Friday, December 30, 2011


The new year approaches, and though I am not one to believe in any non-nuclear visions of the apocalypse, I find my very being vibrating with a sense of impending doom. Today I received an email from Gamefly entitled "We've Shipped: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." Thanks to the efficiency of the USPS, I still have two to three business days before my life is stolen from me. When I was fifteen years old, my life was taken for a summer by a beast known as Final Fantasy VII. When I was 22, I became enraptured with another devil known as World of Warcraft for six solid months. I'm 28 now, and I fear that a new game will steal my life for a period of time longer than is respectable. Skyrim approaches. My question is not which booze to pair with it, but whether there is enough booze to last its duration. And also how I'm gonna pay for it after I get fired for playing Skyrim instead of going to work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Friends Are Awesome

Last night my wonderful friends Carl and Ann Marie gave me this t-shirt that they picked up at Wormhole Coffee on Milwaukee Ave. Given my blog's logo and my last pairing, I thought it would be appropriate to post a picture of it.

Thanks Carl and Ann Marie!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn with Metropolis Coffee Company's Falstaff Winter Blend

 I was excited when I received Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn in the mail a few weeks ago. Several years ago, I played through its predecessor, Path of Radiance, and had a great time doing it. The original Fire Emblem dates back to 1990, and was released only in Japan for the Famicom. Among the most revered turn-based strategy games ever created for consoles, the Fire Emblem series is known for its high difficulty level. Radiant Dawn has you leading an ever-evolving party into battle after battle. If a character dies, they die, and that's that. The enemy AI is ruthless, and making the simplest mistake often times means losing a battle. I remember Path of Radiance as being challenging, but it did not prepare me for the frustrations that Radiant Dawn delivers. The game requires a great amount of concentration.

I beat the first level of Radiant Dawn after failing only once or twice. Then playtime was over. I probably died 12-15 times on the second stage, and things only got worse after that. I was at a loss for what to pair with it, but I happened to come into possession of a bottle of Orin Swift's The Prisoner, a red blend from Napa that lovers of Californian wine seem to go nuts over. The Prisoner is little more jammy, oaky and boozy than I care for, although it did go nicely with a wedge of Colston Bassett Stilton. Well over 15% ABV, The Prisoner failed to help me focus on strategy, and I don't think I beat a single level while drinking it.

Following this frustrating experience, I shelved Radiant Dawn for a while. However, I ended up feeling guilty, and being stuck at home sick this morning, I decided to give it one last chance. Because I was sick and it was before noon, drinking booze was not an option. It occurred to me that (dare I say it?) delicious coffee might actually be a better pairing for the game anyway. So I brewed up a French press of Metropolis Coffee Company's Falstaff Winter Blend, and with fear in my heart, I fired up Radiant Dawn.

Falstaff Winter Blend is a nicely balanced, medium-roast blend. Metropolis does not divulge the origin of Falstaff's beans on their website, unfortunately. It is full-bodied with a subtle chocolatey, nutty aroma and delicious notes of mature plum (that's what those of us in the booze industry call prune). After a few sips of the coffee, I felt reasonably alert and proceeded to vanquish my enemy with relative ease. The level I beat had given me some trouble in the past, and my spirits were greatly heightened after finishing it. I immediately took on the next stage, which proved to be extremely difficult. On my fourth try, I lost the battle because some NPC's on the other side of the map from my party failed to fight off the enemy. This very large and heavy straw broke the camel's back, possibly in several places. The fraction of Radiant Dawn that I played through was a humbling experience, but unfortunately, I don't come close to having the patience to play through it. Some might call me a quitter for drinking stuff that's not booze with this game. Some might call me a quitter for quitting. But at least I'm a caffeinated quitter.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sky Kid with Rum and Cokes

My brother, John, came up from Normal, Illinois the other day to look for an apartment closer to civilization. But finding a place to live was not his only mission. No, he suggested that we find a pairing for Sky Kid, everybody's favorite backwards-side-scrolling biplane shooter for the NES. Sky Kid has you flying right-to-left, which is strange, but one gets used to it. The game involves dodging the bullets and shells of planes, boats, and artillery while picking up bombs and dropping them on enemy fortresses.

Oh, but how Sky Kid takes me back! Back to the day after Christmas in 1988. The day before, John and I had struck gold. Santa had dropped off a small television and an I.O.U. for a Nintendo Entertainment System. Apparently even Mr. Claus himself couldn't track down the ragingly popular video game system. It was a rough 24 hours, but the next day my father (acting as an agent for Santa, of course) tracked one down. From my own experiences tracking down a Wii, I can only imagine the relief that he felt. This relief was short-lived, as I recall, because upon bringing the Nintendo home and opening its box, we discovered that unlike every other system that we had heard tales of, this one did not include a Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt cartridge or a light gun. It did not include any games at all. I'm sure that the prospect of going back to the crowded shopping mall to shell out another $100 did not thrill my dad, but he did just that, and a couple hours later John and I were the proud owners of The Legend of Zelda AND Sky Kid.
 In the years to come, we played both games for incalculable hours. Since Sky Kid allowed for two players to play simultaneously and was utterly impossible to beat, we probably played it much more than we played Zelda. Back then we were ignorant, and we paired Sky Kid with things like candy because we didn't know how awesome booze was. Because of John's fond memories of trying to stay up past our bedtime to eat candy and play Sky Kid, he suggested we pair it with rum and cokes.

I haven't enjoyed a rum and coke since I was a freshman in college. Not to say I haven't drank a few here and there, I just don't like drinking sugary, vanilla-y mixed drinks as much as I used to. John picked up a bottle of Kozi Bay Gold Rum from the grocery store. Upon tasting it, he readily admitted that he had made a mistake, as it was straight up nasty. Fortunately, combined with a little coke, a good amount of lime and a lot of ice, it was vaguely tolerable. So we sat down with our drinks and, courtesy of Wii's virtual console, took a boozy trip back in time.
 I maintain that little kids are stupid. They don't even know how to walk straight, let alone pilot biplanes properly. However, the sheer amount of time that we put into Sky Kid back in the day must have given us a level of skill that did not come back to us instantaneously. We kind of sucked at the game. The rum and cokes help a little bit at first. The caffeine and sugar eased the tiredness I felt after a busy day at work, and the rum obviously honed my ability to fly a fighter plane. Starting over repeatedly, at first we got better. Then, a couple drinks into it, we started getting worse and not caring any more. This pairing made for a great nostalgic experience, although it might not work out that way for people who didn't spend hundreds of hours playing Sky Kid in their youth.

