With the release of the much-anticipated game Haze for Playstation 3, know-it-all commentators have a new, ready-made scapegoat for the upsurge in teen prescription drug abuse. That’s right — now they can blame video games!
Specifically, they can blame Haze, the plot of which is described as follows:
The game revolves around Mantel Global Industries, a multinational corporation with bio-medical expertise. This has led to the development of Nova-Keto-Thyrazine – also called Nectar … a performance-enhancing pharmaceutical drug that grants the user enhanced speed, accuracy and strength.
Mantel uses this drug to control the minds of its soldiers. When administered, Nectar can control–among other things– what a soldier sees, similar to the effects of a hallucinogenic drug. It makes enemies stand out as bright orange silhouettes against the darker-gray background. Nectar also drowns out the surrounding images of death and destruction (for instance, bodies will vanish.) Nectar also reduces recoil, and allows the player to zoom in further while scoped.
An overdose of Nectar is dangerous, with loss of mental control and death being possible side-effects. A Mantel Soldier experiencing an overdose is shown by a change in their armor, changing in color from yellow to red.
Rebel soldiers may go in to a “Play Dead” state just before they are killed, allowing them to regenerate health and disappear from the Mantel soldiers’ sight, since they can’t see dead people while on Nectar. In addition, they have been given the capability to exploit Mantel’s dependence on Nectar by attacking the Nectar injector, extracting Nectar to use on throwing knives from dead Mantel troopers and using the injector to create Nectar grenades. These Nectar-enhanced weapons will cause a Mantel trooper to overdose on Nectar, as will attacking the Nectar injector.
Insert your own commentary here. I won’t bother. But I will say that video games, as usual, aren’t the real cause of the problem of teens and pharmaceutical drug abuse, any more than the Internet itself is.