By Harold Goldberg
If you’ve read “All Your Base Are Belong to Us (How 50 Years of Videogames Conquered Pop Culture),” you probably know that I deal with a chronic thing called Crohn’s Disease. I’ve lived with this illness every day since I was a child, and while it’s manageable, I’m not going to say it’s easy. But beyond having a great doctor, one thing has really helped: that’s a very small amount of marijuana at night to stave off the pain.
So I was really interested to see how Weedcraft, Inc., a new marijuana management simulation game with a striking narrative, would deal with the social justice issues of marijuana. It’s first game Devolver Digital has created from an idea’s germination onward toward today’s release, and Devolver hired Scott Alexander to research and write narrative. Alexander is a former New York Videogame Critics Circle member who’s moved on from journalism to write thoughtful, dramatic game narrative often tempered by a tasteful humor.
In our podcast, Alexander talked about how the violent games we often love have no problem getting to market. But, he admits, an honest and entertaining narrative revealing the pros and cons of pot through a sim game has had difficulties getting on platforms beyond Steam and GOG. In other words, it’s been slog to get this game out to fans.
We also discuss the game’s varied yet chill music and the voluminous research done to create Weedcraft, Inc. All told, it’s a fascinating look into the process of game creation during a time of upheaval in this country – and during a time of misinformation regarding the legalization of marijuana. We don’t discuss all the nuances of who should get licenses (often it’s not those who live in the underserved areas we travel to for our nonprofit as we mentor as journalists). And we don’t talk about the every bit of politics about legalization and decriminalization. But we do get into a fair amount of these issues.
Enjoy, and learn a little, too!
Author/journalist Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle and the New York Game Awards.