A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Weedcraft Inc is a business simulation game available for download on Windows and Mac based computers. Players choose between two campaigns with the goal of building up and maintaining a thriving marijuana-based business empire. There's a lot of grey area in the game, as players choose whether to build their business as a legitimate medical dispensary or to become a drug lord dealing in illicit trade. Aside from the usual economic decisions, players will also make a number of moral choices that directly affect the success or failure of their “budding” business. Along with the obvious drug references, parents should also be aware that there's quite a bit of profanity causally tossed around in the game’s dialogue. Players will also run into some sexual references in dialogue, as well as threats towards players from other characters, including rivals.
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What's it about?
WEEDCRAFT INC cuts through all the smoke and takes a clear look at the budding business of the marijuana trade. Players will have the choice to play through either of two story-based campaigns, growing from a few small plants in your basement to a powerful and influential cannabis conglomerate with operations all over the country. Will you stay working in the shadows, dealing your special strains of pot on the streets to anyone willing to pay the price? Or will you go legit, getting your license and cornering the medical market as a legal dispensary? Bribery, blackmail, and corruption are par for the course, and a necessary part of your earnings statement. The choices are yours to make, but either way will take a lot of hard work and high times. One wrong move here and you won’t just wind up bankrupt, but behind bars as well.
Is it any good?
While this business sim wades into a complex matter, the micromanagement and dealing with unsavory characters is more of a depressing social commentary than enjoyable strategy game. Weedcraft Inc takes all of these things into consideration as it drops players into the deep end of the drug trade. It makes for an often awkward and uncomfortable narrative, not necessarily because of the drug itself, but more due to the behavior of the characters involved in the business. Even if you choose to try and take the business in a legitimate direction, you’re often forced to make less than desirable decisions, such as bribing or blackmailing officials, or taking blatant advantage of people by abusing relationships. There’s no way to walk away from the game feeling like your hands are clean.
Strip away the marijuana aspect of the game and replace it with just about any other basic (and legal) product, and Weedcraft Inc would be a relatively run of the mill business simulator. You’ve got to micromanage things like expenses, research, staffing, and the like, all while meeting your customers’ needs and marketing your product to keep up demand. It’s a lot of number crunching and trend following, none of which is made any more exciting when your clients range from stoned college frat boys to undercover cops to TV personalities to cancer patients. In fact, it actually makes the experience that much more depressing to watch unfold. While Weedcraft Inc might have been meant as a tongue-in-cheek look at the issues of legalized marijuana, it’s ultimately a bleak take on society as a whole, as seen through a THC haze.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the controversial debate on the legalization of marijuana and other drugs. What are some of the arguments made for and against the legalization of certain drugs? How do other states, or even other countries, handle the issue?
What are some of the ways that the illicit drug trade can take a toll on families, on communities, and on society as a whole?
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