4 Video Games That Prominently Feature Drugs or Alcohol

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Video Game Walhalla

Image via Flickr by localjapantimes

Normally, violence is the big issue in video games these days. A lot of parents and higher ups are worried that he violence of the game is infecting the minds of their children. However, violence in video games has existed since video games came into existence; remember Mario jumping on the heads of flying turtles? The new issue, flying clear under the radar, in video games is substance use and abuse.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is a delinquent’s paradise. Where else do you get to run around, beat up strippers, steal cars, and do drugs without getting arrested? This game represents everything a parent would never want their kids to know about. Inside of the GTA universe, characters are given the opportunity to smoke marijuana, utilize cocaine, and drive drunk all through the streets. Rockstar games has thrown an M rating on the cover, however, minors can easily get ahold of this game given they have someone over the age of 17 waiting in the wings for them.  With this type of easy access and the substance use, perhaps this game needs to be under a stricter lock and key.

Godfather 2

Most of us are familiar with the Godfather movies and most of us know that we can’t exactly sit through Brando’s performance with little ears in the room. If you pick up this video game, be prepared to kick pattering feet out the door into the cartoon room. Godfather 2 has a little bit more class and sophistication than GTA, however, just because it has sophistication doesn’t mean it’s void of drug references and drunken antics. Just playing this game will make you feel like you’re in desperate need of a few alcohol treatment centers.

Saints Row

What’s a video game without a little drug trafficking? In the game series Saints Row, players have the opportunity to jump on one of the most illegal and lucrative business known to modern civilization. In this mission you get to hunker down with a high profile drug dealer and pal around the yards, protecting him and transporting his lovely cargo. Yes, it’s violent, and yes, you have to protect him from rival gangs, but just remember you’re doing it all to keep the illegal substances in the trunk of your car and the man who sells them to kids safe. This is a real winning test of the human moral compass.

Payday 2

This game takes the cake as far as substance abuse is concerned. While the drug trafficking might be on a low, the drug creation is at an all-time high. The players are given several missions that they have to complete in order to rake in the dough. Most, if not all, of these missions are horribly illegal and border on the line of incarcerated for the rest of your life and straight-up death sentence. One mission, in particular, makes the player create a whopping pile of Meth amphetamine for retail and transport. You’re equipped with a meth lab, machine guns, and crazy gang members waiting to riddle you with holes. All-in-all, Payday 2 definitely takes the cake on the grand scheme of “someone needs to go to rehab”.

Yes, video games are a lot of fun and most people enjoy sitting down and wasting a little bit of time on them (or all day). However, some video games should be wholly avoided as far as kids are concerned. Read the labels, read the reviews, and watch the gameplay before you hand over one of the “hit new titles” for a Christmas present.



  1. The modern day video games promoting violence are a definite issue of mine. How ironic you mentioned Mario Bros as that’s the last one I played too, Jennifer! I want to see kids outside playing safely and interacting, making friends, learning to communicate constructively and take that into their adult lives. Unfortunately so many adults play these games as well. Seems to continue to be a battle that I hope evolves back to the old days I remember well 🙂

    • My son has gone through his video game phase. He doesn’t nearly play as much now. Now there’s tablet games to deal with but they seem less violent.

  2. Claire Cappetta says:

    I’ve never played video games but my son used to get them and still does before they are launched to help iron out any glitches. His father wrote the game “Hunchback” back in the day in the UK Maybe I so surrounded by games they didn’t appeal. Games these days seem a lot more violent than Hunchback! lol

    • My husband would love to be a video game tester like that. Or even make them since he’s a programmer but just hasn’t been able to do it. Probably because most game companies are in California in the US. I have never heard of Hunchback. I will need to check it out 🙂

    • Claire Cappetta says:

      Here’s a link for you. Boy I am going back to the dinosaur age of computers lol Acorn I wonder if your husband knows of Acorns I’m thinking he won’t have heard of BBC computer games thought…. My family is like the Big Bang Theory of computers however I totally illiterate to them : ) Just think I’m doing good to write and blog! (Giggles)
      Here’s the background link for Hunchback for your husband: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_Software
      My daughter’s good and works as a UX Designer, my son’s a scary genius and can’t get one because they always ask for work experience… a typical Catch 22

    • Sounds like you have a talented family! I will have my check that out. Thanks!

  3. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) says:

    I have to agree that I think these violent games are contributing to our increasingly uncivil society. Research shows that could very well be true. In my opinion, I think the difference is a lack of balance. In the early years of these games, kids had more face-to-face playtime, I think. Their entire world wasn’t wrapped up in arms length friendships through the internet and I think they had a better sense of what was real and what was play. That’s my humble opinion. I, like Mike, would like kids to get out more and socialize with each other.

    • I agree. Kids need to get out more. My son was in a video game phase for a bit is mostly out of it now. He now likes Netflix but will gladly forgo any electronic to go spend the night at his grandparents or aunts house.

  4. A much needed posting Krystle. I was aware of Grand Theft Auto but not the others. I’m not against these games but I do like the idea of being aware of them especially when raising kids. (I also think it tells the character of a person when I hear they LOVE these games)

  5. I used to be so shocked when I used to visit my sister and my nephew would be upstairs playing all kinds of games. He would have three different TVS in three different rooms going. Nobody seemed overly concerned about him being so occupied, and the fact that he was playing games with lots of violence just seemed par for the course. I’m not a parent, but anyone can see such habits are not healthy. As a teacher, I’ve taught too many students who stayed up until 4 am playing games and then walk around school like zombies.

    • I don’t think a little video gaming is bad especially depending on the content. I just think the person playing needs to be able to comprehend that this is only a game. I’m sure my husband was one of those kids staying up late playing video games, but at least he was into RPGs more than the really violent stuff.

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