A Quick Tuesday Pairing!

I started this blog based around craft beer and have been somehow trying to weasel in video games into it, too.

This article that I’ve gone back and re-written was the one that I first used for a pairing series where I match any video game with a type of beer. I saw this buried deep in my hard drive and thought I’d throw it up for all to see where I go the inspiration. I love doing it because what two things don’t go better together?

I’ve paired cheese with various wines (I don’t know anything about that), beers with different meat (I’m a good cook but I just drink my favorite beer at the moment and try not to burn the steaks) and one of my favorite questions of late which is the great debate of what kind of drinks to pair with video games!

The method to the madness.
I’m kidding. I didn’t really do this with any panache or method. I played each game for about 3 hours and in that span, I was only allowed 2 beers per game. That way, I didn’t end up too tipsy to play the game or start the typical online argument with random strangers.

I chose a popular game from the category of genre and that I still owned. That list ended up being pretty long and I like to think that my choices were solid because I’m limited to my XB One.

The standard fare.
Let’s start with the most popular genre that’s dominating platforms right now. The FPS (first person shooter for you n00bs out there). I used Battlefield 4 for this test and found it to work quite well. This is a fast-paced shooting game based on knowing the map and the best corners to camp out in and cheat ones happy little rear end off.
These rounds can go fast and get heated quickly or can last for upwards of 20 or 30 minutes playing Rush or Domination. As such, I decided the best thing to go with these games are an IPA’s or ales.

Preferably something that’s a session style and in the low ABV category as you get hooked pretty quickly and find yourself wasting hours trying not to let the constant deaths get to you. I drank a Zombie Dust first then decided that a Lagunitas Aunt Sally would perfectly sum up the bitterness of those near-constant deaths.

A disclaimer.
It’s important to note here that I forewent using Call of Duty for the sole purpose of everyone being so angry and constantly insulting my non-existent girlfriend or what they think of my mother. That’s just a buzz kill.

Endurance.
The next game I decided was best for this category was Forza 5, an Xbox One exclusive title that’s a simulation racing game. I found for this genre that a light cider worked pretty well. Something like Apple Orchard Crisp Cider or Henry and Forge Apple Cider (they’re really cheap too!) You really only have to drive fast and know when to push the brakes as to avoid slamming into a tight corner wall or other players.

Now, I decided to mix it up and go into a server that was hosting a 50 lap battle on the entirety of the Nurburgring track. The ciders barely lasted long enough for me to finish the race but somehow my car wasn’t completely destroyed. I thought that my favorite Honda Civic would get the job done, and while I finished dead last, I was proud that I powered my little beater across the finish line!

A blast from the past!

For the last genre was the ever-lovable Chrono Cross for the original PlayStation (remember those things?) This was an RPG game which set you on a placed path that you had to fight your way up via way of random enemy encounters. In the fight, you had to strategically choose your next attack move. Pick right and you won the match, choose wrong or pick the wrong elemental move, and it was back to the previous checkpoint. For this bad boy, I went with the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.

The taste stays delicious from start to finish which helps you stay focused on the next move and confident that you’ll push the right button from your rusty memory of a PlayStation controller (I haven’t touched a Playstation product in I don’t even know how long, don’t hate me). Given this was one of those old two-disk games that took upwards of 20 hours to beat, I didn’t make it that far in the story. But I could drink stouts the whole time and still rock out to this one!

Nostalgic.

These are just some brief thoughts on what worked best for me. I left each BF game on a positive K/D ratio and placed last in Forza which is pretty good for 3 hours of continuous racing. I ended up playing Chrono Cross for another 2 hours because I forgot how awesome it was only to be reminded by the rising sun that I just had inadvertently pulled an all-nighter and was now on the verge of falling asleep. But it was the most satisfying loss of sleep I’ve experienced in a while!

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Craft beer is a lot like a gaming.

I’m not talking about how great they go together. That’s super true, but not the point.

The world of video games has countless styles of play. You have your MMO’s, RPG’s, horror, survival and often a combination of some of these. They all have a distinct factor to them that each draws in a type of person.

