Video games are awesome.
Whether they’re your hobby, passion, occupation, side project, or general fascination, a good video game can stay with you for your whole life.
And continuing with the Gents’ borderline-obsessive publications about alcohol, we’re going to talk about the genres of those games and the drinks that go well with them.
So grab a drink, pick up your sticks, and strap in!
Examples: Call of Duty, Gears of War, Cuphead
A shooter is any game where your main way of interacting with the environment is a gun (or guns).
This wildly successful genre caught on especially with games that took a first-person perspective.
First-person shooters, like Halo and Call of Duty, are predicated on the idea of turning violence into fun.
It sounds bad on paper, right? That’s why shooter games have been blamed for inspiring violent behavior in children and teens.
While the verdict is still out on that (I actually haven’t checked in years), a shooter is still a fun way to relax or get your adrenaline pumping.
They’re easy to understand, quick to start, and often replayable for years at a time, thanks to multiplayer.
You don’t have to think much to enjoy a shooter, although the more die-hard players can go professional and actually earn a living doing exactly that.
So for a game genre that’s a solid catch-all in the video game world, why not go with a solid catch-all drink?
We recommend jumping into you favorite shooter with a good ol’ brewski.
Our preference is Yuengling since we’re from Pennsylvania and we grew up surrounded by the stuff.
But your Budweisers and Millers will work too, just like your regional beer of choice.
In fact, you can go full-on with a craft beer if you’re super into your beers and shooters.
But whatever you do, don’t get surprised when you start losing. Nothing tells you it’s time to stop quite like losing your sense of coordination in a video game.
Examples: Civilization, Total War
The strategy genre includes any game that requires you to plan out your success by using the game’s mechanics, adjusting that plan to new criteria, and staying one step ahead of your opponent.
Strategy games are the polar opposite of shooters in that strategy games require some sense of dedication to the genre to start.
It’s a challenge to pick up a game like Civilization unless you know you’re already into strategy games.
They take time to learn. You have to accept that you’ll fail before you succeed.
Worst of all, you may never even win, depending on the game.
So what can you possibly drink with a video game genre that’s based on a steep learning curve?
Wine and strategy games go together like hangovers and regret.
Strategy games require a certain sophistication to play well, and it’s easy for any accomplishment to feel like a major step forward in your personal development within the game itself.
Plus, once you win, the payoff is huge. You didn’t just pick up a game and start playing.
You had to learn something. You had to create new ideas and test them out.
You had to conquer an enemy instead of just shooting one.
So grab a wine glass the size of your head and fill it to the top. You’re going to lose track of time in a dizzying haze of statistics and unsure choices that’ll burn away at your patience and make you question everything about why you chose this hobby.
Examples: Knowledge Is Power, Mario Party
Party games are any video game that require you to play with other people.
These games are great as the focal points of parties, but they’re also ideal for playing off to the side while still providing some entertainment for a full house.
Party games are generally simple in their concepts — like trivia games — and difficult to perfect — again, like trivia games.
The more people you add to a party game, the more fun it becomes!
So grab a drink that everyone enjoys!
Pairing: Jungle Juice
For the uninitiated, jungle juice is a collection of pretty much every alcohol and mixer that someone has in their kitchen.
But because that’s horrendously gross, most people just make a big bowl of vodka and Kool-Aid.
Everyone drinks the same thing at relatively the same pace, and everyone enjoys the game that much more as they go.
It’s a great way to spend some time with friends or break the ice at a party where you don’t know anyone but the host!
Examples: Tomb Raider, Minecraft, Dark Souls
Adventure games include anything where the plot requires the player to go on a prolonged, epic-style quest that reflects a character’s internal motivations.
Adventure games generally have a hard-and-fast story where you progress through them at a pace that the game sets.
You can’t deviate from that pace, and you’re meant to enjoy the game at the rate that the creators intended — kind of like when you’re at a restaurant that doesn’t have prices on the menu and you can’t choose how your steak gets done.
These games provide a mix of running around, defeating enemies, and figuring out puzzles to progress.
