August 15, 2011

Alcohol: The Real Gamer Fuel

For me, drinking and video games go hand in hand on a Friday and Saturday night.  We've all done it at some point.  It starts as a seed in our younger years when we drink juice boxes before the next level of Sonic loads up.  We graduate later in life to sodas and Soft-n-Chewy Chips Ahoy before taking on that next passenger in Crazy Taxi.  Then it blossoms from the sugar high to the adult beverage.

So as an “adult” (I use that term loosely when referring to myself) we carry the torch into alcoholic beverages; mixing them in with our next-gen video games.  Drinking and gaming can be fun, or it can totally fuck up your game save forever.

Here are a few tips to help you stay up late and get your game on:

1.  Drink in moderation when playing video games.

We all know the “Drink in moderation” speech.  We’ve heard it time and time again in health class and from everyone bigger than us.  Previously it’s referred to any type of drinking out in public or if you need to get home from a friend’s party.  Never drink and drive folks (I am under contractual obligations by MADD to say this).  For video game drinking on the other hand, you’re already at home, and you’re no more than a few feet away from the nearest bathroom or puke receptacle.  The problem is, most people only do one or the other:  drink or game.  I'm here to tell you that you can in fact do both.

There is a fine line that you must tread to accomplish both, and when the alcohol starts a flowin’, that line gets harder and harder to walk (funny pun intended).  You don’t want alcohol to stand in the way of figuring out that combo move or solving that pesky puzzle, but you also don’t want to just drink one beer in the course of a four hour gaming session you fucking pussy.  You want the alcohol to add to the experience, not take it over.

Imagine for a second that one of your buddies came over naked and put you in a headlock while you’re trying to play a video game.  You’re head is mere inches away from his cock as it flops up to meet your face.  That wouldn’t be very fun now would it?  In my analogy, you’re friend is the alcohol and that’s what will happen when you tread too far into the drinking zone:  I will show up stark fucking naked and wrestle with you (not gay).  Try to pace yourself and drink a 24 ounce beer or two and chase that with about a half a glass of water as you game. That's a good mix.

2. Choose your game(s) to play wisely.

Nobody in their right mind wants to suffer through a game on Veteran or Hardcore when you’re sober for very long, so why would you want to subject your brain with even more limited patience to that when your nice and toasty? Drunk rage anyone?  I’ve seen it happen; on Cops, with a wife-beater, and it usually ended with someone getting tazed.

Start off with something difficult at the very beginning of the night if you must, but as the night wears on your patience - as well as your stash of beer - will start to dwindle if you are stuck doing the same thing over and over again.

Take into consideration the people around you (if there are any).  Some people like to drink alone, but if there are people crowded around the TV watching your character’s every move, they definitely don’t want to sit around watching you play through a single player campaign, possibly stuck on the same boss or map for 2 hours.  They want to play the game too.  Break out party games like Rock Band or Mario Party.  Get the competitive juices flowing with co-operative games like a 4-person Castle Crashers game or Left 4 Dead. Find video games that you will all enjoy playing but will also give you somewhat of a challenge.  Who knows, maybe you can finally beat that head boss with a little “bravery gravy” in you?  You never know!

Find that you’re getting more and more frustrated?  Pop in a game that you don’t have to pay attention to every second that you’re playing it.  This will help out with drinking beer to calm the nerves.  More beer equals calmer nerves.  It’s scientific fact.  Just don’t be that guy pounding a beer in Left 4 Dead or Borderlands when all of sudden there is a mad rush and your character goes limp-dick on everyone as the other players get their asses handed to them.  Be a quality team player in games, but if you see an opportunity to take a drink, by all means, drink away my friend.

3.  Make sure you’ve got enough of the goods (i.e. beer and food).

Go ahead and plan your night for the worst.  Order food ahead of time before you get shit-faced.  This way you won’t wake up in the morning to a shitload of rotting, spoiling food sitting around your house stinking up the place attracting neighborhood woodland creatures.  Plus, you don’t want to find some randomly weird concoctions you thought were awesome while drunk laying around.  Sour cream and marshmallows?  Doritos and spaghetti sauce?  They might taste awesome when your drunk, but after they have been sitting out in the heat for 9 hours they are no bueno.

As a rule, I usually order in something easy like pizza/wings or Chinese food, but you can also pick up something on the way home from work - anything too outside of that realm and it could get really messy if you have too much to eat (if you know what I mean).

It’s also a good idea to have a mid-gaming snack, and both of those items I previously mentioned are great for leftovers (the pizza and Chinese, NOT the other two).

3A.  Have the right amount of beer people.

I can’t stress this enough if you are going to be drinking and gaming.  You don’t want to be feeling good mid-stride and run out do you?  Don’t be that guy that gets into his gaming rhythm only to go to the fridge one more time and has to cut the night short because he doesn’t have any more beer left.  I personally like going to bed a little buzzed, so staying up 3 hours after my last beer just makes me feel all crusty inside or something.  Like the beer caramelized inside my body and I feel weird.  This brings me to my next point.

3B. Don’t get desperate and go for the damn wine coolers.

Seriously!? Wine. Fucking. Coolers?  Are you fucking retarded?  This is what you’ve resorted to keep your gaming session going?  No.  Absolutely not dude.  If you grab one, think about it or do it, you are borderline alcoholic, and need to go see a therapist or sit in on an AA meeting.  I should throw your console in the street and piss on it.  Keep it simple and keep the good beer for the beginning with your meal (when you can taste it), and then slowly switch over to the cheaper stuff when you don’t feel anything anymore on your taste buds.

4.  Be smart about interweaving your drinking with your gaming.

Like I previously stated, it’s a fine line to drink and game.  On one hand you can pound those puppies down to get fucked up while gaming, or you can sip away like a connoisseur with a fine glass of wine.  If you want to go for the long haul, make sure you are in between those two options I just mentioned.  You don’t want to just pound down beers.  Hell, you can do that any old night and watch shitty Sci-Fi movies if you want to.  You’re drinking to game here, so you want to do both.

Loading screens, level introductions, and pre-rendered cut scenes are absolutely perfect to get a drink or a shot in.  I call these parts “mini-movies”.  (side note: Watch out if you’re playing Metal Gear Solid 4 – those I just call "movies" - as this game features some of the longest cut scenes known to man. You’ll be headed to the bathroom to puke before you actually take control of Snake.)

5.  Clean up after you’re done.

So you’ve paced yourself, ate some good food, and got your game on for most of the night.  Now it’s time to clean up and head off to bed.  Now don’t sell this tip short, this part is pivotal to the drinking experience.  You don’t want to wake up the next day and wonder who had a weird midget orgy in your place with Chinese food as lubricant do you?  Put the leftovers away in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow, clean up all of the cans/bottles you can find, and put away all of your gaming controllers, racing wheels and headsets because you’re more than likely going to be sleeping for a long time (if you did it right).

It’s best to go ahead and get this chore done so you can enjoy more nighttime slumber and not have to worry about it the next day when you’re hung over.  Nobody likes to clean while dry heaving over a bucket.  Bitchy girlfriends or bitchy wives waking you up too early in the morning because you missed something is not good at all.  Clean up after yourself and prepare so you can get more sleep and you’ll be ready for the next night of drunken gaming.

Any rituals you guys do when you’re drinking and video gaming?  Got any cool video game themed drinking games?