Meth Project’s Mugshot Match-Up

This game is by no means fun. However, it drew my attention when looking at the list of new games on In my marketing class last semester we studied the Meth Project and its marketing efforts in great detail. So, my attraction to this game may be due to my familiarity with the company and its efforts to spread awareness of meth use across the US.

Mugshot match-up takes a new stance on the classic memory game. Rather than starting with all cards face down, meth match-up presents two columns. In the first, a card is turned up with a person’s face on it. To the right is another column featuring a group of 11 cards. Each card in the group holds a face of a meth user. The goal is to match the card on the left with the same face after the person uses meth (one of the cards on the right). There is no limit on the number of guesses allowed and once you match each card, you are asked to guess how long the transformation took. The game ends once each person has been matched with his or her meth picture.

The images are extremely graphic and are clearly trying to prove a point. In this quick game, the more severe the graphics become, the better the message gets across. With such intense images, the Meth Project can get straight to the fear tactics used to scare people out of meth-use. Without intense visuals, the message may lessen in severity and fail to prove its point to the audience. The game play is simple; all the player has to do is click on the picture that matches the non-drug user shown before them. Because of its simplicity, the player gets a thorough understanding of the game’s point.

I think this is an interesting game to discuss in the blog. We have yet to include a game that was made for education. The game itself is simply a medium through which a much larger message can be relayed to an audience. Entertainment is not a part of the game whatsoever. In mugshot match-up, the goal is to show people what happens when they become addicted to methamphetamines. It is not meant to be addicting or fun on any level. I think the Meth Project does a great job promoting anti-drug messages and this game seems to be just another way for them to reach a wider audience and get their point across.

Do you guys think this works? Can video games like this make a difference and prevent drug use in the future?

Here’s a link to try the game…



  1. MrWesley said:

    I definitely think the game achieves its goal and agree that it relays a strong message about the dangers of using methamphetamines. While I completely agree that the images can be fear tactics to scare people away from drug abuse, I was more sad than scared. The speed at which they had deteriorated and (presumably) lost control of their lives was tragic. I think that this emotional response is another deliberate attempt by the creators of the game to keep people off drugs. By allowing the player to see what the people looked like before they were drug users, we can better relate to them, making the game more effective by strengthening our connection with the people we are seeing. Connecting with the images of the people before they were meth addicts also reinforces the idea that this could happen to you, again driving home their message of avoiding methamphetamines.

  2. Micah Kantrowitz said:

    I think this is a very informational and effective game. Still, I am not sure if the game will achieve your desire to prevent drug use. I agree with MrWesley when he says that we can relate more to the users and feel sadness at their deterioration and their spiral. Yet, I truthfully think it is impossible to completely prevent drug use. With that being said though, if the game saves even one life, the game has accomplished a feat that we all should be proud of. Drug use, and specifically methamphetamines, are extremely scary. The pictures only further drives home this idea. Maybe this is the future of games? I hope that more come out that help society at large.

  3. jrtuc said:

    I believe that video games have a chance of preventing drug use. However, I also feel that the addiction of games may be what gets through to people. Most people learn through constantly having things put in their heads. I agree that the game demonstrates the danger of drugs and could potentially scare others of using drugs, but i also don’t believe enough people plays these games for them to make a difference. Every aspect of the game successfully shows why you should not do drugs, but I don’t think that enough people are attracted to these games for them to truly be successful.

  4. lpsmit said:

    Wow! I have never heard of this game, until now, and I believe that the message that the games’ maker is trying to express is inspiring. Drugs are a huge problem in our society today, especially among children/teens, and this is one way of address this issue. I believe that the creators of this game are trying to send the message that “this is what drugs can do to you.” The pictures used in the game are crazy and certainly make the game very affective. For me, playing this game certainly confirmed part of my reasoning for not wanting to do drugs. The message in this game is definitely clear.

  5. aishamalek said:

    I do feel that this game’s use of graphic images does make its message ring loud and clear. It employs the use of shock value to display just one of the many facets of meth’s destructive qualities. I felt that the makers of this game took a very simplistic approach to conveying their message, though. By just focusing on what meth does to a person’s face, I feel like they fail to fully educate the player on the effects of methamphetamines. However, the sheer disbelief that I felt when seeing some of the “after” mug-shots did make me feel that this game would be effective in reinforcing anti-meth attitudes. The only limitation that a game like this would have, in terms of actually having a noticeable impact on drug use, is that it can only persuade people who actually play the game. When we talked about propaganda games in class, it seemed like most of us felt that the audience for these types of game is somewhat narrow. Ultimately, though, this game does succeed in portraying meth negatively.
    Another thing I noticed about the game was that the majority of mug shots were of women. I wonder if this is because more women tend to be arrested for meth possession, or if the differences in their appearances tend to be more drastic.

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