Game & Drink Pairings for the Discerning to Degenerate Gamer 

A couple weeks ago, I posted a blog for the first time since taking a hiatus. I’m not going to rehash this, but if you want to know why I was out, you may read about here. As with most of blogs, my wife likes to read them as well. It’s not that she finds them incredibly interesting or witty but rather she is checking my grammar and writing ability, since she fancies herself an English teacher. (Fun Fact: she’s an English teacher) 

So last week, after she told me that she read my latest blog and I asked her what she thought, she said that it was a bit more serious and somber than my usual posts and it seemed like I wasn’t trying to be funny and stupid. 

She was right. My last post was a bit of a serious entry and a departure from my normal writing style. Some may have been turned off by it. It’s like going to a heavy metal concert and the band decides to play a power ballad or some lame ass shit and everyone decides it’s a good time to go take a piss and grab another beer. 

Speaking of beer… 

Back in college, I had this amazing history professor. I remember the first day of class when I met him. He looked like your stereotypical history professor, right down to the tweed jacket with suade elbow pads.  

As professors invariably do on the first day of class, all he covered was the semester ground rules and the syllabus. He ended the class by saying that we were going to have fun, and history was great, but not as great as Guinness and that the dark stout was proof that there is a god and he loved us. 

Okay, so he was a horrible professor and probably an alcoholic, but it was the easiest ‘A’ in history I ever received. He was also a nice guy and I would bump into him every once and awhile at a bar by school. HUGE SURPRISE! 

So, it was right around this time in my life that I learned that imbibing in a merry brew or other assorted potent potable could be more about just getting black out drunk. An alcoholic beverage or two (or five) could be savored and paired with other things, enhancing the experience. 

For example, sipping a fine whiskey and smoking a cigar is pretty nice and not douchey at all! I can drink wine and eat cheese, olives, cured meats, and bread all day long, every day. Want a little advice, drizzle some honey on the cheese and shove that right in your face—you will not be disappointed.  

I even started drinking beer for the taste and to enjoy the craftmanship that went into the brewing process. Look at me! I have become so civilized. 

Given that life has become so busy now with two children in the house, I have found myself having to multitask the things I love. A cold beer or a stiff drink helps me to unwind after a long day as does a gaming session. Combining the two should be a match made in heaven as far as I’m concerned.  

However, some games pair better with certain drinks. For example, one wouldn’t drink a cabernet sauvignon with beluga caviar, unless he was some kind of CAVEMAN. We are civilized people here after all. 

So, for my totally unscientific and completely arbitrary study, I looked at some of the games I’ve been playing for approximately the past 12 months and paired them with the drinks that I feel make the most sense. To top off each entry, I will then regale you with an anecdote from my past where I drank too much of said drink, making a complete fool out of myself or perhaps experienced something whimsy. 

So, in not any particular order… PROST! 

Titanfall 2  Guinness 

Titanfall is a fine title, with a surprisingly good single player campaign, with a deep, satisfying, and balanced multiplayer. Whenever I’m in the mood for multiplayer, this is the title I turn to. 

Guinness, as it turns out, is always the drink that I return to as well. Beer is my drink of choice and I drink a lot of it. I’m not shy when it comes to trying new brands, because variety is the spice of life. With that said, there’s something comforting about Guinness. It’s a good standby that never disappoints, much like Titanfall 2. 

Back in my college days, I would visit a close friend who attended a different school up state. He was friendly with the rugby team and every year I was invited up to a big fund-raising bash where they would serve $3 pints of Guinness. However, since my buddy was close with the team, we didn’t pay a dime and got to drink as much as we wanted. What could possibly go wrong with that scenario? 

We started drinking promptly at noon and in a flash, we were having a good time. Eventually a pretty girl caught my eye and we struck up a conversation. Maybe there was a smooch or two at some point and she invited me outside for a smoke. Things were starting to get… interesting. 

I followed her out and she handed me her pack of cigarettes and a lighter. I lit two cigarettes up at once and handed her one, because I was cool and shit, and we continued the conversation. Then, in mid conversation, while we were standing in the middle of a parking lot, she reaches up under her skirt, drops down her panties, squats down and proceeds to take a piss, right in front of me. 

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” I asked, clearly appalled.  

“Uh, peeing.” The girl nonchalantly slurred. 

I backed away and went back into the bar. Found my friend and told him we had to leave right, fucking, now. 

For the rest of the weekend, I was known as the guy who hooked up with the parking lot pisser. 

Madden NFL 18 – $3.00 40 oz. can of Bud Light from a NYC Pharmacy 

I used to play a lot of Madden football back in the day. It was almost like a signaling of the gaming season restarting after a summer off. The release of a new Madden meant that fun new games would be coming out soon and playing mindless video game FOOTBAAAAAW was a perfect primer to get back into playing regularly. Then I realized how mediocre these games were and took a 5-year pass on the series. 