Thanks to my mother, father, and brother for sharing their Christmas memories.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Coming Soon: Bourbon County Stout and Batman: Arkham City

Every so often, a pairing comes along that is so extremely successful (or sometimes so terrible) that it leaves me without the time and/or wherewithal to write a post about it. It happens to be my birthday today, and the stars aligned for a magnificent tasting of three vintages of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, along with some Bourbon County Rare. Naturally, I drank this epic vertical alongside a nice session of Batman: Arkham City. I'll write a full post on it soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2009 Elderton Unoaked Chardonnay with Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos with Powers Whiskey

I've always been a big fan of B-movies, and lately I've really enjoyed reading various pulp novels. People sometimes create wonderful things when they're not worried about conforming to certain ideas of quality or form. To be fair, there is also a streak of masochism in my appreciation for these things. I feel an absurd sense of accomplishment when I sit through a film like Leprechaun 4: In Space. The other night, possibly while a bit under the influence, I was browsing through Gamefly's selections and happened upon Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos. Not being a fan of the show and noting the poor reviews attached to the game, I decided that it was the obvious choice to promote to the top of my queue.

Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos (henceforth referred to as DC: SoC) takes all of the most exciting elements of the crab-fishing show that it is based on and brings them into your home in the form of mini-games. Putting crab traps (or "pots" as I now know to call them) into water? Check. Taking them back out of the water? Check. Sorting bad crabs and fish out from the good ones? Hell yes. And who can forget the throwing of crabs into a basket that swings back and forth? BUT WAIT! This last mini-game has a monkey-wrench thrown into it in the form of a crane hook that swings back and forth in front of the basket. The depth and complexity that this hook adds to DC: SoC is breathtaking. If one does not time their crab-throwing carefully enough, the crab will bounce off the hook and NOT go into the basket. Which makes the mini-game take longer to complete, which means that you've wasted that much more of your life playing this game.

As you can probably tell from the anger and sarcasm that this game inspires in me, DC: SoC put me in desperate need of a booze to uplift me from its repetitive blandness. But what alcoholic beverage would be a good match for the game's clunky design and Game Gear-quality graphics? I have written in various posts about different approaches towards pairing games and booze. Perhaps it was the lack of inspiration in the game itself that steered me toward the more superficial approach, as rather than trying to find something that might help me feel like I was in the shoes of a crab fisherperson, I chose a bottle of 2009 Elderton Unoaked Chardonnay that I thought might be good with crab.

From Australia's Barossa Valley, Elderton's Unoaked Chardonnay is simple and clean. It tastes and smells of melon and green apple. It's subtle tartness and wet stone finish make it enjoyable, if not incredibly interesting. I can see it pairing well with crab. But unfortunately, I had no real crab. I had enough virtual crabs to choke a herd of virtual camels, but no real crab at all. The wine did make the game a little more enjoyable, but it wasn't enough to make the experience bearable.

Fortunately, my good buddy Nathan had the decency to bring over a bottle of Powers Whiskey. Three shots later, and all of a sudden we were having a good time. Singing improvised songs about sorting crabs makes sorting crabs much more fun. With its rich whiskey flavor, Powers helped us go all Mary Poppins on that bad boy. Just a bunch of whiskey helps the crappy game go down, in the most delightful way. And Powers is just harsh enough to make one feel tough, as if you might belong on a crab boat after all. As for my misguided hope that Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos would be the videogame equivalent to Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, well, I'll just have to keep searching.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mega Man 5 with Ockenheimer St. Jakobsberg Silvaner Eiswein

Believe it or not, sometimes I come up with pairings that just plain suck. Head on over to to check out my latest review.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Little Big Planet 2 with Russian River Blind Pig IPA

Having gotten my hands on a Playstation 3 only in the last year, I find myself playing a lot of sequels to games that I have never played. The latest is Little Big Planet 2. A whimsical 2D platformer, LBP2 gives players control of Sackboy, a comical little creature made of burlap that can be dressed up in a diverse array of costumes. The game draws on quite a few classic video game influences, from Mario and Sonic to Gradius and even World of Goo. It has a goofy sense of humor that I imagine appeals to children, but like World of Goo, it also has a subtle darkness to it that at times gets downright creepy.

I didn't have any bright ideas for what to pair with LBP2, but fortunately my father kindly sent a bottle of Russian River's Blind Pig IPA my way. Blind Pig is a deep golden ale with a rocky white head that left lacing all the way down the glass. It smells strongly of piney, citrusy hops and just a touch of honeyed malt. It tastes strongly of grapefruit, with a light touch of graininess and a hint of caramel.

While not the most wacky or original pairing I've come up with, I did really enjoy this one. LBP2 and Blind Pig are both fun, well-crafted products that are a pleasure to consume. Having them together made me happy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Sometimes being under the influence causes us to do things that we later regret. While my more juvenile readers get their minds out of the gutter, I'll explain that the other night, while drinking whiskey, I took it upon myself to edit my Gamefly queue. I still can't explain the impulse that caused me to order Deadliest Catch: Seas of Chaos, but I did, and it's currently on its way. I think I thought it would be funny. And it might be, but I'm going to need to come up with something great to pair with it. Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Treasure Trove of Old-Ass Games

My good friends Sarah and Gilad were kind enough to give me their Atari, along with a couple dozen games. I'll have fun coming up with pairings for these. I have something great in mind for E.T., which is commonly considered the worst game of all time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ninja Gaiden Sigma with Ayinger Oktober Fest - Märzen

While watching me play Ninja Gaiden Sigma, a friend commented that he rarely sees me getting so angry when playing video games. His observation was accurate. I'll yell at the TV a lot no matter what game I'm playing, but I find this one to be particularly frustrating. It may be the only reboot of a classic series that is harder than its NES counterpart. The game stars Ryu, a ninja who kills a lot of people for some reason. The original Ninja Gaiden was applauded for its cut-scenes that added depth to its narrative. Ninja Gaiden Sigma (which I'm playing on Playstation 3), is a step backwards from this. I have no idea what is going on or why I'm doing the things I'm doing.

