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View Full Version : Addiction mechanics in games



Harlander
13-02-2012, 03:09 PM
The comments thread on John Walker's Prequel (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/13/lord-of-the-cringe-oblivions-prequel-adventure/) got me to thinking about games where the player character is, or becomes, addicted to something.

It's not something I remember being handled a lot by games. In Cart Life, the newspaper vendor is addicted to cigarettes, and it's another pressure on his already meagre finances. In the MUSH I play, Cybersphere, a wide pharmacopia of drugs is available, each with its own grim withdrawal effects. (I got hooked on nootropics. Fun times)

Have any other games handled this issue in an interesting way?

Nalano
13-02-2012, 03:26 PM
Only games I remember playing with any addiction mechanics were the Fallouts, and they were your basic "now you're addicted, so seek a doctor" debuffs.

Would be interesting to have a game where you're a functioning alcoholic the whole way through. Oughta make for unique control schemes.

Harlander
13-02-2012, 03:42 PM
Yeah, the ones where I've seen it, it's usually more an inconvenience than the kind of disaster it looks like in real life. Player agency rarely gets especially disrupted - at worst you might take some stat penalties while you get over it..

Nalano
13-02-2012, 03:58 PM
I can imagine the game now: The longer you go without a drink in your hand, the fewer dialogue options you have. Eventually, all choices reduce to "irritable." After a while, your controls start shaking. Conversely, drink too much and you babble and blurt and black out. Time skips forward eight hours and everybody hates you.

Now, you're a hard-boiled detective and time is of the essence: Solve this murder at the local temperance league. :P

(Two games, however, where you actually had to deal with a debilitating ailment - to varying degree - would be Far Cry 2 and Mask of the Betrayer)

Berzee
13-02-2012, 04:05 PM
die2nite has a thing where if you run out of movement points while stranded outside in the wasteland, you can (as a last resort) use any stimulants you have in order to gain more action points and get home...however, this means that for the rest of the game, you need more drugs every day or you will just automatically die at days' end.

Mask of the Betrayer also comes to mind ^_^

Nalano
13-02-2012, 04:12 PM
Come to think of it, late-stage vampirism in a Bethesda title may have a similar effect, in that the game then becomes centered around coping with yourself. But that's stretching the idea of "addiction." No games for heroin junkies yet...

or is there? (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/410267)

Feldspar
13-02-2012, 04:29 PM
I'm sure I've played a number of games with an addiction mechanism, but nothing particulary deep and involving. I think mostly the big budget games try to steer clear of this due to the Newspaper headlines about games glorifying drugs (remember the old arcade machines that would announce "Winners don't use drugs"?), but on the other hand, notoriety is a great form of advertising.

Keep
13-02-2012, 04:42 PM
I've played one or two games where your character is so determined to reach the next medkit/morphine/first-aid box, that you're encouraged to make him kill people in order to reach it.

Can't remember their names right now though...

Nalano
13-02-2012, 05:38 PM
I've played one or two games where your character is so determined to reach the next medkit/morphine/first-aid box, that you're encouraged to make him kill people in order to reach it.

Can't remember their names right now though...

Ah! You've played L4D too, I see!

Kodeen
13-02-2012, 06:02 PM
There was a mission in Oblivion - Shivering Isles where you ate a moss or something that would give you stat buffs, but if you went too long without eating another one the stats would start to debuff instead.

Jiiiiim
13-02-2012, 06:06 PM
Vampire: Bloodlines made a bit of thing about how blood was good in moderation but could destroy you in excess. If you drank it in places you shouldn't, or did other monstrous things, then you lost humanity, and lost a point of "humanity". As your humanity lowered, keeping your blood topped up became more and more important, as low blood (exacerbated by low humanity) made you lose control of your character as they rampaged around trying to get a fix.

deano2099
13-02-2012, 06:30 PM
Come to think of it, late-stage vampirism in a Bethesda title may have a similar effect, in that the game then becomes centered around coping with yourself. But that's stretching the idea of "addiction." No games for heroin junkies yet...

Or indeed Bloodlines itself, although that never pushed the mechanic as much as I'd have hoped.

Heliocentric
13-02-2012, 06:40 PM
Jet addiction in fallout (all of them) is like a wasting disease. You'll keep getting worse if you keep shooting up, and cold turkey screws you up.

Unaco
13-02-2012, 06:47 PM
Dwarf Fortress has alcoholism in it, in so far as if the Dwarves drink water, and not booze, they become less efficient.

Not sure of it had any addiction/withdrawal mechanics (never played it), but Haze had the Nectar thing going on.

archonsod
13-02-2012, 06:55 PM
Precursors and Xenus II both have alcohol and narcotic addiction, as for that matter did Boiling Point. CoC : Dark Corners of the Earth allowed you to become addicted to morphine IIRC.

FuriKuri!
13-02-2012, 10:56 PM
It wasn't released on PC, and the ending went a bit wacky but Condemned 2: Bloodshot had you playing as a drunk. You lapsed into halucinogenic psychosis at certain scripted points in the game and, iirc, you had to deal with your "inner demon" at one point. Prior to that your aim would wobble around unless you could find some booze to down.

The game had a lot of interesting ideas, but this one was admittedly underplayed - I never bothered to drink in it as guns were too rare to rely on at the start anyway and the amount you consumed/did not consume had no real lasting effect. Shame it wasn't released on PC, would've been a good fit.

It wasn't really an 'addiction' per se but the malaria mechanic in Far Cry 2 certainly evoked that kind of feeling. You could be off trying to do something important elsewhere and it starts kicking in; if you're out of pills you automatically know exactly where you're headed next, no matter the cost.

Oak
13-02-2012, 11:08 PM
Might've changed in the years since I last played, but you could get addicted to "goofballs" in Kingdom of Loathing (http://www.kingdomofloathing.com/login.php?loginid=235ad0a2344c4326b53ff4c1b684f660 ). They provided some quick stat boost and then became comically debilitating.