The United States has of late somewhat relented on its “war on drugs” – controversial both when it comes to the political and economic process behind it, but perhaps more importantly, in what the policy has managed to achieve over the past decades.
Be that as it may – as of early 2019, 14 US states have decriminalized, while another ten have legalized at least one psychoactive drug – in addition to alcohol, that is – and the drug is marijuana, aks, “weed.” Over in Canada, marijuana has been legalized nation-wide since last October. This means that in these jurisdictions at least, the lovers of joints should, in theory, be equally socially (un)acceptable as those putting their faith in martinis.
But that doesn’t mean that the cultural perception has actually changed, as Google’s YouTube and Facebook are demonstrating now, hampering an independent game developer’s business on unclear grounds.
The “tycoon sim” game, “Weedcraft Inc,” developed by Vile Monarch together with independent publisher Devolver Digital, is facing censorship by these highly influential tech entities.
Weedcraft Inc is a business tycoon game that focuses on growing, breeding and selling weed, the creators and publishers say, noting that they thought the controversial business of marijuana would lend itself well to the “business sims” genre.
They also claim that the intent was not to exploit the obvious controversy surrounding the subject for cheap short-term publicity – but to instead build their product in the long run on its gameplay merit.
And while the initial reception from reviewers had been positive – regardless of the subject matter – the game soon hit the wall of YouTube’s and Facebook’s “aggressive policing.”
It’s not entirely clear why – and “tycoon” games typically tap into the gaming market where users are concerned with exercising their business-building and time-management skills, without digging too deep into – well, the weeds – of a game’s message, or identifying with it – instead building “empires” out of anything, as long as the gameplay itself proves to be sufficiently engaging.