Ninja-fighting is awesome, and Ninja Gaiden Sigma can be pretty fun at times. Dicing up enemy soldiers with katanas gives me some satisfaction, but it never takes me long before I start dying. And while I respect the game's developers for giving gamers some old-school punishment, sitting through 5 minutes of load screens every time I die makes things get boring fast. Fortunately, the good lord gave us a delicious cure for boredom called beer.

I chose to drink Ayinger's Oktober Fest - Märzen while playing Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Getting my ass kicked over and over makes me thirsty, and I thought a reasonably light lager would be appropriately refreshing. The beer is deeply golden in color. It as an aroma of fresh bread and toast with subtle notes of almonds and golden raisins. It is amazingly smooth. Pleasantly malty, it has a subtle sweetness with faint traces of iron.
Every beer I've ever had from Ayinger has been the best beer I've ever had in its respective style. Their Oktoberfest is no exception. I think that it went great with Ninja Gaiden Sigma, but probably just because I like it so much. So let that be a lesson to us all. If you force yourself to play a shitty game in order to drink booze with it so you can write about it on the internet, drink booze that you like a lot so that the experience isn't entirely terrible.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Heavy Rain and a Big Glass of Vodka

My monthly contribution to just got posted here. It's a review of my pairing of Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain with a glass of vodka. Check it out!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mass Effect 2 with a Bunch of Pink Wines

Continuing my trend of writing about sequels to games that I have not played, today's pairing features BioWare's Mass Effect 2. BioWare has been responsible for some of my favorite video games of all time, particularly the Baldur's Gate series. Mass Effect 2 is a sci-fi-themed action-RPG. In the role of Commander Shephard, the game has you fly around the universe recruiting party members for a dangerous assault on a group of aliens that threatens to destroy all organic life.

Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games I have played in a long time, and possibly the most engrossing RPG I've played since Final Fantasy VII. I wanted to find a good pairing for it. Sci-fi games always give me trouble when it comes to figuring out a good booze to drink with them. In the past, I had success drinking a Penedes white wine while playing as the Protoss in Starcraft II. One of my earliest experiments for this blog was to pair Mega Man 2 with a German Riesling Kabinett. This also worked well. Keeping this in mind, I decided to try drinking a rosé with Mass Effect 2. In the game, you can actually go to the bar in your ship's lounge and pour yourself glasses of pink liquid. I took this as a good sign that my pairing would work well.
But why pair a game with one booze when you can pair it with three? My good buddies Nathan and Paul joined me, each bringing a rosé of their own. I supplied a 2010 Muga Rosado, Nathan brought a 2008 Castillo de Jumilla Monastrell Rosado, and Paul submitted a 2010 Les Acanthes Tavel Rosé. The Muga is a pale salmon. It tastes of tart cherry and strawberry, with some floral notes on the nose. It possesses a shimmering acidity that drives a nice, stoney finish. The Jumilla and Tavel are both a bit darker and bolder. The Jumilla smells of raspberries and tastes of cherry and prune. It is a bit juicier and chalkier than the Muga. The Tavel is the sweetest of the three, though it has a reasonably dry finish. With more body and less acidity, it contains pleasant notes of strawberry jam.
I would enjoy playing Mass Effect 2 with any booze known to man. Pink wines made for a particularly good accompaniment, as I can drink them for several hours without severely damaging either my intellect or my motor skills. And after drinking enough of them in the presence of my friends who share my adolescent sensibilities, the wines helped me to remember the true goal of Mass Effect 2: Trying to score with sexy aliens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Uncharted 2 and Sierra Nevada Ovila Saison: The First of My Contributions to

I recently met a gentleman named Edward Domain. We both happened to be enjoying fine craft beer at one of Chicago's fine drinking establishments, and we got to talking about our websites. Mr. Domain founded, a website dedicated to putting the spotlight on tech-related innovation and entrepreneurship. I told him about this blog, and he asked if I would want to contribute a monthly article to his site. I couldn't turn down a chance to further spread the gospel of conscientiously pairing video games with booze. The first of my reviews for was posted here this morning. Check it out!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

I started playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves a couple days ago. As I've mentioned before, I like to play through a good chunk of a game before I pick a booze that I'm going to pair it with. That's not to say that I don't drink any booze at all while I'm playing through the early stages of a game. I just like to get a feel for the game in order to help me choose a suitable booze. That rhymed! Anyway, I haven't had any great ideas yet, so chime in if you have any suggestions.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

L.A. Noire and Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey and Redemption Rye

This post has been a long time coming. It took me a while to get my hands on L.A. Noire, and like with most epic games I discuss on this blog, I wanted to get into the meat of it before I reviewed a pairing. Tonight I finally sat down with two fine American whiskies to investigate their pertinence to L.A. Noire.

Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire looks like a sandbox game, though it is fairly linear. You are put in the shoes of Cole Phelps, a veteran of the Second World War and a rookie detective for the Los Angeles Police Department. The game has you investigate crime scenes, interview witnesses, interrogate suspects and fight the occasional gun battle. Set in the late 1940's, the game does an amazing job creating an immersive environment. The music, graphics, and script all draw heavily on historical fact. The game is dark, and many of the crimes that Cole investigates are on the grizzly side. Grizzly crimes call for strong booze.

I had a bit of Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey on my shelf. I also had a bit of Redemption Rye. The Leopold Bros. whiskey is based on pre-prohibition recipes for America's favorite liquor. This struck me as being inappropriate for a game inspired by the noir genre. Noir is characterized largely by post-war disillusionment. After World War II, the liquor industry was not purveying pinnacles of craftsmanship. Characters is Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett novels drink bourbon, and sometimes rye. Redemption Rye, therefore, may have been a more historically appropriate choice, but since I only had a little of it left, and since LBASBW tastes pretty damn good, I decided to try them side-by-side while playing through a case called "Manifest Destiny."
L.A. Noire drives players through scenery both shocking and mundane. An analogy of Jekyll and Hyde may be a bit dramatic, but the two whiskies I drank with the game exhibited a similar polarity. LBASBW smells of black tea, prune and pear. It is not exactly mellow at 86 proof but it is well-balanced. It is distilled from corn and rye, and a subtle graininess comes through, along with a faint hint of confectioner's sugar. Redemption Rye is a substantially more brash whiskey. It smells spicy, and it tastes spicier. Clove, nutmeg and cinnamon dominate this rye. A bit of pear and citrus come through, but this is a 92 proof whiskey that burns the tongue. Neither of these whiskies has the degree of toasty vanilla that bourbons do. I liked them both, though I especially appreciated the more balanced LBASBW.
I'm not sure I've ever had a whiskey that wouldn't go well with L.A. Noire. For most of the case that I played through while researching this post, I preferred drinking the Leopold Bros. But towards the end of it, the action heated up, and the plot started twisting in surprising ways. At that point I started to reach for the stronger stuff. The combination of whiskies helped me develop a new strategy during gun battles that I call "Always empty your entire clip when you shoot at someone." It works pretty well.
In conclusion, whiskey is good.

