Tim Youngblood   |   May 08, 2018

Can Mobile Games Actually Help Cannabis Growers?

How sophisticated are cannabis farming simulator games for mobile devices? Depends on which games you're playing.
Tim is a technology journalist and was an editor for All About Circuits. His specialty as a historian at Boise State University was cannabis legislation. His favorite things to write and nerd out about are experimental technology, single…

How sophisticated are cannabis farming simulator games for mobile devices? Depends on which games you're playing.

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a lot of ads for cannabis-related video games popping up on app stores. I like to fancy myself as a connoisseur of cannabis and video games, so I thought it was time for me to check some out. The results were varied along the lines of what I like to call the “video game simulator progression”. Whenever a new sport or hobby is made into a simulation-type video game, it usually takes a few years of various releases in order to become something that will actually help people improve their skills at the real activity.

The most common examples that come to mind are driving simulators and football games. Older games like Pole Position or Techmo Bowl aren’t going to make you a better driver or football coach, but they were some of the first of their kind, which laid the foundation for more useful simulators like Gran Turismo and the newer Madden NFL games. In Regards to the Madden games, they’re so sophisticated now, that even professional football players credit it for helping them understand play design concepts better. In fact, retired quarterback Tony Romo played Madden to prepare for his new gig as an announcer!

If we examine the state of cannabis farming video games, we’ll find games ranging from simplistic freemium apps that are lazy knock-offs of Farmville to some games that are approaching that Gran Turismo level.

 

Novelty Cannabis “Farming” Games

I feel dirty even calling them that, a more accurate assessment would be “soulless cash grab” games. Although they aren’t technically “freemium”, these games consist of repetitive actions that occasionally display ads during gameplay, and of course, there are in-game purchases. The weed puns aren’t even funny because the developers’ English is quite bad.

 

An actual Screenshot from “New Weed Farming Simulator 3D… yes, those are indeed “trees”...

 

Two titles from this category are gems like “Weed Farming Game 2018” and “New Weed Farming Simulator 3D.” I could spend more time roasting these games, but I recommend seeing them for yourself.

 

Interesting Games, But Won’t Teach Any Practical Skills

These games are at least playable and focus on cannabis but they aren’t really simulators. The games I looked into were “Weed Shop The Game” and “Weed Firm 2: Back to College”. You’ve probably noticed that each game has “weed” in the title, which if I had to guess, is the most popular cannabis-related keyword in mobile app stores.

 

Weed Firm 2 might not have much practical knowledge but at least there’s a plot and some good puns.

 

“Weed Shop The Game” is a Sims-like game where players run a dispensary and can work their way up to higher quality strains and new decor for their shop. I didn’t get to play the game enough to notice any useful information about running an actual dispensary.

Weed Firm 2: Back to College” is a wacky adventure with some Grand Theft Auto styling where you play as a young dealer getting into the game of illegal dealing and shenanigans ensue. Not much to learn unless you plan on dealing 8ths to college students, but a lot more love went into this game than those Farmville clones.

 

The Best Cannabis Growing Simulator To Date

There was one game that gives me hope for the future of growth simulators. SimLeaf, which was developed by growers, may not be on the Gran Turismo level yet, but it serves as a proof of concept for complex growth simulators on mobile devices.

 

SimLeaf tracks an impressive number of variables.

 

SimLeaf is referred to sometimes as the Tamagotchi of cannabis apps, and after playing it, I can see why. Your plants tend to be needy and you spend most of your time taking care of it some way or another. This app has a lot more variables than a simple pet or farm simulator. In fact, the amount of variables that goes into a single plant is surprisingly comprehensive. Most of these are things professional growers already know, but somebody setting up their first indoor grow can actually learn a lot from this game.

SimLeaf is a great start to helpful simulators, but there are some features I’d like to see in updates to SimLeaf or in new simulators. Hopefully, the next phase of cannabis farming games is to have larger simulated facilities (industrial scale) and accompanying software to measure and compare how the results of their real-life grow at various phases. At some point, I imagine simulators will move from mobile apps to something between a video game and enterprise software. If somebody can develop a comprehensive simulator that can help determine upcoming logistical hurdles for industrial growers, they will make a lot of money.

If there are any interesting cannabis farming simulators that I left out, let me know in the comments so I can check them out!  

 

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