One overlooked series in relation to drug culture, despite its evocative style, is the Wipeout series by developer Psygnosis. The Wipeout games—and in particular Wipeout 3, the high point of the franchise with its original art by The Designers Republic studio prior to their departure from subsequent games—engage with drugs allegorically in their lush visual style and relationship to electronic music and the broader 1990s rave culture in the United Kingdom. In short, the Wipeout games are ecstasy games. The series’ stylized title as printed on the box art, wipE’out”, is commonly believed to allude to the slang “E” of ecstasy. Indeed, in the insightful retrospective of Psygnosis by Eurogamer, Psygnosis artist Neil Thompson acknowledges the interpretation that the title refers to ecstasy as “absolutely intentional, obviously.” Conversely, Wipeout developer Nick Burcombe leaves it ambiguous, countering that “It was just the way that font had been designed” and that the drug reference “was not my understanding of it at all.”
Read the full column at Haywire Magazine.