The response to TwitchGuru's expose on drug use and video gaming has provoked an instant, though mixed, reaction from the industry in the form of the blogosphere and forum discussions among gamers.
The article deals with the mixing of video gaming and drug use among young people, and recounts a drug-fuelled LAN party in which drugs such as Ritalin, cocaine and marijuana were consumed. The response across the internet can be fairly well mixed into two camps: Firstly, "This is news? Welcome to the real world, I've been doing this for years," and secondly, "Ohh dear. What the hell? What kind of an idiot does it take to do this sort of thing?"
"Given the number of young men who enjoy games and the equally high number that enjoy illegal drugs, the combination of the two into a weekend-long bacchanal seems inevitable," wrote gaming blog Joystiq. "Still, we can only imagine how this report will be interpreted by the people who believe that video game use leads to drug use."
One thought provoking comment to this story hypothesises that gaming does not make a drug addict of you; rather, drug addicts get together in online games such as World of Warcraft. "Odds are it's not the video games that led to the drug use. If these kids were doing drugs while playing games, odds are they do drugs when not playing games as well. This is like saying that if someone goes to the movies stoned, the movie led to the drug use.
That being said, I have friends who will stay awake for 48 hours or more on end playing WoW. Only taking a break every hour or so to hit the bong, snort some pills and get back to playing the game. In the end though, these kids have been smoking weed and snorting pills long before they started playing WoW.
WoW just seems to be something that brings them all together." Kotaku's Eliza Gauger was rather surprised - or at least disappointed - by it all. "I'm only a little surprised. Mostly disappointed. One reason I hang with geeks is that many of them are fairly puritanical about this stuff, preferring to remain in Spocklike sobriety. Those days are over, it seems."
Recounting the tale of someone who had his meal spiked with "Sextasy", a potent mix of Ecstasy and Viagra, as a prank, the response was "Jesus christ bananas." One reader of Kotaku takes exception. "The article reeks of drug-hysteria; drugs are just one of the bogeymen that gets carted out to scare people. Now combine the evils of illicit drug usage and the modern youth corrupter: video games. And what do you get? People like Jack "Dick" Thompson wheeling out the soap-box to preach with the misinformed ignorance of the righteous." Perhaps the counter-argument might be that if it is happening, then at least it should be reported upon?
In the TwitchGuru forums one reader thought that "it is complete rubbish." The reader thought that it would be hardened druggies, rather than gamers, whom the author was observing. This is perhaps at the very heart of the debate which gamers will now have - are video games driving drug use, or is drug use driving video gaming? Or, on the third wheel, how are the two separate counter cultures mixing? The debate will continue.
Read the article here: Gaming's New Drug Culture: Sex, Drugs and Counter-Strike