Call it Grand Theft Auto for the marijuana minded.
You know it’s 2014 when a controversial new iPhone game allows players to grow and sell marijuana in simulated weed-dealer play. And Weed Firm — an iPhone game featuring growing and dealing, crooked cops, ruthless gangsters and promiscuous ladies released May 5 — hit No. 1 on Apple’s iTunes’ free games chart in the U.S. on May 19.
A quick look at the app’s iTunes rating shows that it’s rated for gamers 17 and older for “frequent/intense alcohol, tobacco or drug use or references” and “frequent/intense mature/suggestive themes.” To boot, the game has received a number of positive reviews on the web and more than 5,000 reviews on the iTunes store — with an average 4.5 (out of 5) star rating on iTunes.
But when you sell your first baggie to the gentleman who shows up at your door he tells you, “Sharing the gifts of nature brings us closer together, my brother.” The animated exchange is right out of a “Cheech and Chong” movie: One hand full of cash reaches out to another hand full of a different green, and the deal takes place. The second buyer, a DJ, leaves; Another man, a plumber, shows up at your door 60 seconds later. And then you light up a joint together to encourage customer loyalty.
Then it’s time to grow more weed to deal. Buy seeds for Northern Lights, White Widow or Purple Haze — as well as more pots, fertilizer (or “ferts,” as they’re called), water and other grow-related items. Let the plant mature. And sell some more — until you have enough coin to buy the more expensive seeds and such.
It’s a legitimately addictive game, and it’s compelling to watch your cash pile grow larger as your clientele becomes more and more demanding. You’ll soon recognize that some customers pay better than others; Turn the cheapskates down while keeping the high rollers as customers. But wait — I ran out of marijuana? Go to the store. Buy some seeds and water. Buy another pot, so you can grow twice as much. And wait until the plants mature.
The game could do without the unnecessary sexual content. “I get much better orgasms when I’m high. True fact,” Sandy the blonde cheerleader tells me after we smoke a joint together. “Men are always trying to get models stoned to fuck them … sometimes it works,” Naomi the African American model tells me after we smoke a joint together. It’s just gratuitous, though undoubtedly aimed at a certain male-dominated segment of the cannabis-consuming population.
What works is the general tone of the game. When you complete a task it tells you, “Level complete, bro,” as a lit joint appears at the bottom of the screen. And that’s also what is raising eyebrows with the game’s new-found popularity. Given the game’s themes and pot’s current federal placement in the U.S., is this game too much too soon — even with the mild disclaimer, “The creators of this game do not encourage the cultivation or use of cannabis”?
Perhaps. But one thing is for sure, and I can say this after easily losing 20 minutes to the game: Weed Firm is way more addictive than the weed itself.