Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Whiskey, Tequila, and Red Dead Redemption

After a couple strenuous weeks of breaking horses, herding cattle, and killing almost everybody, I've finally come to the end of Red Dead Redemption. Or at least as close as I'm going to get. I could still spend dozens of hours finishing side quests and attaining higher rankings of various sorts, but I have 4 awesome games stacked on my coffee table that I need to get around to. Playing Red Dead was a lot of fun, and Old Grand-dad was certainly perfect for it.

At 100 proof, Old Grand-dad kept the hair on my chest as I fought my way through a long series of sticky (and violent) situations. Its sweet vanilla and alcoholic warmth made it a powerful companion. However, as I progressed through the game and made my way down to Mexico, I remembered that a bottle of Bracero Reposado Tequila was sitting on my liquor shelf.

Sipping straight tequila felt much more appropriate at times when I was surrounded by sandy hills and palm trees. Bracero Reposado is remarkably smooth and complex for an affordable tequila. Subtle fruit and spice make it pleasant for drinking straight up, although I also enjoyed it in a dry margarita with a pickled watermelon rind garnish.
Red Dead Redemption was a fun game to play. I very well may go back and work on some of the things I left unfinished in the game, as I feel that I raced through it without sufficiently exploring its sizable map. And if I do pick it up again, you can be sure I'll have some bourbon and/or tequila to go along with it.
Now I have to decide what to play next. I'd like to start Batman: Arkham Asylum, but I don't have the booze I want to pair with it on hand. Metroid: Other M is really tempting, but I have no idea what to drink with it. Fallout: New Vegas should be awesome, but I think I'll take a brief break from shooters. I also have Brutal Legend, but I'm not in a mood for Jäger. If any of you loyal readers want to advise me on this quandary, don't hold back.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A New Frontier...

Two days ago I fired up my brand new Playstation 3 for the first time. I shouldn't have one. I can't afford such things. Rather than pay for it legitimately, I am trading a very rare commodity: homebrew futures. Like Rumplestiltskin, this PS3 is going to steal my babies, inasmuch as my beers are my children, which they are not.
Ever since CTA buses started carrying giant ads for it a few months ago, I've really wanted to play Red Dead Redemption. A huge percentage of my video game-playing in the last year was dedicated to Grand Theft Auto IV and Bully. I get addicted to games produced by Rockstar, and I was not surprised at all when 4 hours of RDR flew by me before I tore myself away.
I sipped on Old Grand-dad while I played, which was an obvious, yet wholly appropriate pairing. I needed something strong to accompany my first night playing the first non-Nintendo console I have ever owned. I have a feeling that Red Dead Redemption is going to last me a good long time. I'll pick up one or two other whiskeys and give them a whirl, and post my thoughts in the next week or two. Or maybe now that I have Brutal Legend and Batman: Arkham Asylum laying in wait on my coffee table, you'll never hear from me again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fudo Myoo Ginjo Nigori Genshu with Muramasa: The Demon Blade

I've been wanting to do a post on Muramasa: The Demon Blade for some time now. Due to laziness and an irrational urge to find an absolutely perfect pairing, I'm only just now getting around to it. Muramasa is an amazing 2D side-scrolling action game set in feudal Japan. It plays more or less like a brawler, with a little extra sophistication coming in with the enormous array of different swords that one can forge throughout the game. The game follows a confusing plot concerning a young woman whose body has been inhabited by a demon. I wish I could explain it a little better than that, but I would just be making things up if I tried.

Muramasa's best feature is its stunning graphics. A beautiful blend of anime and more traditional Japanese painting, simply looking at the characters and backgrounds makes this game worthwhile. The music is also wonderful, consisting largely of dramatic drums and flutes. Because the game has such a thoroughly Japanese aesthetic, saké seemed an obvious choice. And sometimes, obvious choices are very good ones.

Since my days of pairing Shichi Hon Yari Junmai with Red Steel 2, I've found a need to practice restraint when spending money on my blog research. I wanted to buy a good saké on a budget, and Fudo Myoo seemed like a good choice. I went with their Nigori, or (relatively) unfiltered, saké, as its cloudiness reminded me of the beautiful snowy fields that one frequently runs through in Muramasa.
Fudo Myoo is one of few saké breweries in the United States. Based in Oregon, they are named after the Buddhist deity that defends wisdom and personifies perseverance. Like revenge, their Ginjo Nigori Genshu is best served cold. It is a strong, unfiltered saké. Cloudy and creamy, it tastes of lichi and vanilla, with a slight mushroomy earthiness. It is sweet, and finishes with a hint of marshmallow.
The fruity character of the saké made it somewhat suitable for a colorful game like Muramasa. However, I felt at times that this particular booze lacked the refinement of the game I paired it with. In the end, it worked out well enough, as its alcoholic warmth bolstered my spirit and allowed me to slaughter wave after wave of ninja and samurai. As I downed the last of my saké, I found myself actually fighting Fudo Myoo, or at least a giant statue posing as him. Needless to say, at that point I had been instilled with the fiery will to strike down this impostor with great vengeance and furious anger.

Coming Soon: It looks like I might be trading a lot of homebrews for a PS3. Expect more frequent updates. Unless I just get addicted to Red Dead Redemption and play it exclusively for the next 6 months.

P.S. I got 241 stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2 before sending it back. That game is awesome.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coming Soon...

Last night I paired Fudo Myoo Ginjo Nigori Genshu Sake with Muramasa: The Demon Blade. I'll write up my review as soon as I find the time. At the moment, I'm too busy getting green stars in Super Mario Galaxy 2. 45 down, 75 to go.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Organ Trail with Tanqueray and Tonic

After eating a lot delicious anchovies, burrata, scallops, duck, and pie tonight, I couldn't refuse an espresso. With no regrets, I blame the latter on my being up at this hour. Needing to simmer down, I found myself drinking a Tanqueray and tonic while playing an awesome Flash variation off of a classic PC game.

I vividly remember playing the Oregon Trail as a child. The idea of traveling out west while assaulting animals with a rifle always appealed to me. And now the blessed people of the internet have created for us a post-apocalyptic version of the game, which can be found here.
The game plays very much like the original, though shopping carts have replaced the mighty buffalo and zombie bites have replaced hysteria. I fully endorse the Tanq and Tonic as a pairing for this game, as it provides refreshment in a parched world devoid of sanitary water and civility. But start playing before 1:30 in the morning. It takes a while to make it out West.