Monday, August 1, 2011

People Who Know What's Up

Some people know what's up. Some people don't. My man Kesith at Kesith's Gaming Rants wrote a post on drinking Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu while playing Chrono Trigger. Kesith know what's up. Another person who knows what's up is my man Erik, who recorded my band playing at the Red Line Tap back in June. We've just posted three tracks from the show here. It's got little to do with video games, although it does have something to do with booze.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

L.A. Noire

I've finally got my hands on L.A. Noire, and it's pretty awesome. It's like Grand Theft Auto mixed with a Raymond Chandler novel. Last night a couple friends stopped by with a bottle of Redemption Rye to check it out. It made for a lovely time. The whiskey went well with the game. I'm going to do further research and write a more lengthy post in a few days.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

GTA IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony with Vodka Tonics

Given the horrifyingly homophobic nature of the online gaming community that I was exposed to during my six month addiction to World of Warcraft back in 2006, I was a bit surprised when Rockstar decided to title their second and final Grand Theft Auto IV expansion "The Ballad of Gay Tony."

The Ballad of Gay Tony puts one in control of Luis Lopez, the business partner, bodyguard and all around right-hand man of Tony Prince, a.k.a. "Gay Tony," the owner of the largest chain of nightclubs in Liberty City. I don't want to over-analyze the sociopolitical implications of this game. It does contain its share of homosexual stereotypes. I believe that the game developers were striving for a message of tolerance by means of featuring gay characters whose sexualities are not the most prominent part of their personalities. I'm not sure how much they succeeded.

To gracefully segue from a serious issue to one that is most absurd, I needed a drink to pair with GTA4:TBoGT. The game involves managing nightclubs, which includes dancing and taking shots with customers. It also involves a whole bunch of missions where Luis agrees to accompany a character to casual meetings that quickly devolve into gunfire and explosions. My first thought was to drink vodka-Red Bulls, but because I hate energy drinks, and because I have to sleep sometimes, I decided on vodka tonics.

I used Svedka vodka and Canada Dry tonic, with a slice of lime. I generally prefer gin with tonic, but for this occasion, vodka seemed very much appropriate. While gin has a pleasant, fruity, floral bouquet, vodka has a more stark, antiseptic quality. This particular drink struck me as particularly analogous to the nature of a dance club, where aesthetic distractions are employed to mask the basic instincts that underlie. And this is not so different from Grand Theft Auto IV, in which a glossy interface allows the player to enact frightening acts of violence upon innocent people, should they choose to do so. I enjoyed the vodka tonics that I drank along with The Ballad of Gay Tony, and I believe that they added to my gameplay experience. I recommend this pairing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I found this on Youtube, and I wanted to share it with the world. Sp0ntanius here has some serious talent. Also check out:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 with 2008 Murphy-Goode Pinot Grigio

Many months ago, I met a man who makes wine for Murphy-Goode Winery. When I met him, his arm was in a cast. He enthusiastically explained that his injury occurred in the course of escorting his children to the local playground a few nights prior to our meeting. Just like parents do in Chicago, this Californian vintner was escorting his children to the playground while riding a skateboard, with a glass of Pinot Grigio in his hand. Unfortunately, at some point he bit it, and while he was able to preserve most of his glass of wine, his arm was not so lucky.

A while after meeting this man, I happened upon a bottle of 2008 Murphy-Goode Pinot Grigio. I knew that I had to pair it with some sort of skateboarding game. Old school games like Skate or Die! were tempting, but in the end, I went with my gut instinct. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 provided me with endless hours of entertainment when I was in high school. While Pinot Grigio might not be the first drink that comes to mind when conceptualizing pairings for this game, it was my god-given duty to try it out.

After literally dusting off my Gamecube controller and plugging it into my Wii, I booted up Tony Hawk 3 and, as always, was greeted with Motörhead's Ace of Spades. Oh hell yes. I was immediately swept away into wonderful memories. Memories of dominance. See, the thing is, I used to be, for lack of more polite verbiage, fucking ill at Tony Hawk 3. While I worked through the game's menus, I started to worry that perhaps I was no longer quite so ill at Tony Hawk 3. These worries proved to be unfounded. I'm still so ill at Tony Hawk 3 that the Beastie Boys are rolling over in their graves, concerned that their favorite adjective can't possibly do justice to the degree to which I wreck shit in this game.
It took me about 30 seconds to get my feel back for the game. The kickass soundtrack featuring The Ramones, Motörhead, KRS-One, Reverend Horton Heat, Del the Funky Homosapien kept me continuously pumped as I navigated old but familiar landscapes on my skateboard. At one point, it occurred to me that the music in the game was almost too good. I then stopped to think about how old the game is (it was released in 2001), and this made me feel so very old that I stopped worrying about it.
But y'all didn't navigate yourselves to to hear the sentimental drippings of a nostalgic 27 year old. You came for my unbelievably sound advice on what to drink when you play video games. The Murphy-Goode Pinot Grigio was tasty. A hearty body was accompanied by a pleasantly floral nose, flavors of green apple, lemon zest, and pineapple, with a somewhat spicy, minerally finish. I enjoyed this wine with this game, although I can't really explain why. White wine doesn't do as much damage to my gaming skills as certain other boozes do. I also could have been drinking straight ethanol and I probably still would have torn Tony Hawk 3 apart. In any case, I recommend this pairing, 'cause why the hell not?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GTA IV: The Lost and Damned with Good Ol' Jim Beam

I'm a cowboy/ On a steel horse I ride/ And I'm wanted (wanted!)/ Dead or alive.
~ John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.

