The 6 greatest pot reefer-ences in gaming history

Hey burnouts! Let's celebrate 4/20 right with this cannabis-heavy countdown

This game, based on an anime of the same name, came out last year and didn’t make much of a splash, which is surprising for a title that boasts nudity, extreme violence and the iconic voice of Samuel L. Jackson. It also emulated the animated series pretty well, right down to the often-present cigarette/spliff in Afro’s mouth.

Above: Seriously, what are you smoking?

Now, there’s a lot of argument in the Afro Samurai community (which is a small group, truth be told) about whether that’s a real joint in his mouth or just a cigarette. It’s never explained directly, but weed or no, he must have rolled it, as the sci-fi/Feudal Japan setting wouldn’t have many 7-11s around to sell him a new pack. So if he rolled it himself and there are no cops around to tell him otherwise, why go with just boring tobacco? Besides, how could anybody stand to be near the annoying jabberjaw Ninja Ninja let alone not keep their cool, without the aid of drugs?

Saints Row made a name for itself by trying to out-GTA GTA. When GTA IV took that series to new, more serious places, Saints Row 2 let you dress like Borat, shoot raw sewage out of a truck and have sex for money. Hell, your character could get full-on gender reassignment surgery. And then there were the drugs, as seen here in the first Saints Row.

Not only can your character take whatever drugs he can get his hands on, but he has multiple ways of using pot, including bong and joint. Hitting the wacky tobaccy causes your guy to be tough to control and it covers the screen in a smoky haze, which was probably already happening in many of the homes this game was played in. And for comedy’s sake, the cashier makes sure to make tons of pot puns as you buy it, just because 420 humor is just so great.

We’ll start with the most recent NARC, a value title that got dumped on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 and was met with rightfully poor reviews. Basically, it was a police game with GTA-ish combat (but no driving), and the two main characters were vice cops who dipped into what they confiscated. Several different drugs could be used as power-ups, but they also could make you addicted if you used them too much. What a great satire on our society.

Above: Use pot 15 times and you're addicted for life, just like in reality

But that lax approach to drugs was meant as a cute counter to the original NARC for arcades and NES. That game focused on operatives stopping drugs the only way you should: horrible, bloody murder. The mean streets were filled with evil dealers just begging to be gunned down. Pot growers weren’t safe either, as one level focuses on the siege of a weed-growing commune, and you see who really operates those places: not harmless hippies, but violent militia members out to kill federal agents. Are your eyes open now, stoners? See what damage your “harmless” drug causes?

Above: The truth about where weed comes from

We hope this article will inspire readers to stay on the straight and narrow and avoid drugs of all kinds, now that they’ve seen the digital alternatives out there. Never forget the immortal words of Space Pirates for the 3DO:

Apr 20, 2010


Henry moved from the suburbs of northern Florida to work at GR+, and hasn't looked back once in seven years. When not collecting Mario toys, you can find him constantly checking his Twitter.
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