Have you ever left your game on pause for two hours because you went to get some pizza and never made it back? Have you even scratched your head and wondered why people complained about Halo being too short when it took you 20 hours to complete. Have you ever spent 10 minutes looking perplexed at the in-game map wondering what the hell it all means before your attention is finally captured by the flashing neon marker which marks your position? Congratulations, you are one of the many gamers out there who’ve gone against doctor and parental advice to play a game ripped, stoned, bent, whacked, baked, toasted, or in deep conversation with either Wesley Pipes, Mary Jane or Billy Bong Thornton.
Some will tell you there is nothing quite like a heightened sense of reality when stepping into an unreal world: not us, we want you to stay in school and learn trigonomometry, engrish and how stuff works and stuff. Seriously though, we do not condone the use of any illegal substance. But we’re not about to turn a blind eye to all you pied pipers out there that want to huff and puff before they blow some muthafuckers down. God invented graphics for you bastards, don’t ya know? We should all be offering you our thanks. So we have assembled this helpful guide for when Johnny Joint has passed the peace pipe your way and it’s time to…
Wait… what were we talking about?
Hey, could it be possible that the entire billion dollar games industry exists simply to give stoned people something to do? Is Peter Molyneux’s decision to map everything to one button in Fable 2 further proof that catering to the needs of the humble wasteoid is key to commercial success. Shit… deep. Anyway…
Oh yeah, time to get your game on. Some of these suckers you don’t even need to get off the couch to buy! How good is that bro? Draw the curtains, close the doors, pray the landlord doesn’t drop by and check it…
First up, the ground rules
There are three categories of stoned gamer. There is stoned gamer going solo. Stoned gamer going online. Or stoned gamer and their equally stoned mate making the most of the couch while their significant other is out for the night. Regardless of which category you fall into, there are some golden rules of thumb we used when fashioning the roster of titles highlighted below.
Key to everything is the controls. They must be simple to master, and perfectly executed so that when you press a button the desired action happens immediately on screen. Nothing is going to kill your buzz like going mano-e-mano with the controller instead of the bad dudes when the action heats up. Games that require quick reflexes are also not such a great idea: if you find yourself in an online warzone with bullets, explosions and yelling team-mates belting all of your senses at once your head may just explode. Trust us it can happen: we heard proof from this guy who had a brother it happened to… his name was Davo.
Generally opt for arcade over simulation if the choice is available. Your mind is probably going to make you think you’re kickass at whatever it is you’re playing anyway so there is no need to make it a mission. The forgiving physics and controls in arcade games will keep you pointing in the right direction where you’d otherwise be in no-mans around bouncing up and down like a spastic frog. In fact you may just want to take decision making away altogether: the last thing you want is the fate of the world to rest on your answer to a long conversation tree and you can’t work out what the fuck they’re talking about or remember where the hell that alien she-bitch even came from.
No character customization! You’ll be coming down before you even begin the game if you get buried too deep in that shit. Press random, and move on. In fact just keep moving: if a game doesn’t have a constant sense of progression you lose what remaining focus you have and start thinking that better entertainment may be found at youporn. Even simple decisions like left or right can break your head if the game isn’t built with the right level of quality.
Oh, and one last rule. For Christ’s sake wipe down that bloody controller every now and again: that slippery feeling under your fingers is pizza grease brother, and it’s fucking with your shit. Right, now on to the games…
Grand Theft Auto IV
We might as well start with The Don. Not sure why people love this series? Puff ‘n’ play and you’ll know why damn quick! You won’t get anything done mind you. You will simply fall from one police chase to the next, no matter how hard you try to do an actual mission. Cockpit view is the way to go, with the soundtrack pumping and the enormous city looming up around you there is much fun to be had simply from the knowledge that at any second you can swerve onto the footpath and paint the road with ‘homeless dude’. Or just casually lob a grenade out the window at a major intersection to see what happens. What joy, what fun. And Rockstar know you’re playing its game stoned, that’s why they got great music, and why weapon unlock cheats were available day one.
