The Toxic, Psychedelic Drug Behind Sony’s Newest Game

The Toxic, Psychedelic Drug Behind Sony’s Newest Game

People do recreational drugs for a lot of reasons: addiction, boredom, energy, depression, relaxation. But there are just some drugs that no person would ever want to do, drugs that are outright unpleasant and dangerous.

Datura is one of those drugs. It is also the name of Sony’s latest Playstation Move title.

What Datura Is

Datura is a genus of flowering weeds in the Solanaceae family of plants. That’s the same family that includes tobacco, potatoes and deadly nightshade. Datura contains Scopolamine, Hyoscyamine and Atropine, powerful chemicals that at low, controlled doses have medical uses for symptoms such as nausea, but which have lethal and psychoactive effects at higher levels.

Why It’s A Nasty Drug

Datura is in a classification of drugs known as “Deleriants”. Unlike “classical” hallucinogens like LSD or Magic Mushrooms or dissociatives such as PCP and Ketamine, Datura can bring about a confused fugue state, a waking dream where you are unaware that you’re actually hallucinating. Users report smoking cigarettes that aren’t actually there, having conversations with parties not present, stripping naked and extreme fear reactions.

The whole experience is apparently not at all pleasant and frequently ends with the users either being arrested, hospitalised or both. One need only go to the “Experience Vaults” of, a popular destination for drug culture and information, to see the reactions:

“Stay the f**k away from it. And if you do decide to try it, even after reading this report, and or countless other train wreck experiences.. Then you are as f**king dumb as I am.” user “Mushroomagic”


Aside from making the user delirious, the chemicals in Datura can also induce auditory hallucinations, cause amnesia, induce pupil dilation (causing functional blindness for a few days), and, at large doses, can cause heart attacks.

Datura has a long history of ritualistic use. In his bestselling book The Serpent and the Rainbow, anthropologist Wade Davis claimed that the main ingredients in the long-secret Haitian zombie potion were actually a combination of Datura stramonium and Tetrodotoxin, a poison found in puffer-fish that brings about a death-like state. What’s more, Datura and it’s cousins Mandrake, Henbane and Nightshade were all traditional ingredients in medieval witches brews.

It is also worth noting that Datura is in no way illegal to possess. You might have seen it growing in your grandmother’s garden. It’s completely legal to grow, cultivate and consume on a federal level.

The reasons why only the foolish do should be self-evident.

A Dark Drug’s Video Game Connection

In our play-through of an early build of the PlayStation 3 game Datura, we began with the main character in the back of an ambulance, flat-lining. Blearily, you pull the EKG leads off of your chest. The doctor applies a defibrillator to you, and you black out. The game then quotes a famous passage from the opening passage of Dante’s Inferno:

In the middle of our life’s walk,

I found myself in a dark woods,

for the straight road was lost.

Like Dante, you wander through the woods. You touch Birch trees to gain their knowledge. The forest floor is littered with Datura flowers. Eventually you pass through a gate and see a pig, and the game lets you throw potatoes at him from a nearby barrel. He runs away from you, disappearing down a Briar Patch. You follow.

The game cuts to you driving a car through the woods in the dead of night. You hit a pig and the car veers off course. Another car rams into you. You wake up in the woods again.

Michal Staniszewski, the director of the game at Plastic Studios, has said that he wanted to “Pose a question to the player — what happens when you die?” and that the game is “more for you to interpret. It’s more personal”.

Given that Datura intoxication can lead to hospitalizations, uncontrolled and reckless behaviour, visions inseparable from reality, amnesia and cardiac failure, perhaps Datura (the game) is not being symbolic at all with its title. Perhaps Datura is actually a video game about a drug-addled trip gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Of course, that’s just my interpretation. Given what we know about the game — that it is a game about death and dying — this first-hand account of Datura intoxication does seem oddly appropriate:

“I was dead. This was hell. There were no demons, no hellfire or brimstone, just a deep, complete feeling of darkness and hopelessness. This was the never-ending void. Not at all how I had imagined it, but worse than I thought that it could have been.”