The words transcribed above not only evoke feelings that I have felt all too powerfully while filling the shoes of Johnny Klebitz, anti-hero of Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, but they are indeed also found in a song that is included in the game's soundtrack. Riding around Liberty City on a chopper, listening to motorcycle-relevant songs and sipping whiskey makes a lot of sense. I'll earnestly disclaim that drunken driving is disgusting and terribly irresponsible. But whipping around the most beautifully-rendered virtual city that I've ever seen while loaded off straight cheap whiskey is really fun.

The first of the two GTA IV expansions has been decent thus far. Our hero, Johnny, is not as interesting or as sympathetic as Niko Bellic, the star of the original. But it's hard to go wrong with a biker-gang theme in the world of Grand Theft Auto. I won't waste our time over-analyzing the game, or even this pairing. Jack Daniels seems like something that the violent criminals in this game might drink, but due to a bad experience I had at a young age, and also due to my possession of taste buds, I'm not about to spend my money on that monstrosity.

No, a situation like this called for Good Ol' Jim Beam. Known for being the official whiskey of The Bomb Sawyers, it's also a great pairing for games involving motorcycle gangs. Playing GTA IV sober, I sometimes feel sad when I accidentally maim pedestrians or shoot dozens of innocent bystanders. Drinking straight Kentucky Bourbon, with it's hot honey-vanilla goodness, gives me the peace of mind to keep on going, regardless of the civilian death toll.

I'm looking forward to the second GTA IV expansion game: The Ballad of Gay Tony. I swear I'm going to get to my Tony Hawk/Pinot Grigio pairing soon. And there's still my Faxanadu/Mead pairing and Portal 2/Night Train pairings to look forward to. God help me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 with a Delicious Martini(s)

I've had Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 in my Wii for about a month now, and it's been a roller coaster ride. I was terrible at it at first, then I got better, then I hurt my back. I don't know whether I hurt it from lifting a lot of heavy boxes at work or by playing Tiger Woods, but it made playing the game a lot less fun. Then my back got better, and then I got even better at the game, but then my virtual opponents got better, and I was back to sucking. For the sake of my back, and because L.A. Noire and Portal 2 are next in my Gamefly queue, I decided to play one last round tonight and mail it on back.

I've never played golf in real life, and if I did I'm not sure what I would drink. While golf is a particularly civilized sport, I didn't feel like sipping on a dainty beverage between shots. As far as I can tell, golf is about two things: Being classy and getting wasted. So what could be more perfect than a martini?

I made my martini with 1 part Martini and Rossi dry vermouth, 6 parts highly-underrated Seagram's gin, and a splash of pickle juice. I can do without vermouth when I have fancy gin, but I'm not exactly John D. or Catherine T. MacArthur. I used a pickle garnish, cuz that's how I roll. This all makes for a mildly sweet, slightly salty, and deliciously savory martini. I sipped it intermittently throughout the tragedy that unfolded over 18 holes, and it really helped me along. I maintained par for the front 9, but things fell apart after that. Gin is great in these situations. While whiskey angers up my blood, gin affects my spirit more gently. If I had been sucking down Manhattans, I might have thrown my Wiimote through the window when I quadruple-bogeyed on the 18th hole. However, thanks to my martini, I merely spoke the word "fuck" aloud at a modestly high volume.

COMING SOON: L.A. Noire with Leopold Bros. Whiskey, Faxanadu with Wild Blossom Mead, Mega Man X with something, Portal 2 with Night Train!!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

God of War 3 with Highway 78 Scotch Ale and Hellhound On My Ale

It's been way too long since I've posted. I've been busy rocking out with my band and brewing beer and figuring out the logistics of starting a brewpub, and I've severely neglected playing video games. Sure, I've gotten in a good amount of Madden and Tiger Woods golf, but I haven't had the energy to research any particularly interesting pairings. Fortunately, I had no pressing engagements today, and I found myself starting up God of War 3 for the first time. And then I played it for 10 hours.
Playing God of War 3 for 10 hours in a day is exhausting. I can't even count how many people I ripped in half and disemboweled. I beheaded Helios, belegged Hermes, and pounded Hercules' face into mush. I had never played a God of War game before today, and I found it disgusting, but entertaining. I clearly didn't find it overly objectionable, as I only stopped playing to eat and to go buy booze to pair with it.

It's not that I really loved the game all that much. It's pretty fun, and it's certainly well-paced, but mostly I was determined to do nothing productive today, and the game helped me to achieve that. God of War 3 builds on the story from God of War and God of War 2. This story is complicated and pointless. The real point of God of War 3, and I can only assume the first two entries in the series, is to whoop ass all the time. Our antihero, Kratos, is determined to kill Zeus, and nothing is going to stand in his way. A lot of things try to stand in his way, but they get whooped in the ass. That's a really polite way of saying that they get shredded by large blades attached to long chains. It's kind of like the newer Prince of Persia games, but with a little less platforming action and a lot more blood and evisceration.
I was tempted to get something Greek to drink with this game. If my local booze shop had had a red Greek wine, I probably would have bought it. But they only had a white Greek wine, and that hardly seems hardcore enough for God of War 3. I would have bought some ouzo, but thankfully they didn't have it. I do like ouzo, but if I had drank it while playing God of War 3 my brain might have exploded. Instead of going with Greek booze, I went out on a limb and got a couple of limited-release beers that I thought could work.

The first beer I opened was a collaborative effort from brewers from Stone, Green Flash, and Port Brewing. As is noted on the bottle, it is surprising that the three of the hop-happiest breweries in the world would collaborate to make a malt-focused beer. Highway 78 is a Scotch ale, and it is strong and delicious. It has a wonderful raisiny maltiness up front, a bit of yeasty breadiness in the middle, and a long, relatively dry finish. It made me feel like Braveheart, which is a good thing to feel like when one is playing God of War 3. Highway 78, like the game, is pretty intense. They were a good match for each other.
The other beer I opened, Dogfish Head's Hellhound On My Ale, is also intense. I almost followed up that last sentence by saying "Intensely shitty," but I try to reserve hyperbole for positive commentary. The beer is not intensely shitty, but it does not do justice to its stated purpose, which is to serve as a tribute to Robert Johnson on the 100th anniversary of his birth. It's a double IPA with some lemon thrown in as a nod to Blind Lemon Jefferson. This is stupid, and makes no sense. I'm not sure exactly what kind of beer would be most fitting to honor a Delta blues legend, but I'm sure that it is not a double IPA with lemon. If Hellhound On My Ale was extremely delicious, I might be persuaded otherwise, but it is a hot mess. It tastes like alcohol, with a lot of hops, and a little too much sugar. There's a little lemon in there as well, which only accentuates the overpowering booziness of this beer.

