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.
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