They’re rewarding in their own ways, and they often only have a handful of mechanics to figure out for the whole game.
As a result, they’re a lot like a good book.
You start the game, enjoy the writing, and come up with your own theories about how it’ll end.
There are twists and turns and wheels and burns and at some point, your best in-game friend will probably betray you.
So how do you get ready for intrigue while maintaining the coordination and faculties long enough to enjoy an adventure game?
Pairing: Whiskey cocktails
Serving yourself a whiskey cocktail to go along with an adventure game is a lot like having a whiskey cocktail while you’re in a leather arm chair reading a Hemingway novel.
Even if it’s bad, you’re still having a good night.
Go heavy on the mixer, though. If you’re going to finish an adventure game in a night (4-8 hours), you don’t want to lose your faculties halfway through.
Examples: Assassin’s Creed, Portal
The action genre applies to any video game that requires you use hand-eye coordination, timing, and momentum.
As a result, most games are at least partially listed in this genre.
Action games are fun because there’s always something happening.
In stealth games, you have to take stock of your surroundings and creep along to stay out of sight.
In run-amok games (like Grand Theft Auto), you just do whatever, whenever and enjoy yourself.
No matter what action game you’re playing, the bulk of it will require you to move, which is a fairly general term.
But that’s why so many games fall into this category!
So shouldn’t you have a drink that incorporates
Beer is a great companion to an action game because it’s the “catch-all” genre of drinks, in a way.
Beer is all over the place, just like action games. It comes in a lot of shapes, sizes, and ABVs — just like action games.
So if you’re going to play the generalist genre of video games, grab a six pack and crack into the generalist genre of alcohol!
Examples: Madden, Don Bradman Cricket ’17
Sports games are any game that allow you to play…
Another game, I guess?
They’re a blast when you absolutely love a specific sport and want to place yourself dead center as the reason for your favorite team’s success.
Madden, FIFA, and a whole bunch of other franchises are all predicated on one sport.
Also, did you know there’s a cricket video game?
Because there’s a cricket video game.
Of the three of us Gents, I probably know the most about cricket because I think it involves bats and someone called a “bowler.”
But hey, it’s a video game.
If you’re going to spend an evening helping your sports team move the sports ball into the sports number zone, you might as well drink like you’re at the actual game.
So have a beer! Preferably, a beer that you paid at least three times the cost that you’d find in a bottle shop.
After all, you want to stay true to the experience!
Examples: Super Mario, Super Meat Boy
Platformers are video games where you have to jump and maneuver around the game environment to get to the end.
The most famous platformer of all time is Super Mario Bros for the original Nintendo, but the genre has evolved and branched into a lot of different directions.
Regardless of what platformer you choose to play, you can bet that you’ll have to run, jump, and time a lot of your actions to get from one level to the next.
As a result, platformers don’t require a whole lot of thought or planning. Instead, they’re based on repetition, muscle memory, and learning the “feel” for how a game controls.
So what can you drink when you have to worry about repetition and developing your in-game skills?
Pairing: Vodka cocktails
Vodka is great because you can mix it with just about anything and it’ll taste good.
(If not good, then at least halfway decent.)
Sweet, savory, bitter — vodka can taste any which way you want to flavor it.
So what better drink to go with a video game genre that’s spread out in so many different directions?
If you’re playing Super Mario Bros, mix an old-fashioned vodka tonic.
If you’re playing Super Meat Boy, get a savory Bloody Mary.
Vodka cocktails: There’s one for every platformer.
Examples: Street Fighter, Tekken
Fighting games — also called brawlers — include games where the main purpose and all in-game mechanics revolve around one-on-one fights.
Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are probably the best-known examples of this genre, though its popularity has decreased since the arcade boom of the 1980s and 1990s.
Still, fighters like Super Smash Brothers have seen a resurgence just form how much fun they are, especially with the advent of online multiplayer and lightning-fast Internet connections.
You have to be kind of “twitchy” to play a fighter well, and success is largely based on your reaction times.
Plus, you have to remember complex combos that can give you an edge over an opponent.
That’s a lot for a game where the main interactions last all of 30-60 seconds.
