Video Games and Weed-A Perfect Match

We are living in a golden age of video games and weed.

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By John Wenzel, The Cannabist Staff

Need proof? Video games are more popular, awesome and accessible than they’ve ever been, thanks to ever-improving technology, the rise of indie gaming and the tablet/smartphone revolution. And weed? Well, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?

Video games bring me joy and compel me to sink hundreds of hours and dollars into them each year. I don’t always consume them with weed, but when I do it’s a uniquely satisfying combo. They provide a feeling of control, an escape from the anxieties of daily life, and an interactive fantasy world in which I can do anything I want — usually with the satisfaction of having learned and mastered something, but without any real-world consequences when I fail.

They’re therapy and sport, catharsis and entertainment, and I have a hard time imagining a life without them.

Pure bliss for me equals a couple puffs of DJ Short’s Flo(dumb name, killer strain) and unlimited time to play Grand Theft Auto V or Batman: Arkham Origins. I’m one of those people who pre-ordered Bioshock Infinite and God of War: Ascension this year, knowing that when I popped them into my PlayStation 3 I’d be willingly sinking myself into an elaborately constructed world in which smoking a bit of weed helped deepen the illusion and up the stakes.

To my wife’s horror and my delight, I’ve poured thousands of hours into all kinds of games, from Red Dead Redemption, Borderlands 2, Journey, and the Infinity Blade series to classics like Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon and Zaxxon — which I’m old enough to have played when they first came out (does that make me lame? Or am I just being PARANOID??).

Now that pot is recreationally legal and available via retail here in Colorado on Jan. 1, it seems only right to explore this relationship above-ground in a new column we’re calling High Scores. Because when something grabs enough of our time and money, it always deserves a closer look, regardless of its reputation. And because we like puns.

Really, the kinship between cannabis and video games is so loving and longstanding as to barely warrant comment – just as it is between pot and music, pot and cartoons, or pot and 3D IMAX screenings (or laser light shows, if you’re old enough to have come up on those). But like all those things, it’s also something that goes deeper than the lazy, simplistic images of stoners chained to their couches, an Xbox controller in one hand and a still-smoking bong in the other.

Although, let’s be honest: sometimes that’s pretty accurate.

“We take the abundance of pot smokers among core video game players as something normal and somewhere between a joke and an annoyance,” wrote Dennis Scimeca for the gaming site Kotaku. No doubt that sentiment has been echoed countless times by countless people – usually with the intention of demeaning both activities.

If you’ve never tried either, it may seem justified. Marijuana and video games are both enjoyed in (generally) sedentary conditions, in our free time and with the implicit understanding that what we’re doing isn’t exactly changing the world. But that’s the point: they’re supposed to be fun, just like drinking beer and playing darts. People have been smoking weed and playing video games since the first Space Invaders landed in 1978 – and even longer, if you consider pinball, slot machines and other old-school arcade formats.

In this column we’ll review video games from a cannabis user’s perspective, but we’ll also delve deeper into the relationship between gaming and weed. We’ll present some of the best freelance game writing in the world and, in the spirit of the things we’re writing about, we’ll just have fun, too. We’ll also share stories and news with Game On, The Denver Post’s gaming site.

Photo: Boris Lechaftois  www.lechaftoisbo.com

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us your own experiences in the weed/gaming realm in the comment section below.  Also subscribe to WeedTV.com for more exclusive content.

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