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‘Drugs’ in online games

Besides the more typical threats of getting eaten by monsters or murdered by fellow avatars, a new one is turning up in multiplayer games on the Web, Wired News reports: “addictive drugs that can incapacitate or kill their characters.” For example, the creators of Achaea, “one of the biggest online text-based games,” have introduced the highly addictive “gleam” into its story about a crime ring trying to infiltrate the game’s cities. “Characters who take gleam get hooked quickly – suffering typical addiction symptoms: violent vomiting, shivering, irrational sobbing, begging for the drug and even overdoses resulting in death,” according to Wired News, which adds that “some of the game’s players are angry about gleam’s introduction into their world.” This answers a question many parents would ask – how the drugs’ effects are portrayed in these games? “Realistically” is probably a good answer. If young players see painful reactions and tragic results, this plot twist might be persuasive in a positive way. But email me your views – or post them just below where it says “comments.”

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