Narc, Arcade

Created by Williams Electronics in 1988, Narc is a side-scrolling run-and-gun shooter that attracted a lot of controversy when it first came out.

Designed by Eugene Jarvis (the designer of Defender and Smash TV, among others), and programmed by George Petro, Narc is an ultra violent parody of the “war against drugs” where the goal is to arrest – and kill – drug dealers.

The problem with this satirical approach was that – far from appeasing the critics or the authorities on the subject of “anti-drugs messaging” – Narc gave them something else to moan about… Which is… funny, really, because – let’s face it – most lobby groups are assholes… The so-called “war on drugs” is a waste of time and money, and a smokescreen for bigger problems – like corruption of power, systemic racism, and billions in contracts for the penal industry…

So I imagine someone went up to Mr. Jarvis one day and said “we want you to make a video game that is anti-drugs”, and he said “okay”, then went away and came back with Narc. And when they saw it the Williams Electronics suits collectively spat their coffee out…

As old arcade run-and-gun shooters go, Narc is reasonable fun, if mindless. Graphically it’s nothing special, although it is ‘funny’ to shoot people with a rocket launcher and watch as their limbs go flying… You have to wonder what the developers were thinking, other than “we’ll show you!” to the ‘authorities’. 🙂

More: Narc on Wikipedia

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