Drug games usually draw attention from concerned parents and media, and Downward Spiral is no exception. The Houston Chronicle has written an article detailing this board game that is being turned into a PC game. Yet instead of allowing players to deal, steal, or get high on drugs, the game allows players to learn the consequences of drug use. It is often used in recovery centers to help patients in treatment.
"People who are in treatment tend to put up barriers," explained Michael Czuchry, one of the game’s designers along with his wife Tiffiny Sia. "We sort of come at them through the side door."
In the board game version, players land on spaces that indicate a variety of negative consequences from drug abuse. For instance,"You and your family are watching a video taken at your sister’s wedding. You are shocked and disgusted by how you look and sound. You were high, but you hadn’t realized how noticeable it was, until now. You realize you have disappointed your family and yourself. Lose 3 personal satisfaction points. Lose 4 self-confidence points. Lose 2 family points."
"Everyone laughs at the beginning of the game," Sia said. "Then, they are laughing at the other player’s misfortune. At the end, no one is laughing."
The PC game is being developed at Texas Christian University and can be expected out in about a year.