Fortunately, hot boozy beers aren't so very bad when one is playing God of War 3. I could have been drinking shots of cheap vodka or Night Train and it probably would have worked. Hellhound On My Ale was powerful, so it was appropriate. Adding to this appropriateness was the fact that over the course of my day I ripped many heads off of many many-headed hellhounds. Take that Cerberuses.
I was going to write a special post to mark the one year anniversary of The Art of Pairing Video Games with Booze, but then I forgot. Anyway, it's been over a year now and I've reviewed over 30 pairings. At times I thought I would run out of ideas, but more keep coming to me. Keep checking back, because we still have a lot of important things to learn together. Important things about life. And video games. And booze.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mega Man 2 by The Greatest Bits: A Boozical Review

Like a beautiful tree, The Art of Playing Video Games and Booze must sometimes branch out in new and wonderful directions. A while back The Greatest Bits, a self-described "Dutch dj/producer inspired by video games from the 80's and 90's" sent me a copy of his latest album "Mega Man 2." The Greatest Bits describes his Mega Man 2 album as "'chiptune crossover' style, combining 8-bit retro-style sounds with real instruments of the 21st century." It consists of remixes of the 13 songs found in the various levels (and intro and credits) of Mega Man 2. The original versions found in the game are awesome. It is clear that composer Takashi Tateishi set out to create excellent music, as opposed to excellent 8-bit video game music. The quality of music found in NES games varies wildly, and Tateishi's makes the bulk of it look pathetic compared to his work.

In his Mega Man 2 album, The Greatest Bits fleshes out and the game's score. Drums and guitar enhance the already-rocking music that has driven me to the defeat of Dr. Wiley so very many times. Multitudes of effects are employed and songs are re-sequenced to accentuate their grooves and elevate their dramatic dynamics. But let's get down to the details about some individual tracks. Tiana, who you all know from Smoking Zora and my own ultimate Super Metroid live-blog experience, stopped by to weigh in on Mega Man 2. I had previously asked The Greatest Bits what kind of booze I should drink while listening to his album. He recommended beers from Leffe, Westmalle, Grimbergen, and La Chouffe, along with any good hefeweizen. I wanted to pick up some Ommegang Gnomegang, a collaboration between Brasserie D'Achouffe and Ommegang, but I did my shopping at the last minute. The closest I could get was Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale, which I felt was reasonably similar in style to some of the beers suggested by TGB.

I gotta say, sipping on a delicious beer and listening to this album was substantially more relaxing than playing through a video game as quickly as possible (although I did do this at one point in my research in this post. I'll explain later). Tiana and I cranked up the stereo, and scribbled out some notes on individual tracks. "Airman" was her "#1 choice of soundtrack for drag-racing down a Florida highway" and made her feel like she WAS Mega Man. TGB's "Metalman" remix increased the song's intensity, and gave it a catchier beat. "Woodman" sounded more ominous and anxious than ever before, giving me the feeling that I really was plunging head-first through a forest filled with robotic spiders and bunny rabbits armed with only my trusty Mega Buster, Metal Blade, Atomic Fire, Crash Bombs, Bubble Lead, Quick Boomerang, Air Shooter, and Flash Stopper.
"Bubbleman" may have been my favorite track of all. TGB's version sounded rich and waterier than ever. I mean that sincerely, in case you doubted me. Tiana thought that listening to "Flashman" was like robo-tripping (she would know), and that she could probably "kill some @#$*&@#*$&^" while listening to "Quickman." I agreed. "Dr. Wiley Stage 1-2" was rocking off the charts (I love flangers), as was "Ending Theme."
As part of my review of this album, I played through MM2 in the order that The Greatest Bits has arranged his tracks. The game lets you play through stages in whichever order you like, and depending on how you do it, different weapons that are collected throughout the game can or cannot be used against certain enemies. I did not enjoy trying to play through Crashman's stage before defeating Metalman and obtaining Metal Blade. Stupid birds kept knocking me down ladders. Other than that, there were no glaring problems with the order of levels that the album presents, although it is not how I would have done it. I was at least very glad that Airman came first.
The Greatest Bits "Mega Man 2" is fun to listen to. I believe that it gives the game's music a richness and intensity that shows what it might have been like if it had been composed in the Playstation 3 era. It also makes for one hell of a rave. Everybody get your 'tussin!

Next up: I got Pinot Grigio and Skateboaring, Faxanadu and mead, and maybe one last crack at Mafia II (but probably not). But all I really wanna do is play Tiger Woods 2011. I think I'll do that right now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Taste of Chicago: We Did It Games's Path-O-Gen and Half Acre Beers

A spotlight has been fixed on the Chicago beer scene recently. Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island, one of the largest craft breweries in America. Goose Island played a major part in my development as a beer drinker, and I have featured their beers in several past posts. I am no fan of AB-InBev, and their acquisition of Goose Island does make me somewhat less interested in supporting what was once my Chicago brewery of choice. That said, I do not expect a decline in the quality of Goose Island's beers.
But let's change the subject. I've been wanting to do a pairing on We Did It Games's first release, Path-O-Gen, ever since it was first released a few weeks ago. We Did It Games was founded in the not-too-distant past by an old friend of mine, Wayne, and his co-founder, Gabe. Path-O-Gen is a vertical-scrolling shooter, in the spirit of such classic games as Life Force. But instead of piloting a spaceship flying through a generic outer space setting, you control Gen, an adorable pathogen, fighting her way through the body of Dick, an asshole who needs to learn a lesson.

Path-O-Gen is a wonderfully-constructed game. It is difficult. Very difficult, in fact. Befitting of its genre, it requires a balance of weaving between enemies and blasting away at them. The game's mechanics are well-executed, and it is nicely paced. Just as you learn to deal with the tricky situation at hand, something else comes along to make it trickier. Helping you along the way are some classic Gradius-style power-ups that allow you to cut through enemies like a hot knife through butter. Path-O-Gen's visuals are fantastic. The backgrounds, representing the insides of Dick, are colorfully rendered, and the various microorganisms that one battles throughout the game are remarkably expressive.
As I have already mentioned, the game is difficult. It is frustrating in the way that old-school video games were. It's unforgiving nature makes it that much more satisfying. It also makes drinking beer that much more satisfying, and I did not fail to drink beer while playing the game tonight.

