A History of Games Released on 4/20

Two of the biggest gaming releases of 2018 fall on the international day of cannabis culture celebration this year: 4/20. Sony Santa Monica’s critically acclaimed reboot of God of War and Nintendo’s innovative cardboard toy peripheral Labo both debut today, which leads me to ask some very important and pressing questions: Does being high increase purchasing decisions? Is there a strong correlation between weed enthusiasts and God of War fans? Or is April 20th also a Friday and games usually release on Fridays and yeah it’s probably just that (although I bet a lot of God of War fans smoke).

So what other games have released on this holy day of Mary Jane? Is there any correlation between lighting up and dropping money on games? You probably don’t know and you might not care but I wrote this article anyway. Let’s start with the games:

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light in Japan (Famicom) – 4/20/1990


Japan has never had progressive cannabis laws. If you’re caught with even 1/2 a gram you could spend up to 5 years in prison. But Japan has been at the forefront of the RPG genre with massive franchises like the Fire Emblem series. While it wasn’t anywhere near as popular in the 90s as it is now, its tactical role-playing formula and expansive fantasy stories all began with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. I don’t know how many people took the huge risk to blaze it that day but I’m betting it didn’t help them to tackle this challenging turn-based strategy game.

Barbie Fashion Designer (Win) – 4/20/1996


I’m assuming this one is more enjoyable while high, but if there was a targeted release on 4/20 I seriously question their decision to go after young children. Barbie Fashion Designer lets players “actually create totally new outfits for your Barbie doll using a software to edit the clothes and then printing them to actual fabric, supplied along with the game.” That sounds like, really cool man. We should try it.

Hitman: Contracts (Win, PS2, Xbox) – 4/20/2004


Another series I associate with weed culture, Hitman completely missed the mark by not playing on the “take a hit” pun in the marketing. Extremely disappointing, just like the game…

WWE Wrestlemania 21 – 4/20/2005


Oh fuck yeah this one has weed written all over it. In fact, the other “W” in “WWE” actually stands for “weed”, a little-known fact (the first being “wrestling” of course). I absolutely believe this was intentional, thousands of gamers must’ve swung by their dealer after hitting up their game store on this glorious day of gaming and blazing.

Mother 3 in Japan (GBA) – 4/20/2006


It’s just sad smoking in Japan is so risky because it would be guaranteed to make this already trippy game that much more exciting. Picking up the doorknob later in the game after it fell off in chapter one would absolutely mess with someone who’s high. It messed with people not high. Sort yourselves out, Japan, or at least bring it to the West so people can try it high without risk of serious jail time.

Dr. Mario Express (DSiWare) – 4/20/2009


Dr. Mario would probably be one of those cool doctors who would slip you a prescription for marijuana even if you didn’t really need it. The man huffs mushrooms after all. He’d be chill. I doubt that had anything to do with the game’s release date though…

Monster Hunter Tri in North America (Wii) – 4/20/2010


See now unlike all these other Japanese developed games they specifically picked this date for the North America release. They purposefully picked this date to coincide with weed consumption in a ploy to increase sales! No, I’m probably overthinking this. None the less, I bet cooking up some dope while cooking up some monster parts would be a good time.

Slow Down, Bull (Win) – 4/20/2015


This weird little experimental indie game released on Steam by Ratchet & Clank designers Insomniac Games is a bit of a mystery to me. It wasn’t a Tuesday or Friday, the usual game release days. It was a Monday, a rough day to launch a game none the less get blazed. Maybe that was their reason, give people something to do that night. The only way to know for sure is to ask the source, so stay tuned for my interview with Insomniac Games on that point exactly.

Nintendo Labo (Switch) – 4/20/2018


Playing with a bunch of cardboard and messing around with vibrating controllers and joycon sensors just sounds like something a player would do high without Labo, so I hope this is intentional. Some of these kits involve rolling cardboard which is a form of paper, it must be intentional. But that’s just a theory. A dank theory.

God of War (PS4) – 4/20/2018

19- god of war

When I think of someone playing God of War my imagination just places them in a bean bag chair next to a bong by default. How cool would it be to sit in on the marketing meeting and go “So we’re planning to launch April 20th 4/20 this year eyyyy” and have everyone else in the room go “EYYYY” I mean that had to be it.

So those are the games of 4/20 history. I’m not seeing any patterns or correlation, I did learn what a bunch about Japan’s horrendous weed laws but that’s for another article.

What do you think? Some grand conspiracy? Playing into stoner players’ deep desires to sell games? I’d love to know what you think in the comments.

I’ll be picking up God of War today (but no weed), so I’ll let you know what I think of that ASAP and you can view my impressions in real time over at my Twitter. Thanks for reading!


  1. Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any method you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks!


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