And why is it The Don? It works on all three levels. It rules solo, it rules online and it rules even if you’re not playing, but just sitting on the couch taking turns with the person next to you, trying to see who can get the most stars. It is even one of the few games out there where the characters are likely to inhale more drugs than you. Props to Little Jacob – stand up for your rights champ.
Atmosphere is everything when you’re ripped. Admittedly, to fire on all canons this weapon does need to be loaded with the twin awesomeness of surround sound and an HD-TV. But really if you don’t have that set-up yet you might want to check your habit: fill your lounge-room before you fill your lungs people. Anyway, BioShock kicks ass on atmosphere. It takes you to an underwater utopia filled with mutant genetically enhanced horrors and despite that outlandish setting from start to finish you are as good as there.
The pace is spot on, with you happily wandering off on scattered tangents into the recesses of Rapture before the big fat helpful yellow arrow leads you back to the right path. You can drink booze, smoke fags and raid cash resisters and safes, not to mention you’ll have mainlined half a chemistry lab by the time the dust has settled. Throw in the audio tapes that fill you in on the story without any need for concentration and you’ll quickly discover that Rapture is one big green room you won’t want to leave.
Fight Night Round 3
Violence may not be the most noted passion of the humble hippie but damn if it ain’t fun wailing on someone’s head in Fight Night Round 3. The game shines in three key areas: sound, graphics and controls. You really do feel like a fighter, weaving, ducking, probing and then when you finally see an opening and send a fist flying through… damn! You can feel the impact to your bones. Then as they stumble… wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am! A flurry of hits that gets the commentator yelling and the crowd cheering.
Like many sport games that hit the g-spot when on the green it comes down to finding a mate who can match you toe-to-toe. A suitable opponent who can go twelve rounds with you and cry in anguish or taunt in joy when faces swell, blood trickles and hot chicks begin parading around in a bikini holding something… we don’t know, our eyes never got that high. But we did.
Soul Calibur stands as a very solid alternative, but is let down by a need to have mastered the gameplay and remembered the moves first to avoid random button bashing.
The Burnout series
Crash, and the world laughs with you. Nothing gets your buzz cracking more than a hysterical laughing fit and few things in gaming remain as endlessly hilarious as the Burnout series. In one of the few instances where being bad at driving is actually good, the ability to dynamically shift between blistering pace and slow-motion fireworks sets your brain on edge from start to finish.
Extra special points got to Crash Mode in the old-schoolers, and Showtime in the latest effort Burnout Paradise. More addictive than crack packaged in Tetris blocks it will keep your foot flat on the pedal for hours. You’ll watch in awe as developer Criterion schools you on the concept of particle effects while smiles creep ever closer to red eyes. If pushed Pure is a wicked alternative.
When the first dude planted the first mull tree and then… a few good rains later… choofed the first bud his first thought was probably, ‘dang, how many centuries till some muthafucker makes SKATE?’ That’s just how frickin’ important this game is to the canon of stoner titles, rocking dealer’s dungeons just as hard now as Pong did when hippies queued around the block to roll-up and go into battle against a large ‘l’ with a beeping dot.
SKATE is all about the cruise. Blaze up, step out into a stunningly beautiful world, kick, push and coast. With kickass beats pumping into your virtual headphones, you can just roll down the hill and grind gutters or hunt down soul-searching, death-defying lines in corners of the world so isolated only birds go there to shit. Cops will chase you, cars will hit you and pedestrians will act like snobs. It’s like real life! And every now and again, out of nowhere, you’ll bust something so sick… so snooch… that you’ll truly understand what that prehistoric baked bastard was going on about.
This is also why SKATE 2 is the only thing that matters in 2009.