I took a shot at the series again this year to play the Longshot story mode. While it was surprisingly fun and added a little something different, a part of me still feels like the title was not worth $60 I paid for it. 

The problem with NFL Madden 18, and all the previous titles before it, is that the franchise is hopelessly average, and this is coming from someone who is a football fan. The changes that come out year after year are so evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, that it is hard to get excited about it.  

With that said, people continue to buy this title year after year, so this franchise will never go away. There can be a thermonuclear war that wipes out civilization and EA will still find a way to release a new Madden. The only things that will be left are Twinkies, cockroaches, and new copies of Madden every year. MARK MY WORDS! 

In a way, Bud Light, which is the most blatantly mediocre of beers is the perfect match for the mostly blatantly mediocre of videogames. 

Know what else will be left after a nuclear apocalypse? Stock piles of cheap, watered down, yet surprisingly nasty, Bud Light. 

I used to work in New York City and had to commute in from New Jersey. That meant early mornings and late evenings commuting back and forth. The company I was working for was horrible, so the highlight of my day was buying the cheapest 40 oz. can of beer from the Duane Reade Pharmacy located in the bowels of Penn Station, and drinking it from a brown bag (CLASSY) during my train ride home. More often than not, the cheapest beer would be Bud Light. On rough days I would buy two cans and get sufficiently buzzed. I did this every day after work, and then found myself drinking regularly on weekends for no reason to boot. Finally, after a doctor’s visit for some anxiety, I was told that I was essentially going down the path of becoming an alcoholic, so it was time to cut down on the drinking. 

I eventually found a better job closer to home, working with Lizard People pretending to be humans, but I really didn’t cut down on the drinking, because my co-workers were so unnerving. 

YAY HAPPY STORY!  – Kind-of 

Horizon Zero Dawn – Fine Irish Whiskey 

Horizon Zero Dawn is a gorgeous open world action game that is surprisingly deep and at times wonderfully complex. It can be overwhelming at first glance, but give it some time, enjoy the beautiful graphics, and you’ll get swept away by it. 

Horizon Zero Dawn actually reminds me of the first time I was introduced to fine whiskey. A friend “taught” me how to drink whiskey while enjoying a glass of Johnnie Walker Black. I was told to sip and savor it, instead of drinking it down, enjoying the smoky, oak tinged essence of it. This is quite the departure from doing shots of Irish Mist and chasing it with Guinness, but things change. 

Over the years, I learned to try out different version of whiskies and bourbons. Much like Horizon Zero Dawn, a good whiskey is deep and complex. 

Back during my college days, I was invited by a friend to attend an “authentic” Saint Patrick’s Day party. I’m not sure what made it so authentic, other than we ate a lot off corn beef and cabbage and the drink of choice was primarily top shelf whiskey, chased by cheap beer. 

Anyhow, there are only a couple of things worse than getting drunk on whiskey. I now know that whiskey makes you into an angry, belligerent, stupid drunk, and you will have the worst hangover the following day.  Case and point, the party went from fun to a borderline brawl in just a couple of hours.  

My friend, of pure Irish heritage, who already had too much to drink decided that he would feel so much better if he just threw up. This is a perfectly fine idea when one had too much drink and knows it. The problem is, he decided to purge from out of the opening of a second story barn window. There is nothing more majestic than watching an Irishman vomit out beer, whiskey, and half digested corned beef and cabbage out of a second story barn window and onto a crowd of angry drunk men below.  

It is a sight that I will remember for the rest of my life, up there with seeing the Grand Canyon, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and the birth of both my children. 

Sonic Mania  Bartles and Jaymes Wine Coolers 

After years of miss steps, an honest to goodness Sonic was released that pays homage to the original while omitting human girl on anthropomorphic hedgehog action. 

Playing this game reminds me of my youth. I was 11-years-old when the first Sonic the Hedgehog came out on the Sega Genesis. Sonic Mania takes all of the good that I remembered from the original and none of the bad. It effortlessly infuses old with new creating a great modern take on the speedy side scroller. 

1991 was also around the time that I was introduced to illicit alcohol in the form Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers.  

I vividly remember a warm afternoon in the summer of ’91 playing Sonic the Hedgehog with my friends when the trouble maker of the group (not me, I swear) asked if we wanted to sneak some booze from his father’s garage fridge.  

We all thought this was a splendid idea and road our bikes over to his garage and each of us helped ourselves to a refreshing bottle of Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers. We then road over to a secluded section of a nearby playground and started sipping on our wine coolers, just like grown-ups do. 

