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.


  1. I'll be checking the high scores when v1.1 is up and you'd better be on the boards, Saller!