I asked Wayne and Gabe what they would pair with Path-O-Gen. Wayne suggested Three Floyds' Gumballhead and Gabe recommended Rogue Dead Guy Ale. Neither of these beers were available to me last night, but I was able to get my hands on Half Acre's Gossamer, as well as their Over Ale. Gossamer drinks like a milder version of Gumballhead. It has a nice fruity aroma and a wheaty, hoppy flavor. At 4.2% alcohol by volume, it is refreshing and very much appropriate when it comes to playing video games that take a long time to master. Over Ale is a delicious brown ale. It is very well-rounded, with a pleasant roasted malt character and just enough hops to round it out. It is fairly dry, which I usually consider to be a good thing in a brown ale. While it is not as sessionable as Gossamer, it was still very enjoyable drinking it with Path-O-Gen.
I had a great time playing this game with these beers. The beer was brewed just a few miles from where I live, and the game was, at least in part, created in Chicago. The fact that I was able to put together such a good pairing from local products goes to show one thing: I'm trendy as hell, and I'm also great for the environment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Catalunya is Awesome

I'm sitting here after a hard day's work drinking a 2009 Vinos Piñol Terra Alta Ludovicus. It makes me think about how awesome Catalunya is. In 2008 I had the privilege of spending a few days in Barcelona, and it is one of the most astoundingly beautiful places I have ever visited. Delicious food, amazing paintings, and above all else, the awe-inspiring architecture of Antoni Gaudi really struck a chord with me. Barcelona was the first stop on my tour of Spain, and it took me a while to get a sense for where and when to find good food and drink. Due to this, and to the Euro being pretty strong at the time, I didn't drink much memorable Catalan wine while I was there.

The Terra Alta I'm drinking at the moment is delicious, and it brings to mind another gift that Catalunya has given to the world: Vega. Vega, of Street Fighter II fame, is not my favorite character in the game. However, I have on many occasions enjoyed performing repetitive wall jump-swan dive-body slams on opponents who found themselves helpless in my handsome, be-clawed grasp. I think that a good Priorat might be just the thing to accentuate my smugness during such a battle. Come next paycheck, I'm going to haul the old SNES up from Hyde Park, buy a bottle of Camins del Priorat, and find some sucker who insists on playing as Zangief.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reflections on Super Metroid, Upcoming Posts, and More!

I'd like to start out this post by thanking Tiana, and to a lesser extent, Jason, Zack, and Anonymous, for their contributions to last week's live-blogging. And thanks to everybody who tuned in to check it out. It was awesomely fun. I've played through Super Metroid in one sitting 8 or 10 times, and this was surely the most enjoyable of them all. Bells Hop Slam, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, and my own homebrew were all consumed during my destruction of Mother Brain. Out of the three, I thought that the wild ale that I brewed in December of 2009 was probably the best match for the game. The beer is along the lines of Orval. It's relatively lightness and funky flavor made it appropriate for my three-hour tour through the depths of the planet Zebes. The other beers were good, but they dulled the fantastically sharp Super Metroid-playing edge that I have honed over the years. It's not as if I died at any point (I did come close once or twice), but my skills were certainly not at their peak.

I'm excited about a few different upcoming posts. Mafia II deserves another chance with another Sicilian red. Faxanadu recently became available on the Wii Virtual Console, and I'll be giving that a whirl. I'm particularly looking forward to finding a pairing for We Did It Games's Path-o-Gen. Wayne, an old friend of mine, is one of the founders of We Did It, and I'm hoping to get his opinion on a pairing for the game.
The Art of Pairing Video Games and Booze is also going to be taking a temporary departure from its typical content to review The Greatest Bits' new album, Mega Man 2. I've asked Nanne of The Greatest Bits what to drink while I listen to the album, and I think it will make for a good evening.
I'll start tackling the above metaphorical fullback next week. In the next few nights, I'll be practicing hard for my upcoming show with The Bomb Sawyers at Miska's (2156 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago) this Saturday, March 26th. We'll be playing with Erik Cameron, Steven Gilpin, and architecture. The fun will get started around 8pm. The show is free, and it's going to rock.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Super Metroid and Bell's Hop Slam: LIVE!!!

Welcome one and all to a sensational live event! I'll be playing through Super Metroid and drinking Bell's Hop Slam while Tiana blogs about it and drinks Hop Slam and Jason trolls Tiana's posts and drinks Hop Slam. Will I beat Super Metroid before I pass out from exhaustion? Will a surprise guest grace us with its rare and much-
sought-after deliciousness? Keep checking back in and find out. I'm going to hand things over to Tiana now. Live-blog away, Tiana!

12:25am: finish time: 2:29. "Not a personal best by any means, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. you can quote me on that."

12:23am: adorable animals freed, which is really the whole point of this game

12:21am: Giant Metroid dies, but not before bestowing rainbow powers all over this piece. Mother Brain suffers Samus Araneurysm

12:19am: Return of the giant Metroid!

12:18am: Everybody knows she's a m****rf***king monster!

12:17am: Mother Brain freed from her fishtank
12:16am: Samus follows the path carved by the mysterious giant Metroid. All enemies have disappeared. Crateria lays silent.

12:13am: A giant Metroid grabs Samus and eats her down to the bare nub of life!

12:10am: First Metroid sighted, dealt with

12:08am: Samus runs down a misty hall of spaceship wreckage to a room where a golden statue stands. It is forged of four beasts, each with a jeweled eye. One by one, the statues crack and turn to stone. The stone sinks deep into the trembling ground....

12:05am: the numbers game: 10 energy tanks. 2 reserves. 110+ missiles. 25 super missiles. 20 super bombs. screw attack. etc.

12:02am: Today is a great day for Super Metroid.

11:58pm: In some ways, Ben feels that he's playing the game with more complete clarity than ever before.

11:57pm: If you play this game right, every five or ten minutes you get a power-up or take an elevator, which makes it in some ways the ultimate drinking game.

