I was a couple years too young to have gone through the D.A.R.E. program that so much of my generation fondly remembers in the form of ironic t-shirts. Somehow, though, I learned to respect my body and keep myself on the straight and narrow, and like all of the best parts of myself, I chalk my drug-free lifestyle up to spending my formative years playing hours and hours of video games. While drug education relied on horror stories, video games maximized the coercive power of fear by letting us live the nightmare of a drug-filled lifestyle firsthand. Here's a rundown of the reasons to stay off drugs, as taught by gaming.
In Grand Theft Auto III, the Colombian cartels have introduced a new drug called SPANK to the streets of Liberty City, and it's a doozy. Something like cocaine on PCP, SPANK is highly addictive and causes paranoia and insanity, which is fine, if that's what you're into. SPANK starts getting problematic, though, in the mission "Kingdom Come," where you're attacked by "SPANKed-up madmen" with explosive vests and a passion for blastin'. The only thing more terrifying than combustible junkies are combustible junkies who won't shut up, and the SPANKed-up madmen have that pegged: they laugh like jackals and repeatedly yell "COME TO PAPA!", among the grossest interjections in the henchman's catalogue. I consider myself an adventurous guy, but if I'm starting my night with something I think is safe, healthy, mom-and-pop cocaine and ending it screaming my way across a parking lot with a C-4 shirt on, I might just pass this time.