Gears of War and Halo
You may be wondering why we grouped these two brilliant game series into the one bracket. But they are both shining examples of the category three stoner… that’d be the stoner and his mate on the couch in co-op. Both Bungie and Epic Games must’ve been keeping potheads in mind during the game’s development as there are just too many concessions in the gameplay to allow for those that may be mentally muted but still want to proceed through the experience to have plenty of fun.
In particular is the wave effect: an intense moment of combat followed by a minute of peace and safety while you gaze at the graphics, and then another bite-sized slab of combat. Neat little packages of entertainment that don’t twist your brain in half and there’s always a mate at your back with magical revival abilities that can ensure death is only ever a minor hiccup. Secondly, acts and levels are spaced just enough gameplay apart that you’re due for another reefer and a beer at the end of each, allowing you to then mull over the previous hour experience on the balcony out back. This is key to the stoned gaming experience.
Admittedly Halo did suffer terribly from ‘I thought I was heading the right way but now I am back at the fucking start of the level’ syndrome – a nasty, debilitating syndrome… comparable to irritable bowl syndrome – but in the end only one of you has to make it to the next checkpoint. Yep, Halo and Gears are both shoot first and ask questions only when someone needs to do a chop hours later arcade gaming, which is just perfect. Note: questions may vary from direct ‘isn’t it your turn to do the chop?’ to indirect ‘didn’t I do the last chop?’
Pro Evolution Soccer
You want to truly feel everything that a sporting game can offer? Smoke a bowl and hit Pro Evolution Soccer with a mate. Don’t pussy-foot around: whack that game duration up to the full match experience, select your favourite team and lock yourself down into a midfield battle so intense that the core temperature of your lounge-room rises to a level that is comparable to the flaming hot cone piece, simmering by the back door. C’mon what else is there to life outside of Evo? Walking the dog? Stuff that, he is lovin’ the Dub as much as the two of you.
PES plays at exactly the right pace for the whacked gamer. The controls and animations sync together as perfectly as a strip of business card and a piece of rollie paper, allowing your mind to drift freely from attacking play to defensive strategy with ease. The gameplay tip-toes through the simulation land-mine perfectly, never ruining the experience because you’re controlling a slightly weaker midfielder, for example. Sure you want to play a mate of equal skill or it can suck quickly, but if you can find that mate, then you’ll be the Cheech and Chong of your lounge-room, enjoying a fruitful relationship despite being constantly wrecked… until someone starts cheating by lobbing the keeper, then the party is over.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
We’d usually tell you to stay away from games that have open-ended progression systems, inventory management and long conversation trees but fuck it, Oblivion has pretty flowers and you can ride a horse. This is all about graphics gazing: just lumbering around the land of Cyrodiil from dodgy dungeon to ice-capped mountain top just checking shit out. It’s the classic tale of a loafer, drop-kick, ripped bastard becoming a hero through a range of ever more whacky adventures – like some fantasy version of your crazy trip out west to find a bud in the early hours of one Tuesday morning.
It’s all here: bars, swords, buxom wenches. Seriously, this is a game where you can spend hours just hunting down special herbs in the local forest… who hasn’t done that? We should know, we’ve been there: we found Cyrodill in the back of a coffee shop in Amsterdam once. And let’s not forget about those Oblivion gates. The whole entire world turns into something resembling the dying embers of a punched cone just before you dive headlong into a flaming vulva. For when you literally want to alter your reality.
Xbox Live Arcade- aka The Stoner’s Paradise
Too wasted to get off the couch? Microsoft hears you: those smart bastards designed the Live Arcade for people like you and then gave developers – the type that learnt how to code simply as a bi-product of needing to automate their hydroponic set-up – the keys to the bloody door. Two button presses and a small download later – and you know what you can do during that interlude don’t you Mr. Chop Chop – will see some of the best gaming experiences out there on tap, whenever you want it.
