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Sofia Staab-Gulbenkian

“Junk” is game based on William S. Burrough’s essay “Deposition: Testimony Concerning a Sickness”, which compares drug use to capitalism. Four players take the role of heroin addicts attempting to save money; their opponent is the Capitalist, who controls the bank. Each addict must maintain a high, represented by an orange figure perched atop a servo-powered chamber. The figure slowly descends over time – if it hits the ground, the player is dead and loses the game. Addicts can use “drug” cards to inject into their bodies and elevate higher, staving off death. The goal of the game is for the addicts to save enough money to purchase a cure and overthrow their addiction – however, the Capitalist’s goal is to keep the addicts’ funds low so that they are forced to continue injecting drugs until they die from injuries represented on their Body cards. After a certain number of injections, the addict can no longer use particular kinds of heroin derivatives, increasing their need for specific drugs and allowing the capitalist the opportunity to charge them higher and higher prices. The capitalist wins if all drug addicts die or leave the game, marking their victory with a high score, while the addicts only win if all of them escape their habit and leave the Capitalist with no source of revenue, thus overthrowing the Capitalist entirely.

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