How to Booze and Play Videogames
So, you want to learn the fine art of drinking and gaming, eh? Well, you?ve come to the right place. I?ve been drinking and gaming pretty much since your mom was in short pants.
I first discovered the wonders of combining booze and videogames in the ?90s. I was living in Chicago and working as the most terrible waiter the East Bank Club has ever known. It?s true. I spilled things. I loafed. If I brought you soup, I?d forget the spoon. I was truly awful.
After working a lunch or dinner shift, I?d stop by Lakeshore Liquors and use my tips to buy a twelver before heading back to my 380-square-foot roach-tastic apartment. I?d pop open a can -- ftttshhhhhh -- and nudge the purple switch to the "on" position on my Super Nintendo -- thunk -- and let my cares and woes fade.
Those were not great years. But drinking and videogames helped me endure. I learned that when done properly, drinking and gaming, like chocolate and peanut butter, like Siegfried and Roy, like a sexy lady draped across the hood of a red car, can be downright transcendent.
Step 1: Prepare properly. Make sure you have enough alcohol on hand to do the job. If it?s a weeknight, a sixer should be more than adequate for most people. If it?s the weekend, go ahead and get the twelver. What you want to avoid is having to run out into the street half-buzzed and looking for more alcohol at 10 o?clock at night.
Also: Make sure you?ve got food on hand. At some point you?re going to be hungry. Eating is essential. In Chicago, I?d usually grab a gyro from the place on Broadway. In New York, it was Chinese from New Peking. Even if you don?t eat the food right away, chances are good that in a few hours, you?ll be glad it?s there.
This means it's time to go to bed. No, seriously. Go to bed. Now.
Step 2: Pace yourself. Never pause the game to take a pull off your Budweiser. Instead, wait for a natural break in the action. A "Now Loading" screen or a cut scene are examples of ideal moments to do your guzzling. Syncing the rhythm of your drinking with the rhythm of the game makes for a much more organic experience.
Another good time to swig: at the end of a level, or after defeating a boss or sub-boss. For some reason, even cheap beer tastes good during these moments.
Warning: Games like Resident Evil 4 work Quick Time Events into cut scenes. Be careful not to be mid-sip when you?re suddenly being prompted to hit the X button. This may result in spilled and/or sprayed beer.
If you are constantly pausing the game to drink, you?re no longer gaming; you?re drinking. If you?re that interested in drinking, you probably should not be drinking at all.
And if you find yourself opening two or more beers at a time in the name of saving yourself a trip to the fridge, consider that another sign that you should not be drinking. At all.
One more caveat: Drinking and gaming generally only works with offline gaming. If you?re taking your game online, your Left 4 Dead 2 teammates are not going to accept the fact that a Jockey rode Rochelle off into the sunset because Coach (you) was too busy using the facilities.
Step 3: Set a time frame and stick to it. Drinking and gaming in tandem, when done to extremes, can lead to drooling, passing out, and the occasional bout of self-defecation. The idea is to avoid doing either to an extreme. My advice is to give yourself a window of time -- say, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. -- during which you can indulge in your drinking and gaming.
Once the window closes, put the beer and the controller down. As an old wise man once said, Respect the window, and you respect yourself.
See this? If you're looking at this, it also means it's time to go to bed.
Step 4: Familiarize yourself with the signs that you are finished for the evening. Should you find an enemy or a level too difficult, this is likely the first sign that your drinking-gaming session is winding down. You have two choices from here. One: You can call it a night. Two: Eat the food that you pre-purchased and drink no fewer than three glasses of water in succession.
If you chose No. 2, you can take another run at whatever was giving you a hard time in the game. If you still are not having any success, that?s it -- you?re done. Brush your teeth and go to bed.
Step 5: Resist temptation. You will think, at this point, that you still have some gaming and drinking left in you. Know that I am speaking from experience here when I say this: You do not. You will be tempted to think that only this particular game is giving you a hard time. You will think that if you try another game -- say, if you load up your saved game from Midnight Club: Los Angeles -- you will be successful.
Resist this temptation. If you find yourself staring at your shelf of games at midnight, trying to figure out what to play next, recognize this for what it is: a sign that you are done for the night.
This is not something you're going to want to see tomorrow morning.
Step 6: Clean up before you go to bed. Avoid the dreaded "scene of the crime" moment. All beer bottles must be collected. All food should be tossed or refrigerated. Garbage should be taken out. Fluff the pillows. Put the dishes in the dishwasher. Spend five minutes doing these things. These simple acts will make tomorrow exponentially better.
Finally: Be safe. Drinking too much is stupid. Knowing when enough is enough is a very adult, mature thing to know. The goal is to log some purposeful hours of gaming here. Wandering around the Wasteland at 4 a.m. surrounded by beer bottles and half-eaten pizza? That?s a waste of time, my friend.
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