Seriously these games will be there for you day or night, rain or shine, bush or hydro, not to mention that they easily cater for each of the three stoner categories on offer. Want to laugh until you asphyxiate? Worms all the way. Feel like fucking with your head? Braid. Need dumb fun? Castle Crashers? Want to make your eyes glow even redder? Rez HD? Need to get your multiplayer on? Bomberman. Feel like trying to hunt through what’s left of your memory for that nostalgia thing? Duke Nukem 3D. Want to blow shit up? Geometry Wars. Tits? Soul Calibur. 1942? Cause its 1942. Hell, you don’t even have to get up to put in a disc – this shit is bananas, g – e – n – i – n– u – s!
Bathurst in V8 Supercars
This one is for our homies. Yeah it might be old-gen, yeah you overseas brothers and sisters probably have no idea what we are talking about, and yeah, we too have passed out while driving down Conrad straight, but life doesn’t get any doper than man-handling a V8 over the top of Mount Panorama when the world is a distinct shade of green. Codemasters are Gods, that’s just a fact. How else can it be explained that V8 Supercars is one of the few titles where your performance actually improves with each bong… just like darts, for some reason.
Just thinking about that first corner, and then flooring it up the hill past where Skaifey got taken out that time. And then trying to nail the apex into skyline so you can power through on full throttle before it’s off the edge of the world into the dipper… right… left… right… left and onto the downhill straight, tipping the speedo ever upwards. C’mon 300… c’mon! Then bam onto the brakes for the chicane and that big reality check with is the Sahara fucking desert waiting at the end to gobble you up.
Thinking about all that shit, hell, it is enough to give you dry mouth and a hankering for fried chicken all on its own. Now you know why they announced recently that Bathurst will be releases as DLC for Race Driver: GRiD at exactly 4.20p.m – the international time of the toke.
For about the first 20 minutes of Fable II, it seems shit. Some weird looking kids with whiny voices going ‘oh, we’re so poor. Look at us. We want to be a in a castle. Boo fuckin’ hoo.” The next thing you know you’ve smoked your entire stash, the sun has come up, and you’re standing in the middle of nowhere with a shovel, fixated on a large stone head that has morphed out the side of a cliff face and has begun speaking jibberish.
Fable II is GTA for the geeks, with a world open to hours of random manipulation. Chat up someone’s partner and fuck them bareback in the bushes just to piss someone off. Fart to you shit your pants to give some kids a chuckle. Stab a shop vender to death for ripping you off on some bandit leggings and then run for the hills with the local goody two shoes hot on your tail. Even if you’re depressed because, let’s face it, there you are on the couch again on a Saturday night, you can cheer yourself up by making the whole village love you… just before you rip ‘em off in a pub game and then break into their homes to steal their novels. And if you think smartarse Scottish gargoyles are funny when you’re straight…
Yep, the head honcho over a Lionhead Studios, Peter Molyneux, clearly gets on the cones for breaky judging by the world he has created once he gets to work. Key to his altered genius is his tactic of ensuring nothing gets in the way of your immersion, with super simplistic one-button controls, a glowing golden path that leads you in the right direction and even a dog that’ll bark like buggery if you happen to be too baked to notice the huge treasure chest you just walked past. How else can you condone the idea of hunting down keys: crap sober, somehow fun when hitting a ‘B-to-tha-izong’. Even the loading screens work, somehow hypnotizing you into staring blankly at the screen until something clicks and you go, ‘what the fuck am I doing’ and move on.
Finally, Fable II just looks and sounds awesome. Graphics are God and we worship the attention to detail found in the land of Albion, all of which becomes doubly sick when you’ve been led astray by the pied piper. This truly is a game where you can just stop and look around: just don’t be freaked out when a glowing orb walks up to you and a voice suddenly says ‘hey man I’m too fresh from the oven to do a mission, do you know where the blacksmith is?’ – that’s just another stoned bastard floundering around Albion.
