Sawbuck Gamer

Let’s Get Draked

Getting high is just the beginning in The Duck Game.

By Derrick Sanskrit • May 1, 2013

Sawbuck gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

People will do some weird things to get lifted. James Kochalka, Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont, once did a comic strip about rubbing antiperspirant on the soles of his feet in order to induce flu-like symptoms for a cheap high, and the most recent episode of his Superf*ckers cartoon featured a character slamming his head in a door repeatedly for a cheap high. James Cox III’s The Duck Game takes this after-school cautionary tale to one possible—yet equally nonsensical—extreme: high-by-duck.

Your character keeps a live mallard in his closet, a shameful secret tucked out of sight, sneaking the fowl out whenever he’s jonesing for a fix. A narrative experience akin to Jason Rohrer’s Passage, The Duck Game explores themes of substance abuse and addiction, only with a drake in place of heroin or cocaine. The player is lifted to a higher plane of existence, filled with bright colors and happy ducklings who help him fly. It’s a rush, for sure, and one that anybody would be tempted to repeat. Like the luster on a young mallard’s coat, though, the shimmering beauty cannot last, and players steadily descend into the second act of Reefer Madness. You lose your ability to fly, for instance, and come face-to-face with a hallucinatory representation of your nerve receptors permanently damaged by heroin abuse—I mean duck abuse.

You can quit any time you want, of course, and your character even keeps telling himself as much, but we all know that quitting a game is often easier said than done. After all, we have four seasons and a movie of Ducktales plus three seasons of Darkwing Duck as proof of how addictive mallards can be on our supple impressionable minds.

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7 Responses to “Let’s Get Draked”

  1.  Darkwing Duck and Ducktales are fantastic and could be considered crack cocaine indeed.

  2. ProfessorFarnsworth says:

    Ah…yes this must be why grown men would watch Daffy and Donald beat the living daylights out of each other, to get the edge off for the next act of good old fashion pornography.  Good times.

  3. Calvin Holt says:

    Now I’ve got an itch for some quack cocaine. Thanks a lot, Derrick.