10:38am
Big PermBrad - Matt Lees was also quick to say the company "Gamers Gate" lies about getting abusive messages thinking they were an official GG channel08/29/2015 - 9:11am
Goth_SkunkMGSV: The Phantom Integrity - A Rant by RazörFist. (NSFW on account of language). RazörFist discusses the latest batch of unethical journalist conduct, with a caveat. - - 7:10am
Goth_Skunk@Brad: I can.08/29/2015 - 6:13am
Goth_SkunkI assume "Stacy" is a pseudonym. After reading what she went through, I would not be one bit surprised if it is.08/29/2015 - 6:13am
Goth_SkunkA Year of #GamerGate: From Neutral To Anti To Neutral To Pro by "Stacy" - - 6:12am
Brad GlasgowI can't believe Matt Lees deleted his positive review of Ethan Carter because Chmielarz is sympathetic to GG.08/29/2015 - 5:30am
Goth_SkunkA GameDev's Year With #GG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Adrian Chmielarz - - 5:18am
Goth_SkunkDespite not being a fan of fighting games I had to check out that R Mika trailer. Loved it. Still won't buy the game though, on account of Isuckatstreetfighteritis.08/29/2015 - 2:42am
MechaCrashI use a Dynex DX-840 headset, but it's discontinued. :( I wanted a mono headset so I could keep the other ear free for my speakers, but it has the bonus of being very light and comfortable, so you don't notice it.08/29/2015 - 12:41am
Big PermSora - I was just having a slow day at work earlier. Now I'm home with vidya!08/28/2015 - 7:54pm
ZippyDSMleeSora-Chan: Blender is easy compared to 3Dmax :P08/28/2015 - 6:51pm
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Sora-Chan@Big Perm: I'm a bit of a fan of the Omega Recon3D headset from SoundBlaster. Though it is a bit expensive.08/28/2015 - 2:36pm
Big PermI actually need to look into a new headset. I have those green razer krakens and I would not suggest them. Though maybe they're better for people without glasses08/28/2015 - 11:32am

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