dopewars: The classic, in all its sinful glory

So long as we’re talking about classic games that span entire generations, here’s dopewars, the unapologetic, uncouth game with origins that reach back over the past 30 years.

2014-10-15-6m47421-dopewars-01 2014-10-15-6m47421-dopewars-02

If you’ve never played dopewars, or Drugwars for that matter, you’ve missed out on a small slice of computer culture that is worth remembering. I’m no expert, but I can remember the backlash against Drugwars when it was in its heyday, and I don’t wonder if some of the anti-video game sentiment that persists even today has its roots in Drugwars.

But games are escapist and illusory, so I have no compunctions about tinkering with a game that has prostitution and-or the drug trade as its theme. You could rewrite dopewars and make it teddybearwars if that made you more comfortable. Please, be my guest.

The mechanics of the game should be fairly straightforward: Make money by reselling various illegal substances in different parts of New York City. The market is your main enemy, but police and other dealers can also complicate things for you. Make it to the end of the game without getting arrested or killed, and you’ll have that to brag about over the water cooler at work.

There’s a little bit of Lemonade Stand in dopewars, a little bit of Elite and maybe even a little bit of M.U.L.E., although I admit the game does lack a certain “building” element.

You do have the option to play in a graphical environment if you really have to. So long as we’re reliving 1984 though, I see no harm in starting it with dopewars -t.

The Arch rendition (and the Debian version, I suspect) is a rarity at the console, since it makes a provision for sound elements. Move from one area to another, and you’ll hear the sound of a subway train. Quit the game, and it says goodbye. A nice touch, considering most text-based games are silent.

dopewars has a degree of re-playability that you might not see in strict text-based arcade games, but not nearly the depth of some titles of true console genius. dopewars has just enough to take up a good solid 20 minutes of your day — and maybe even more than one day — but it will likely fail to absorb you for much longer than that. It’s a good game, but play it a few times and you’ve seen all it can do.

I’m willing to give dopewars a solid thumbs-up for good use of color, easy rules to understand, a good amount of re-playability, a piece-of-cake interface … and big bonus points for sounds. In that sense it has done everything right, so I’m not bashful about handing out one of those ultra-rare, extremely valuable K.Mandla gold stars: ⭐ 😀 Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “dopewars: The classic, in all its sinful glory

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