Could Mom Be A 'Drug Lord?'

Axelrod_Dope Wars CBS

Just by listening to her describe what her average day is like, you'd never get the impression that Rebecca is into the drug game.

"I get up in the morning. I get my kids off to school, I clean my house. I feed my animals."

Rebecca sounds like any ordinary 30-something. But when those chores are done...

"I sit down and play 'Dope Wars.'"

"Dope Wars" is one of the hottest computer games around today, according to CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"Balboa Park... Price of acid went up," says Rebecca as she plays the game which utilizes that old axiom about supply and demand.

It's a game of buying low and selling high. "I'll sell it and buy more cocaine."

Uh oh. "Police dogs chasing us."

It's a game that turns this law-abiding mother of two into a virtual coke hoarding, cop evading, dope dealing drug lord.

"Pppphhhhhheeeeewwwwwwwww," she exhales after narrowly escaping.

"Dope Wars" is relatively low-tech as video games go. It may be even a bit boring. There are no gory graphics and no cyber bloodbaths. Actually, it's more like on-line banking than street corner dealing.

"Oh, big heroin bust... Make a profit of $4 million."

Yep, just a simple game of supply and demand.

But, there is that part about how you fight with and get away from the cops...

"Now I get to use my bazooka... And I got them all."

And that doesn't sit too well with law enforcement types, like John Lunt. "That's very offensive. I think it's outrageous."

Rebecca thinks it's not a big deal. "The critics need to get a grip because it's only a game."

But Lunt isn't just a critic. He has spent 27 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"People can look at it, if they want, as just a game. But you have to look at it as, can that or can that not impact our young people," says Lunt.

In this current debate about "Dope Wars," it's not too hard to hear echoes of past arguments about emerging cultural trends—from rock 'n roll to rap—one generation's "entertainment" has often been another's "threat."

"Every generation has its form of entertainment that parents just don't get," says Ty Burr of Entertainment Weekly.

And computer games like "Dope Wars" are today's version, Burr says.

"If video games were around in the 1920s, I guarantee you there would be a bootleggers video game. It's that same kind of feeling that 'this is naughty, this is taboo. Let's do it.'"

But if anyone would be outraged by a computer game targeting cops, you might think it would be Rebecca, since both her husband and her father have law enforcement backgrounds. But she says they don't have a problem with the game.

A law enforcement family hooked on "Dope Wars."

The lines between pleasure and danger may always be moving, but in the computer age, they are being drawn in ways never seen before.

In this particula game, Rebecca came up short in the end. "I've been wasted by a loan shark."


  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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