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

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.

Hard Spirits

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.

Tequila

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.

Wine

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.

Cheers!

Comments

Tanqueray and tonic is a good choice.

Nice job as always, Fletcher. Drinking while gaming can be a lot of fun, but there are many subtle complexities which should be taken into account, and I think you've addressed quite a few of them. Here are some other questions and pointers with which to concern yourself before attempting a drunken gaming session:

--How long would you like the drunken gaming session to last? Hard spirits are just fine for a several-hour session of UT, but if you're trying to drink your way through a game of Civ3 or a simulated flight from London to New York, you will have passed out long before reaching your objective; beer would be more appropriate in these cases. Certain drinks are therefore best when paired with certain games.

--Before beginning your session, ask yourself how hungry you are, and how hungry you are likely to become after a few hours of drinking. If it seems likely that food lies in your near future, try to figure out your menu in advance, and drink accordingly. Going to be chowing down on pizza while you play? Drink beer, since that's the combination God intended. Going to take a break and stumble into the kitchen to heat up some leftover spaghetti? Pinot noir will keep your buzz going and match the food to boot.

--Just how drunk do you intend to get? If you're boozing it up on a Friday night with no weekend obligations, then the sky's the limit here. If that's the case, then mixed drinks are probably not the best idea, since there will come a point when you are no longer capable of fumbling around with various bottles, glasses, ice, proportions, etc. Of course, some would argue that such a level of inebriation corresponds to the point at which it's best to cease drinking anyway, but if you're contemplating a drunken gaming session, you're probably not of this persuasion.

--Will anyone else be partaking in the festivities? If so, hard spirits are probably the best choice, since they help ensure that everyone will get sufficiently drunk in a timely manner. If you were to try beer instead, chances are some weak poser would take forever to drink to fruition. Meanwhile, someone else will probably pass out early, which sort of hampers the fun. Make sure that your drinking partners understand all the intricacies and potential difficulties of drunken gaming.

--Make sure you have enough alcohol and food on hand to last you through the evening. Nothing sucks worse than running out of the goods in the middle of a gaming session.

--Consider taking some steps to document the process. This can be as simple as keeping a notepad handy for jotting down quotes, anecdotes, poetry, amusing and illustrative diagrams, etc. Records of drunken gaming sessions are fun to look back on and share with others. If you have a friend on hand who intends to stay sober through the night, ask them to keep a log.

--Lastly, know and respect your limits. Perhaps there is a time for brutal alcoholic excess, but I firmly believe that drunken gaming sessions call for a more measured approach. Obviously, you should refrain from poisoning yourself; this is true no matter what the situation. But you should also, for example, refrain from drinking to the point of growing weary. What's the point of blowing all that money on liquor if you're just going to slam back vodka shots for ninety minutes and pass out? That's no way to have a drunken gaming marathon! Far better to drink less rapidly, and in so doing ensure that the evening will be fun for all (including yourself). Always drink with your purpose in mind: to derive as much pleasure as possible from your game of choice.

Cheers indeed!

I have found that hard spirits go the best with our Halo 2 sessions. The pace of the games don't really allow for the amount of consumption necessary for beer or cocktails. Jagermeifter or Scotch seem to suit me very well. In college, I found that games were very enjoyable in various other mental states, but I have since narrowed my focus to ethanol.

Beautiful read. I prefer the shots before a game, and a "sippy cup" in between matches.

Oooo, the 'sippy cup' idea is pure gold. Gold, I tell ya!

Of course, drinking a martini out of a sippy cup is probably an... unusual... experience...

Hehe...nice article.

Since I've been exclusively playing World of Warcraft lately, I have found it pretty easy to identify when I've imbibed enough: if I play for more than 1/2 hour and I accomplish absolutely nothing except dying, wandering, and accidentally disenchanting that blue item I meant to keep for myself, it's time to quit.

This is especially true if I die in stupid ways -- such as falling off the Great Lift, or accidentally unlocking my taskbars and becoming totally flustered as I get killed by a monster 5 levels below me.

Oooo, the 'sippy cup' idea is pure gold. Gold, I tell ya!

Of course, drinking a martini out of a sippy cup is probably an... unusual... experience...

I dunno, my kids never complain.

Here's another tip I've found out through the drunken gaming sessions

Don't get your pets drunk
I know you want them to join in on the fun too, but pets seem to have a different idea of what's fun. This can lead to unpredictable behavior such as excessive noise, inappropriate jumping or them humping anything not nailed down. They may get jealous of your attention on the game, and decide to chew up some of your equipment, such as an Xbox and a Gamecube controller in the middle of my damn Halo 2 match damnit!

Also, singing when drunk can be quite fun, but don't try to sing over the voice chat. While I'm sure Sanjuro enjoyed our rendition of the perennial classic "f*ck Papa Johns in the Ass", I doubt it enhanced his Halo 2 game any.

