Drinking and Gaming: The Dynamic Duo
I remember reading an article once about how Generation Next doesn't drink. The reasoning went that drinking slows the reflexes and blurs the vision, and therefore the youth of today (or yesterday, depending on how you look at it), who are all Serious Gamers , abstain in order to retain their skillz.
Naturally I saw this as a sign of the end times. For not only do I consider myself a Serious Gamer, I also consider myself a serious drinker. So after I finished reading that article, I flushed the toilet, spent a few short minutes mourning for the misbegotten youths, and resolved to spend the rest of my life setting an example for Serious Drinking Gamers everywhere.
The secret to being a serious drinking gamer is to first be serious about gaming. This is critical. A casual gamer who attempts to play while drunk will fail in both respects. If you have not been playing video games since before puberty chances are that, when drunk, you will forget the nerve commands necessary to manipulate the controller, and your frustration will cause you to lose your drunk. Which is bad.
If however, you are the type of gamer who can continue to play games long past the point at which one would normally need to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom, if in fact, when you pull yourself away from a marathon gaming session you cannot decide which to do first – piss, puke or pass out – drinking and gaming is for you. You will more than likely be able to continue to game long after you are also unable to complete sentences.
The second key to being a successful drinking gamer is to know your alcohol. There are certain kinds which are well-suited to drinking while gaming, and others that aren't. Naturally if you have a favorite I would suggest sticking with it, but if you're new to the Drinking Phenomenon, allow me to offer a brief tutorial.
Beer is the go-to gaming drink. Easy to consume (it comes in its own glass!) and slow to intoxicate, beer will never treat you wrong. The only downside to drinking beer while playing games is the relatively high Drink-To-Piss (DTP) ratio. Be prepared to pause often, or simply ignore your full bladder. We all do it anyway, and it's even easier when drunk. If your tastes run toward the artsy-fartsy micro-brews, I suggest keeping a bottle opener near your game space. Nothing brings a game session screeching to a halt faster than shredding your fingers open trying to twist the cap off of a micro-brew.
Well suited to gaming, hard liquors come in many varieties suited to almost any palate. Pick your favorite. Mine is Bourbon. A couple of fingers in an old fashioned glass with ice and you're good to go. Since you'll be gaming, you'll be too distracted to slurp it down quickly which should promote the appropriate level of intoxication. If you find that you're becoming intoxicated too quickly, however, consider a mixed drink or cocktail.
This is perhaps the only hard liquor which is strictly a no-no for gaming. Tequila is strange. Even hard-core drinkers will get mysteriously f**ked up on tequila. It not only gets you drunk, but it can also render you quite silly, causing you to doubt the fact that you're playing a game at all. Not good. It also has an even higher DTP ratio than beer.
There are rumors circulating about the legendary Mescaline Gamer, whose concentration and intensity seem to be increased by the consumption of tequila and it's more hallucinogenic cousin, Mescal. Legend has it that The Mescaline Gamer plays for forty-eight hours at a time, downing shot after shot of succulent-based alcohols, eliminating all competition and wreaking havoc on the stat boards. These are mere myths, however, and even if they were true, you are not this man. Stay away from tequila.
Cocktails and Mixed Drinks
For the record, the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink is that a cocktail is a beverage made using one or more hard spirits, and a mixed drink is what you order for a girl.
Almost any cocktail or mixed drink makes a good companion to gaming. However, avoid beverages that are served in delicate and/or stemmed glasses, as these vessels are easy to tip over when you're reaching blindly for your drink between levels. Martinis and margaritas are therefore to be avoided.
This is an exception to the stemware rule. Wine, for some reason, seems to be less likely to be overturned. Perhaps it is because we are trained as small children to handle wine glasses delicately, or perhaps it's because the lower alcohol content prevents you from becoming so drunk that you'll misjudge the distance between you and your galss by just enough to knuckle it over onto the floor. Whatever the reason, wine goes well with gaming. I prefer a nice pinot noir or red zinfandel, but MD 20/20 will do in a pinch. You can even drink it right out of the bottle if you're feeling clumsy.
Okay, now that you've selected your beverage let's explore the mechanics:
When to Drink
Silly rabbit. There is never a good time not to drink ...
When to Say When
This is important. When gaming, it is often difficult to make wise decisions regarding the need for sleep, food and the cessation of alcohol consumption. Your own personal tolerance may vary, but there are a few tell-tale signs that you've become too drunk to game:
- Other players begin to taunt you.
- Other players continue to taunt you even with the sound turned off.
- You develop Red/Blue Color Blindness.
- It suddenly becomes less fun to watch your teammates' backs than to stalk them quietly, bouncing grenades off of their helmets.
- You hear a voice that sounds similar to your own shouting "I am the Nightrider! I am a fuel-injected suicide machine! I am a rocker! I am a roller! I am an out-of-controller! "
- Before taking a piss break, you feel the need to "clear out the defenders" near the john.
- You no longer recall having taken any piss breaks, but your ass feels wet.
- You find that you can almost predict your enemy's movements based on the electrical impulses being sent through the CRT screen directly into your eyeball, which is resting less than an inch away from the glass because you can no longer hold up your head.
- You wake up wearing no pants, with the game still running, and have somehow managed to remain in the lead.
When you discover that you have become too drunk to game, it behooves you as an upright citizen to leave the game. This will not only improve your standing in the online community by preserving your stats, but will also prevent other players from having to listen to you heave while your mic is still on.
If you find that you have consumed too much and must leave the game there are essentially two methods of gracefully extricating yourself. The first is to wish your fellow gamers well and make up some excuse as to why you must log off. This will allow you to leave peacefully without revealing the potentially embarrassing details of your alcoholism to your online friends. The perennial favorite is "My SO just got home." This works well because, as everyone knows, SO's hate it when you're playing a game when they get home.
The second method is to let your fear lead to anger and your anger lead to hate. Or, as it's referred to in the Police Blotter, being drunk and disorderly. Your fellow gamers may never forgive you for taking the dark path, but the few moments of glee derived from telling all of them exactly how you feel about them will overshadow any lingering regrets.
These are just a few basic guidelines. I encourage you to experiment. Hopefully you will discover your own exciting methods of perpetuating your online and substance-based addictions simultaneously and develop a rich, meaningful life lived in constant denial.