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Have You Played... Dope Wars?

Breaking Good

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I really had no idea the original Drugwars was as old as 1984. The drug-trading profit-me-do crossed my path in the early 90s where a Windows incarnation called Dope Wars, running in a small window, had me hooked (geddit?) for a surprisingly long time. It felt slightly naughty at first, and then just became about PURE PROFIT.

And even this goes back a lot further, the game based on another game called Star Trader from 1974. A chap called John E. Dell created the mid-80s Drugwars, in which you played arbitrage, buying and selling various drugs at varying prices, attempting to make a profit to pay off a loan shark.

Because it was about dealing drugs I remember it felt enticingly illicit at first. But once you started playing it might as well have been about dealing fruit or baseball cards – it was about gaming the system, making the right deal at the right moment, and then the horror of getting burned by a suddenly plunging price. And, I’ve just learned while researching all this, Beermat Software re-released it last year on Android. *Buys* *Installs*

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John Walker

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One of the original co-founding robots of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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