Haha! Funny article and some funny ass replies. I was getting worried I was the only alchy playing WoW when I read slambie's thread about everyone drinking water while playing. Six pack of water next to them when they play they wrote. I thought, yeah, I got a six pack alright. Key is to make your drinks big because you won't get many opportunities to refill. The problem here is you may get drunk faster than you intended.

Question: Why drink and drive, when you can smoke and fly?

Just wondering. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Now this, boys, is worthwhile literature.

Well, done, Fletch.

Bravo zulu, Fletch. Another classic.

I prefer rum or Scotch. All the time.

/raises glass

Here here! Nice article fletch.

I used to be part of a CS (and other games, but mostly CS) clan called LnB (or LnBF depending on who you asked) because we were a hardcore drinking gaming clan. How hardcore you ask?

The clan acronym stands for Lan 'n Beer Factory.

We brewed our own beer that we drank when we gamed.

Fletcher1138 wrote:

You wake up wearing no pants, with the game still running, and have somehow managed to remain in the lead.

Ahhh, blessed youth, long gone...

I drink beer while gaming, 99% of the time. Although, I could switch to red wine for a while, it gives a really nice buzz.

You people and your potty mouths are going to bring the workplace filters down on our heads!

Oh. My. Lord. This is hysterical. I laughed so hard I startled the dog. Oh, good stuff Fletch, good stuff!

I forgot to add that this article is dedicated to Thin_J. You know who you are.

:fingergun: tch tch.

Nice.

Now I understand the "My next article will be dedicated to you" comment. It only makes partial sense, but still funny.

Good stuff Fletcher, as usual.

Razorgrin wrote:

Bravo zulu, Fletch. Another classic.

I prefer rum or Scotch. All the time.

I love me some rum. Rummy rummy rum rum.

I find my style suited to the ice cold fotie.

IMAGE(http://img96.exs.cx/img96/1134/rightswordguy8jy.gif)

Yeah I used to do that..you know, the drinking while gaming thing.

The problem was, I had hardened my liver in the nav, so I could drink alot.

So I was gaming, not ever really going out due to family, and I'd down a 12 pack before I knew it!

What was the point? So I just moved over to O'Douls cause I like the taste of beer and I'm happy as heck AND have an advantage over you tipsy gamers!

Ahh.. A topic I can relate to!

My favorite drink for gaming..
http://www.drinksparks.com/main.html

And for a great story..
While playing Everquest one night at level 52, I went with my guild on a dragon raid. I bound myself in the room before the dragon while we were getting prepped. Well several hours and several more beers later the raid was over and I was waiting in the staging area for the loot divisions. Next think I know its 10 AM and I am in bed. I bolted up with a terrible feeling that I forgot to do something. Much to my horror I had passed out and then gone to bed without logging out of EQ. My character was stuck in a death loop at his bind spot all night and I had lost 35 levels. Yes, I was a level 27 noob again. After a day of waiting for a GM to assist me, I was returned to a previous save point but remained the laughing stock of my guild for quite some time.

Wow, Baphomet. I don't quite know what to say. Except of course, to thank you for sharing such an amusing and embarrassing story.

Perhaps I should add the following as an ancillary to my former suggestions:

Do not attempt to drink and game if your characters and/or savegames mean a damn to you.

Lobo wrote:

Perhaps I should add the following as an ancillary to my former suggestions:

Do not attempt to drink and game if your characters and/or savegames mean a damn to you.

Meh. Lighten up Lobo. Sometimes, you just gotta say "WTF."

Fletcher1138 wrote:

Meh. Lighten up Lobo. Sometimes, you just gotta say "WTF."

You know, I think you're right. It now occurs to me that the sheer hilarity of Baphomet's tale outweighs any possible value that his level 52 character may have held. If anything, I should be encouraging him to try to duplicate the experience!

I am blessed/cursed with a low tolerance for booze. On the upside I can get a nice buzz quite quickly and maintain it easily for as long as i need to. On the downside, a slight miscalculation will find be bowed before the porcelain throne and then in bed for a good 16 hours wishing I would just die.

As a result, I don't drink to excess.

Fletcher1138 wrote:

You wake up wearing no pants, with the game still running, and have somehow managed to remain in the lead.

Quite a few of the UT guys I play with like to top up with beer, especially during long Onslaught slogs. I'm not a drinker though (have at thee, alcoholists!), so the hardest stuff I drink during an online spate would be Coke.

Lobo wrote:

If anything, I should be encouraging him to try to duplicate the experience!

No encouragement needed. I have a regularly scheduled time for such events. It's called weekend!

This is just my most monumental event to date.

so the hardest stuff I drink during an online spate would be Coke.

Dude, I would never touch that stuff. Way too expensive, dangerous and addictive.