-Erowid user “Tek22”, on Datura.


  • They should do a game on DMT. No wait, Dyad’s already coming out lol. But this sounds interesting..

    • Two more things Chris, some also do drugs for the self discovery, and a psychedelic and a deliriant are two different things, so best not to mislead people as psychedelics contain some of the safest chemicals known to man. No hate though you’ve touched my sense of curiosity.

      • yeah dont you just love it when you work in a youthgroup helping kids of drugs and you spent your life growing up and losing friends to it only to have those people go

        Oh theres nothing wrong with weed theres just a conspiracy against it because the goverment doesnt profit.

        Oh theres nothing wrong with shrooms its all about self discovery.

        Coke is allright some people just cant handle it.

        When they meet people who have been crippled by these drugs…. the response is usually ‘oh well it discovered underlying health conditions, that doesnt mean the drug was bad’.

        I’ve got enough people i’ve lost just due to weed causing psychosis and a guy who freaks out and cant even have sex anymore due to psychadelics (its a trip chemical it affects the wiring of the brain).

        Have never met a REAL doctor or one that wasnt a stoner at uni who has stoon up in favour of these drugs.

          • back up what your saying, find a decent doctor who has ever had any professional dealings with the Australian Defence Force or any Australian Police force.

            Case closed.

          • The burden of proof is on the individual who states the claim.
            If drugs are really as bad as you state, maybe you should backup what your saying with facts.
            Subjective opinion is not fact.

        • There’s nothing wrong with drugs.
          The problem is when people take them when they shouldn’t.

          Sometimes they know enough information to make an informed responsible decisions and sometimes they don’t. Educating drug users about effects whether good or bad will help a user decide if they want to do it or not and will help them make the responsible decision.

          Obviously not everyone should do drugs but you should at the least have an opportunity to make the (informed) decision for yourself. Meth might be considered a terrible drug but like it or not someone out there is using it responsibly.

          I have met ‘real’ doctors who said they have smoked marijuana, although it’s meaningless because arguing from authority is fallible.

          No one should blindly stand up in favour of drugs for no reason, just as you shouldn’t blindly persecute drugs for the actions of their users.

          As a drug user I have already decided I will not be using Datura.
          I based this decision on facts, I didn’t just blindly say no because ‘drugs are bad’.

          • go to a rehab clinic. Not one of those bs ones you hear about on TV. Im talking about a real one.

            You will find it down at your local youth center, church or whatever place raised enough money to help people.

            Go and try and tell this to the councillors and volunteer doctors who try to get people off substance.

            Saying that drugs arent bad, go and try some gear, try acid, pills.

            The funny thing is you end up telling these people who help people get off this stuff and repair their lives…. the same crap your talking now.

          • Acid (LSD) is one of the safest drugs around and 100% non addictive, do your research. Long term pot use may aggravate depressive states or preexisting underlying mental
            Illness but I find it hard to believe it being the cause of the addiction and psychosis you mention.

          • I have done more drugs that I can be bothered listing, including LSD and MDMA which you eluded to.
            I also know people who have died from overdoses, either accidentally or from being irresponsible.
            Drugs are neither good or bad. It’s how you use them if at all.

            Everyone does drugs. Got a headache? Take an aspirin. Doesn’t mean you’re addicted though, does it?

            By the way, try googling ‘Argument from authority’
            Just because you’re a doctor doesn’t mean you are %100 factually correct.

  • Very dangerous drug this one… Research shows that it kills some synapsis which take a long time to repair. Stay away! (there are much safer hullocinogens about)

  • That website is like the Wikipedia of drug experiences. I seem to have lost two hours and I have 10 tabs open.

  • Hey, I remember taking Sacred Datura Root in the Honest Hearts expansion to Fallout: New Vegas. Take drugs, fight a bear!

  • I knew a few guys who tried Datura. Both ended up getting arrested and then being taken to hospital.

    Both said they would NEVER EVER try it again. One of them’s dead now.

    Be careful with drugs.

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