Know what else grown-ups do? They smoke, and my friend had that covered too. He swiped a few cigarettes from his grandmother and we all lit up. Man, we were so cool drinking our wine coolers and smoking Virginia Slims in the playground.  

One of my friends, took a swig of wine cooler and had a loooong satisfying drag from his cigarette, he looked at me, and winked, almost to say that life doesn’t get much better than this… and then he vomited his Bartles and Jaymes wine cooler all over himself. My other friend did the same. Me and another managed to compose ourselves, but just barely. I rode my bike home, went to my room and skipped dinner that night, complaining of a stomachache. 

I wish I could say that I learned a valuable lesson that day and never had a drink or a cigarette again, but then I would be lying. 

Destiny 2 – Vodka & Red Bull 


Destiny 2 is my new infatuation. I enjoyed the first one, but it got old for me fast. Then one day I put down the original and never played it again. The new raids and DLC couldn’t even draw me back in. I can see that this is not going to be the case for Destiny 2. 

I don’t know if it is the inclusion of a semi competent if unoriginal story, which the first game lacked entirely, or the more streamlined leveling system, but this game has its hooks in me. I think about all day, waiting for the moment to have some free time to play. On the weekends, I’ll play late into the night, having to squeeze in just one more raid, one more patrol, one more public event, or just one more visit to the traveler.  If only there was a drink that could me sufficiently buzzed yet get me wired up at the same time so that I can continue playing into the wee hours. 

Do people still drink Vodka and Red Bull? The entire concept of mixing a depressant (vodka) with a stimulant (Red Bull) seems like a bad idea. Just the thought of drinking a Vodka and Red Bull now makes my heart palpitate. In the late 90’s and early aughts however, Vodka and Red Bull was just what the doctor ordered when hitting the clubs—that and Ecstasy.  

I wasn’t a big club goer but there was a short time where me and friends frequented them. It seemed like that was what everyone did back in the late 90’s and early aughts. Even if you weren’t into dancing, or hated dance music, you still went to a club, at least that was the case for me and my friends. 

Back in the day, there was three solid choices in New York City to go clubbing. There was the Limelight, which was perfect if you were a moody goth. The club was a converted church and they played dark trance music mostly. There was a legend there that clubgoers who went to the Limelight were at risked at getting poked by someone a with a hypodermic needle. Once you realized what was going on, a mysterious person would then hand you a black rose and whisper in your ear, “welcome to my nightmare.”  Legend has it, the needle was infected with HIV. Even if this is not true and just an urban legend, that is seriously fucked up. We didn’t go to the Limelight that much. 

There was the aptly named Sound Factory, which was your typical mega club that catered to mostly the bridge and tunnel crowd. There was a very good chance of bumping into your stereotypical Bobby Bachagaloop, Tony Bagadonuts, and their whole entourage from Long Island there. Make inadvertent eye contact with one of them, just for a millisecond, and they were ready to fight because you must be some kind of a “queerah.” Glance at one of their girlfriends and they were ready to fight because you also must be some kind of a “queerah,” which makes no sense to me, but apparently makes perfect sense to a coked-up juicehead from Ronkonkoma.  

Of course, there were a bunch of underground clubs that were super exclusive and normally required you to wait online for hours just to get turned away when you got to the door.  Fuck those places.  

Then there was the Culture Club, which was just kitschy stupid fun. This place was a theme club, essentially playing revamped 80’s dance tunes that were kicked up a notch as well as run of the mill dance and electronica. People went there just to have fun and there was very rarely any trouble. Seeing packs of girls on a bachelorette party was common, as were 21st birthday parties, and tourists. It was one of the few clubs where I felt relatively safe from juice heads from “Strong Island,” deranged psychopaths with dirty hypodermic needles, and Paris Hilton look-a-likes asking me if I had any coke. 

One night, while partying at the culture club, I already had a bunch of Vodka and Red Bulls in me, as well as god knows what else, all I know was I feeling incredibly euphoric and felt a kinship with everyone around me.  

Around 3:00 AM, the fire alarm goes off, the house lights come on, and everyone is ushered out by security into the streets. We were told that the club won’t be reopening for the night. Feeling a bit hungry, my group, and a lot of other club goers, made our way to street vendors selling your typical dirty water dogs, pretzels, and knishes.  

Nothing hits the spot better after a night of clubbing than street food. According to my friend, I struck up a merry conversation with two gentlemen dressed up as Boy George and Billy Idol. Who knows, they could have actually been Boy George and Billy Idol, I was too drunk and high to know any better.   

I have no idea what we spoke about, but according to multiple accounts, I bought both of them hotdogs and we talked about politics and sports for almost an hour. 

So, what are your favorite drink and game pairings? Have any depraved drinking incidents? Share them in the comments. 

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