Driving games usually steer clear of controversy, but there are some exceptions. In the 1990s, Carmageddon courted controversy for its violent gameplay involving running over pedestrians (or zombies spilling green blood in the censored UK version) for points.
Now, a drink-driving simulator game has been removed from the Nintendo Switch eShop after it was sold with a PEGI 3+ rating.
What is Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive Simulator?
As reported by Eurogamer, Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive Simulator (see what they did there?) was initially released on Steam in 2018 and Epic Games earlier this year.
Its gameplay sees you play as a "hapless professional driver tasked with delivering alcoholic beverages to various celebrations, all while battling the perils of abysmal roads and your very own addiction to the booze you're transporting,” according to the game store listing. Yes, this really exists.
Simulating the effects of drunk driving, the screen shakes and blurs as you drive, much like in Grand Theft Auto V if you drive while intoxicated in Los Santos.
Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive Simulator pulled from sale
While it doesn’t have an age rating on Steam, Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive Simulator is rated PEGI 16 on the Epic Game Store for its use of alcohol and tobacco. It was rated PEGI 3 on the Switch eSHop, suggesting it’s suitable for all ages. However, a game that "refers to or depicts the use of illegal drugs, alcohol or tobacco" must be labelled as PEGI 16 or PEGI 18.
As a result, Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive Simulator is under investigation by PEGI. It’s delisted on the Switch eShop, but it remains to be seen if it will be resubmitted with a more suitable age rating.
"When an investigation shows that the PEGI rating changes by more than one age category, the game is taken down and Nintendo requires that the game is resubmitted with an accurate rating (to ensure their parental control tools work properly)," a PEGI spokesperson told Eurogamer.
Even though the tongue-in-cheek game is described as “a parody that absolutely does not encourage drunk driving in real life” Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive clearly isn’t suitable for younger players. It’s baffling that a drink-driving game was allowed to be sold on the family-friendly Switch.
Sadly, Nintendo’s eShop is known for poor quality control and is clogged with shameful shovelware like this. If you’re looking for a Switch game to satisfy your need for speed, there are far better options from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe to FAST RMX.
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