We Draw the Line at Weed

We Draw the Line at Weed

Photograph courtesy of Spencer Voyles

While I was flipping through the tailored recommendations my favorite video game distributor prepared for me, I came across a recently released title I almost passed over. Developed by Vile Monarch and published by Devolver Digital, Weedcraft Inc is exactly what it sounds like and then some. Rather than focusing solely on the aspects that come with growing and dealing illegal weed, Weedcraft offers some insightful looks into this burgeoning industry. Players can expect business scenarios centered around expansion into legal markets and surprise discussions about legal corruption that can influence laws of the states in which one operates.

The game pleasantly surprised me when it discussed the opioid epidemic in America and the disproportionate number of minorities being arrested for possession. Overall, this game is an interesting, fun and informative experience that I highly recommend to anyone interested in the marijuana industry. It is too bad that most potential players will never hear about it.

In a recent interview with Motherboard, Devolver digital founder Mike Wilson discussed the troubles the game has faced in advertising. Websites like Facebook have completely prevented advertisements and access to the games page. And YouTube has demonetized any videos featuring gameplay. Given the patchwork of state-by-state laws and looming federal laws, this controversy is hardly surprising.

In many ways, these restrictions highlight distinct hypocrisy in our culture.

Despite the game’s attempts to distance itself from the goofy pop culture elements (the game released a few days before 4/20) and into the realm of serious discussion, it is still plagued by its troubled legal past.

We draw the line for acceptable content at weed, but the list of games Facebook and YouTube are still allowing on their platforms contain far worse. Which is worse? A game that tries to tackle weed in a mature manner or graphic depictions of murder? I urge you to buy this game if it remotely interests you. While it is far from perfect, its attempt to tackle a tough topic in a frank manner is something the industry needs more of.