So what drink could possibly go with something so aggressive and fast-paced?
In the words of Dylan Moran, tequila isn’t actually a drink — it’s a way to get the police around without using the phone.
Nothing else will get you in the rough-and-tumble mood like having a bracing shot of tequila.
Tequila sunrises are good too, and margaritas make good victory drinks.
But no matter what you choose, tequila will get you in the mood for fighting.
Whether you get better at the game or break your controller in a rage is a different story.
Examples: Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution
Rhythm games revolve around the player’s sense of timing and precision.
Dance Dance Revolution is probably the longest-lived rhythm game in the world, though others like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have grown to be famous in their own rights.
Rhythm games often require you to have a unique controller that works best for that game.
Guitar Hero requires you to have a tiny plastic ukulele.
Dance Dance Revolution requires you to have a 10-button mat.
These controllers don’t usually work well for any other game, but they don’t have to work well for other games.
They’re a blast to play with their intended games all the same.
So let’s say you’re playing Rock Band and you’re in front of a trillion screaming virtual fans. Maybe you’re playing DDR and you need energy to keep hitting those Perfects over and over again.
What should you drink?
Pairing: Anything with Red Bull
So, yeah, we don’t have an actual alcohol recommendation for this genre.
Instead, we just recommend you get a Red Bull and mix it with something (like vodka).
That’ll give you plenty of energy to finish out your game (and hopefully not a heart attack).
Examples: World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, Skyrim
Role-playing games feature games where you take a character and customize it according to in-game options and specifications.
The most famous role-playing game today is probably World of Warcraft, although Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, and others are still popular.
In these games, you often traverse a completely new world in new and exciting ways, discovering all kinds of novel things.
Sometimes it’s monsters. Other times it’s cities.
No matter what, you can bet it has an enormous backstory with intricate details that’ll be really hard to remember and even harder to explain to your friends who have never played the game before.
Still, what do you pour in a glass to go with your newfound time-killing preference of choice?
Much like a good glass of Scotch, role-playing games are best enjoyed over long periods of time.
You want time to take in every single detail, and you want the experience to be memorable.
After you’re done, you’ll probably tell your friends about it.
This is all true for good Scotch and good RPGs.
They each also have a way of making time fly by before you look at your phone and think “How is it 4:00 in the morning already?”
Examples: Tetris, 1024
Puzzle games are any video games where you have to figure out how to solve a problem using in-game features or items.
Tetris is the classic puzzle game. You fit a bunch of blocks together to get straight lines to progress through the game, where the puzzle gets more and more challenging as you win.
1024 is a puzzle game along the same lines based on combining numbers that double in a 4×4 grid.
Portal is the same idea, just in a first-person shooter perspective.
Puzzle games require you to keep a sharp mind while you play, so it’s hard to recommend an alcoholic beverage to go with them.
… But we’ll do our best.
We’re going with Scotch here again because it’s a slow drink that you can enjoy between completing (or failing) puzzles.
So instead of dulling your mind with a couple quick beers or a shot or an easy-to-drink cocktail, a Scotch will make you slow down so you can keep thinking clearly.
It’s a simple approach, but it’s fun all the same.
12. Interactive Narrative
Examples: Heavy Rain, Fahrenheit
If you know what this genre is without an explanation, then, my God, you’re sophisticated.
Interactive narratives are video games that don’t usually have win conditions, mechanics, or… much gameplay, really.
As the name implies, they’re more interested in telling a story than they are in having someone “win.”
As a result, interactive narratives are few and far between because they have an exceptionally niche appeal.
But we’re still gonna talk about ’em, dammit!
Yes, we like our Scotch.
Of all the video game genres on this list, interactive narratives are the ones that are most like a book.
So just like you’d want to have a good Scotch while you read, you’d want to have one while you “played” the book version of a video game.
There’s not much else to say here, so we’ll leave it at this.
Get a glass and absorb the story.
How Do You Make Your Games & Drinks?
Now that you know the best pairings, take a look at the drinks you’d need to fill out a home bar — one that’s ready for any game genre!