July 21, 2008

Idea: Performance Enhanced Video Games

I don’t advocate taking performance enhancing drugs, but if I were a company making a sports video game, I would be tempted to include a hidden “Steroid Mode” where the players can enhance themselves by taking drugs which make them stronger players. It could add an interesting layer of complexity to the gameplay, reflect a real life issue, and create a buzz of controversy that could help sell the video game.

There could even be a down side to taking drugs. Maybe your player gets great strength for a while but eventually gets liver damage and becomes weaker than when he started.

Of course, the video game company would need some sort of plausible deniability once the parental outrage begins. Maybe the game doesn’t feature “drugs” at all, but thinly metaphoric “Power Potions.” Then you can say, “Power Potions are not supposed to represent performance enhancing drugs, and any similarity is completely coincidental.” If all else fails, you can claim “This baseball game is marketed for adults and is not intended for children.”

Meanwhile kids can argue over whether or not “Steroid Mode” scores should be counted on the same High Scores list as Standard Mode scores. Maybe they can compromise by being on the same list, but with an asterisk.


I’ve not seen drugs in sports games before, but they’ve been used in some others.

dude, i totally dig your use of the RBI Baseball image.

I remember i couple of games from when i was a kid. One on the commodore 64 and the other on the amiga.

The first was “Daley Thompson’s Olympic Challenge”, you couldn’t take steroids, but the game was sponsored by “lucozade” so, during the longer sports, you could drink a bottle of it and get a speed boost.

The other was “Speedball” (or possibly speedball 2) and, while i can’t remember if you could actually take steroids (that’s possible) you could buy the referees for a game.

So a baseball game with steroids wouldn’t be the first ;)


Try the Heaven vs. Hell RBI baseball ROM to see what steroid mode would be like:


There’s already cheats, I suppose.

I also think you should be able to select Paralympic mode where you might compete by means of an artificial limb or two (or be unsighted perhaps).

Done with Blitz the League, where there were a variety of drugs to alter performance, more recently done in FPS in Haze, with performance altering drugs.


Of course there’s always BioShock.

Not only does Blitz have juicing up (with pros and cons), they have an achievement for spreading a ‘venereal disease’ to other players online.



47. Burning Sensation
You feel itchy down below. Did you pick something up from your last opponent?

Then they could also have a hidden Subpoena/Testimony Mode. The more believable your performance in court the more bonus points you get.

Starcraft had stimpacks for marines all the way back in 1998. When you use a stimpack your guys lose some health but temporarily fire faster and move faster.

So it already exists?

If you take too many steroids your best friend should abandon you, saying you used to be cool but now you’ve given up the dream. Then your penis shrinks and your wife wonders why you’re so preoccupied pumping weights and why you don’t have sex with her anymore. You lapse into alcoholism and start frequenting massage parlours. Credits roll to complete silence.