11:56pm: I can't even describe how smooth this one move just was so I'm not even going to try.

11:54pm: Jason describes his live-trolling as 'forsplicable.'

11:52pm: 'Power bombs don't kill people. People kill people. And Samus kills everythang.'

11:50pm: On another personal note, my right eye is getting really blurry. This live-blogging thing needs health insurance.

11:44pm: Vanquished.

11:43pm: The Chronicles of Ridley:

11:41pm: Parents, now is the time to put your children to bed, as the massacre to follow is intended for mature audiences only. Only carnage can come of this.

11:36pm: Still in Ridley's lair. Ridley's still laying low.

11:31pm: Classic Metroid switcheroo. One of those statues that's been holding your presents this.whole.time comes to life and starts bombing everything in sight! This betrayal marks the beginning of the end.

11:29pm: music gets ominous.

11:22pm: "A Mr. Shout-Out to Mr. Taco for laying a strong foundation for this game. You can quote me on that." - Ben

11:21pm: FKBS is fairly weak at 11.5%

11:20pm: space jump in tha house! 'i'll be flipping all over the place. you can quote me on that.' - Ben


11:13pm: It might be the powerful alcohol, or the trace amounts of caffeine, or the intense hit of flavor in this beer, but Ben is getting his second wind

11:10pm: We discuss the NCAA results to date. Jason has Morehead State in the Sweet Sixteen so he's acting all smug. I'm 10 out of 15 in both leagues.

11:04pm: "Damn. It must be so hard to learn a game like this that has so many secrets," Jason says. "Yeah dawg. That's why it's raw," Ben replies.

11:01pm: Ben uses the grappling beam for underwater acrobatics. Jason chastises him for his malingering.

10:58pm: FKBS is 'pretty good. Beer's pretty fresh but the coffee flavor tastes stale.'

10:57pm: Eerily silent glass tube, shattered

10:55pm: On personal note, this Wildebeest is pairing remarkably well with this slice of carrot cake.

10:52pm: Stats update - 5 energy tanks. 1 reserve. 85 missles. 10 super missles. 10 power bombs. grappling beam. charge beam. spazer. wave beam. ice beam. about to get spring ball.

10:49pm: OMG VIP! Our secret guest is revealed: Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout!!!! Released earlier today, people across the nation are straight.up.flipping.out about this beer. There's been screaming in the streets. Rending of garments. Reverence. Exctasy. This is a truly landmark moment for Video Games and Booze and indeed for the whole world, as tonight's is the first recorded pairing of FKBS with SMetroid EVER!!! Stay tuned.

10:41pm: gravity suit. heavy shit

10:38pm: Ben brainstorms other things that could go well with Super Metroid:
  • Boulevard Saison Brett
  • A nice white Bordeaux
  • Pisco Sour
[All consumed in moderation, of course. Drink responsibly, kids.]

10:33pm: In honor of St. Patrick's Day, it's the leprechaun video. Who all seen the leprechaun say YEAH!

10:28pm: Review of current pairing (Wildebeest): "This isn't the last one, but it's also a little lighter and more refreshing. Also, the yeast are kind of like little Metroids." - Ben

10:26pm: everybody says Phantoon is so boss, but I'm pretty sure he just got owned:
10:20pm: aaaaaand we're back in a hallway.

10:20pm: We're outside! (in the game I mean, not in real life) (but for the record Chicago was beautiful today)

10:16pm: For the record, Jason is waaaaaay worse at live-trolling than I am at live-blogging. That's not a burn. That's just truth.

10:13pm: grappling beam: so extreme.

10:09pm: Ben pops an ibuprofen. Best pairing of the evening so far.

10:04pm: while we wait:

10:01pm: He found a way back. In the meantime, we've cracked a bottle of the Wildebeest homebrew. Reports to come.

9:59pm: oh CRAP! Ben needed some kind of super-bomb? But he forgot and went to get the grapple instead and now he's lost and doesn't know what to do. Contemplating Samus-cide as a solution.

9:56pm: Jason admits he can't troll in a vacuum.


9:52pm: Ben uses his clout as CEO of Video Games and Booze to make Jason get us more beers. Well played, Ben. Well played.

9:49pm: Ben is momentarily flustered by an enemy in the bubble chamber. Then he finds a secret passageway.

9:42pm: Fun facts (Wikipedia-styles): Super Metroid, released in 1994 by Nintendo, was the third in the Metroid series. It's also one of few early Nintendo games not designed by Miyamoto. Even after watching Ben play this game at least 4 times, I was still surprised to discover that the plot involves rescuing a baby Metroid from Space Pirates! Samus apparently imprinted on that Metroid-lette in an earlier episode? James notes that this edition includes 'strong maternal themes.'

9:35pm: They make fun of me for thinking 10% isn't that strong. In my head, I make fun of them for being wimps.

9:32pm: We consider the ABV of Hopslam. Though it tastes fairly strong, it's actually only 10%. Great for extended gaming.

9:29pm: Jason's failing his trolling duties cuz he's too busy live-trolling Ben (IRL). Latest zinger: "This is like amateur hour. Super Amateuroid."

9:24pm: WTF is a spazer that's not even a thing

9:24pm: Going down to Norfair. Gonna get some jumping boots.

9:21pm: This dude:

9:19pm: First mini-boss - that giant Venus flytrap-looking emm-effer.

9:14pm: Ben disagrees with my judgment, saying that he can sip every time he gets a power-up, which is like a built-in celebration.

9:13pm: I'd like to comment on the pairing at hand. I'm not sure any drink that requires somewhat constant attention, like a cold beer, is great for a game like this. Tooling on aliens seems to be taking a lot of Ben's attention while the beer sweats, alone, on the table.

9:07pm: Morphing Ball! And missiles!

9:03pm: "So far the pairing is working out wonderful because everything about it is wonderful. It's not the freshest Hopslam, but it was in my fridge all along. And you know. That counts for something. It preserves the flavor." - Ben

9:00pm: "Goooooooooooooooooooo!!!" - Ben

8:59pm: Hopslams are distributed. Emotions are high.

8:56pm and 30 seconds: he put it down again and walked away. So far, so thrilling.

8:56pm: Oh shit Ben just picked up his WiiMote for the first time!!!!!

8:55pm CST: Thanks Ben! I'm honored to be part of this illustrious event. I shall strive to do my best.