Everything on SNES
Back before Nintendo become a toy company, they used to make great consoles and awesome games. The SNES was sex. Four buttons, 16-bits of awesomeness and 2D side-scrolling heaven. You’d roll a fat one, stick in the cartridge – the cutting edge of gaming you know – turn it on… and nothing would happen. So you’d pull out the cartridge, blow all the weed out of the bottom of it, push it back in with equal amounts of pressure on both corners and then turn it on for that sweet ‘ting’ and you’d be off and racing.
From Earthworm Jim to Donkey Kong Country, and Street Fighter II: Turbo to F-Zero – as well as pretty much anything that begun with the word ‘Super’ – the SNES delivered again, and again… and again… If you haven’t been able to see out of your smoke haze for the last 15 years and just woke up to the Wii you’re probably wondering what the hell went wrong. It was called GameCube, and for Nintendo it was a horror story on par with knocking over the bong water in your mum’s car: that smell ain’t never coming out. If the Wii has a saving grace, it is the virtual console and the ability to bring back the SNES.
When in doubt
So what do you do if you don’t have any of the options listed above and it’s time to get your game on, while you’ve got your green on? Well there is one fallback method which will get you through the night. The ‘when in doubt’ rule includes any game where your character can pull-off ridiculous shit without you needing to waste a single thought on the matter. Bash a button, be blown away. We’re talking God of War, Devil May Cry, heavenly sword… hell, even the new Spyro the Dragon will dazzle you with its spectacle with barely a sweat raised. Puff the Magic Spyro?
Games you think would be good, but aren’t.
Now you may be wondering why some of the finest titles to ever be released didn’t make our guide to playing stoned. Surely quality is > quality no matter how baked your brain is, right? Buh bow! To the following titles you should say nope, when on the dope.
Colin McRae: DiRT: Wicked graphics, easy-to-control car physics, stunning vistas to stare at while you whiz past at a zillion miles an hour… what could possibly bring the mighty Colin down? One word: tree. You may think you like the bush, but nothing is more frustrating that trying to keep it together for six minutes only to get stuck on a tree at the last corner. No thanks.
Guitar Hero & Rock Band: On the piss? Then by all means whip out either of these musical gems and get stuck into it. On the pipes? Yeah, then stay well away. Concentrating on bright dots as they flash from the top of the screen to the bottom is awesome fun for about ten seconds, until you get creamed at the first solo and blow it all off.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Easily one of the best games of this generation, but it relies too heavily on throwing you between moments of extreme patience, and periods of hectic reflex shooting. Quite frankly you need to better than you can be ripped to have fun, especially online.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots It is one of the most important questions any stoner asks him or herself when preparing for a night of relaxation on the couch. To watch a movie, or to play a game? The general rule of thumb is: movie if you’re really wasted, game if you’re marginally knobbed. What doesn’t work is both at the same time, so MGS4 – a game with hours of cut-scenes – can bugger off.
Doom 3: We dare you to play Doom 3, on PC, with surround-sound 5.1 headphones, in the dark, stoned… we dare you. Cause you know what? It can’t be done. We’re not sure why the above playing environment wasn’t tested by the developer’s QA department, but I don’t think they would have made it to the end even if they tried. Scary shit. Too scary…
Sony’s Lifestyle Range: SingStar, Buzz, EyeToy… no, no and no. The only thing on God’s green Earth that can ever drive a person to play such games is booze and Boon-like amounts of it… or possibly the chance of scoring a root. You’ve been warned.
Everything on Wii: Athleticism generally isn’t the hallmark of the pothead. We’re sure that there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part it is minimization of movement rather than maximization that delivers the best results. And with no high-def visuals or quality soundtracks to seal the deal you can pretty much fuck everything on Wii right off in one foul swoop, aforementioned SNES downloads being the only exception.
The three ‘S’ Games – Squad-based shooters, Simulations, strategies: Because thinking hurts.
Just remember, winners don’t do drugs cause they’re bad mmmkay and… err… this boy needs therapy?