Steven T. Wright (not the one-liner comedian) was kind enough to ask my thoughts for his article about drugs in games.
Drugs are part of our game because, well, drugs are part of our world. There's a lot of people who would be much less happy (or even functional) without anti-depressants. Drugs are part of our history. People have been tampering with their body chemistry for thousands of years. I have a pet theory that human beings didn't become farmers for the sake of food. It's well established that hunter-gatherers work less and eat better than primitive farmers. But alcohol! Ah, once people discover that grains ferment, and they can get blasted, then they settle down.
(This isn't purely a just-so story. There's some evidence that the very first settled site in Europe was a religious site, not a city. Religion and pharmacology go together like bread and wine.)
Drugs raise interesting philosophical questions. Conventionally, if you are stoned or drunk, that's not the "real you." The real you is the sober you. But if someone is depressive, we tell them that the depression is an illness, a departure from normal. A lot of people with depression feel that they're only "the real me" when they take their meds.
Is there a "real you"? Or is the you that you think you are just a function of your body chemistry, and if that chemistry changes, then who you are changes, for good or bad?
So that's a philosophical question our game highlights. I don't think we're making the game in order to make a case for or against drugs. I think we're using fictional drugs to talk about who we are.
Labels: We Happy Few