The darkness…

Some people love horror movies. I have friends who live by quoting them at least once a day in their daily lives. He also happens to be a huge fan of games that have a more immersive element to them much like a horror film. It’s no surprise that he’s a huge fan of the latest Bat Man games out right now.

He’s also found himself to be a huge fan of the Resident Evil series. He played the newest release on RE:7 and fell in love with it. He had never played it before, but he loves zombies and zombie-themed game play.

I don’t play them with him because half the time he steals all the points and calls me slow. I have to remind him that I hate Left 4 Dead and 30 frames-per-second seems archaic when I’m used to high-res graphics at 60 fps.

The parallels.

Perhaps not coincidentally, he also loves dark, heavy beers. He has a collection of bomber bottles of various different ales that are all one style or another of stouts, porters, bocks, and barelywines. He lately has developed a liking for scotch ales, so I’m waiting for the inevitable “dude, I got a new game. Survival horror!”

The draw to him is the deeper flavor of these styles. They’re more involved when you’re trying to taste what’s going on. Not to say that all the other beers out there out there don’t have any character, I just think the flavor of darker beers makes you think a little bit more.

The speed.

When you drink a light ale like an IPA or pale ale, you know what the main flavor notes are gonna be right off the bat. Everyone has tried one at their point and it very likely has driven their preferences in beers of choice.

IPA’s are a lot like the FPS of the beer world. They’re fast moving, there’s always a lot going on but not too much, and you can knock them back if that’s your preferred style of play.

Not to say that they aren’t full of great flavor, but that light and crispness of the taste and that familiarity makes you drink it more than think about it.

Kind of like Call of Duty. It’s a bit repetitive and you’re asking yourself what next. It’s always how fast are you going to get taken out and you always need to reload after firing just one bullet. It’s force of habit but fun as hell.

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Now this may seem like a list composed mostly of your standard fare shooters. It is. That’s the realm that I stay in because I’m good at it. I play RPGs and racing games and some MOBAs. But they aren’t where I shine.

I’m sure you can draw parallels with them, but I haven’t played a Forza in years and the last MOBA I was on was League of Legends which has easily been three years or more.

Developers are the breweries.

It’s no lie that you have a favorite developer. Mine so happens to be EA Sports. I’m a hopeless fanboy of their games. I live on Battlefield.

And like game developers pumping out new titles frequently, so too must craft breweries. They always have to be on top of their game coming up with the newest and dankest flavor combinations.

It’s also this speed that can sometimes hurt a brewery. They may be moving too quick to really hear what their customers are saying. It can also affect the flavor of the brews and quality as well!

Overall…

You can draw as many parallels as you’d like and point out the differences too. But you can’t tell me they aren’t shockingly similar.

Thanks for reading and as always, let me know your thoughts too!

 

Giving Mass Effect: Andromeda a try.

I’ll start with this: I’ve never played any Mass Effect game before. Science-y space combat RPGs have never been my thing.

What is my thing? Games where I have skill trees to build and materials to scrap and reconstruct into other equally useless things.

As it turns out, Andromeda has exactly what I’m looking for.

How so?

The very first thing I noticed when I fired up my new digital copy was a slew of DLC points available. Mostly what looked like space dollars and different kinds of rocks. They wanted me to give them real money for these things.

Alright. Cool. I can deal with micro-transactions.

When I got into the first level after having just crash landed, I saw that my character’s scanner device could scan rocks and the aliens that I just vaporized. It gave me points for this and what looked like those aforementioned space bucks.

Boxes everywhere.

As I progressed through the level, I noticed that I had an inventory screen that was filling up with stuff. You could scrap it, consume it, or modify your equipment with.

You also found weapons and some other items that offered you blueprints. You could use these blueprints to craft new items to help you through your journey of taking over the galaxy.

There’s a space buggy, too.

You can travel across the galaxy and stop at different planets along the way. You can meet new traders and buy other neato items.

You have a space buggy that lets you traverse a planet’s surface too. You can drop homing beacons and set way points for fast travel.

Should you buy it?

Absolutely. If this game has even more features than what the trial version revealed, you can bet you’re going to be in for a treat.

-Cheers til’next time, Nick

(Updated 4/17/17)