I’d like to start off by thanking any of you lovely locals that joined me on a virtual bar crawl. I want to carry on our celebration of drinks in games with another favourite hobby of mine: sitting in a field with a bag of cans and taking in the scenery. It’s a right of passage during summer to head to a nearby park and knock back a few lagers with your friends. Unfortunately, there’s a global pandemic on and people are having to cut down on the pilsner picnics this year.
Allow me to fill that void once again, grab your bag of cans and come with me as we galavant across luscious locations in games. From barren deserts to coastal caverns, these are environments you’d enjoy whilst cracking open a cold one…
Ghost of Tsushima
Having just played through this gem it’s safe to say I’m a big fan. I was very close to putting Sekiro on this list, both games have an incredible usage of sake and interesting characters to share a drink with. When it comes to the locations, however, I think Ghost has the advantage. In Ghost, you go steel to steel in intense stand-offs underneath waterfalls and in golden fields of flowers. In Sekiro you fight giant apes that fling excrement at you.
Ghost has a photo mode so incredibly detailed it could put Roger Deakins out of a job. That’s important because the world you find yourself in deserves something better than disposable Kodak. When it comes to picking a drinking location I actually thought about the story of the game. I was thinking about some of the beautiful shrines that take you to all corners of the map by scaling treacherous terrain. Worthy spots to quench your thirst but drinking in this game should be reserved for something special.
Sake is a traditional Japanese drink that is made from rice wine, originally served after a victorious battle. Nowadays, it’s mostly enjoyed after large meals and successful business meetings. My suggestion is that Jin Sakai, the Ghost, should travel with a gourd full of sake ready to commemorate any ‘business’ he takes care of with his katana. It goes without saying that Buckfast is the perfect tinnie* for these occasions, nothing says traditional Japanese rice wine like Buckfast. After duels, big battles and reclaiming villages throughout the isle of Tsushima – Buckfast.
A few generous swigs then back on your loyal horse, riding off into the sunset before another day of fighting two equally terrifying threats: a Mogalian empire and a rough hangover.
*NB: Buckfast counts as a ‘tinnie’ – anything you can buy from an off-license is available for grabs on this trek. Also, Buckfast once released a tinned variety in Dublin so suck on that sack of wet eggs.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Breath of the Wild is absolutely stunning, I don’t need to tell you that because every reviewer worldwide did the job three years ago. There are so many awe-inspiring areas dotted around Hyrule that I struggled to narrow it down to one entry. You’ve got the fields, the rocky peaks of Eldin valley, the majestically named Tabantha Tundra and even Gerudo Town where you get a side quest to make the perfect pint. All great suggestions but then it quite literally dawned on me…
The hill from the opening. Imagine you’ve just woken up after a 100-year nap, you step outside your cosy little cave and see the sun rising over the kingdom of Hyrule. Pass me the elven equivalent of a Guinness and let’s start the day correctly. If you can ignore the ever-looming threat of Ganon and his darkness surrounding the castle, the view is absolutely breathtaking. Forget the fact a whole kingdom’s fate rests on your shoulders and get a little buzz on – you’ve been asleep for 100 years, a few more hours won’t hurt anyone.
Similar to Breath of the Wild, Death Stranding puts the player in the shoes of a lonesome protagonist tasked with a duty well above their pay grade. Sam rambles around the huge map delivering a number of packages to clients all over, he’s a glorified Royal Mail employee that deserves a break. Given the size of the cargo Sam carries on his back, he’s working up a sweat out there and what better way is there to rejuvenate those valuable electrolytes?
MONSTER SPONSORED ENERGY.
This product is firmly placed within Kojima’s post-apocalyptic Mars-like environment, the righteous symbol of American culture will live on where other brands fall and wither. After a long journey across the landscape, Sam could climb to the nearest mountain top and take it all in for once – this time his only luggage is a four-pack of MONSTER ENERGY and a bottle of Glen’s Vodka (other forms of paint stripper are available). On the surface, Sam just appears to be a MONSTER ENERGY influencer that’s loyal to the brand, when in reality he’s mixing vodka into the tins and getting battered.
You’ve seen how he can stumble all over the place and now you know why. Sam Bridges is constantly half-cut and developing an addiction to MONSTER ENERGY. The giveaway being whenever he urinates it creates a small mushroom on the floor, slightly alarming from a health perspective but could possibly get him into The Avengers.
I thought about going under the sea for the Bioshock mention in this list but you can’t really enjoy the scenery down there without getting seawater in your drink and subliminal messages in your head. You are much better off in the ‘haven’ of Columbia. One quick ride on a steampunk silo and you arrive in a city above the clouds.
Take a walk around the place and you’ll see barbershop quartets, zeppelins and a fairground to mosey around whilst you look for a corner shop. The issue with buying booze in Columbia is that the majority of consumable bottled liquids will set the user on fire, electrocute them or give them control over a bloodthirsty murder of crows. However, if I had to choose a drink for a 19th-century sanctuary in the sky then it would probably be something quintessentially light with undertones of industrialism, like Stella.
Have you been to a rooftop bar in London before? They charge you extortionate amounts because they’ve put some seats on a small terrace and chucked a few fairy lights around the gaff. You pay £7+ for a pint and double figures for a cocktail, get your Instagram picture of the view and pretend you’ve had an experience worth telling everyone about. If you were drinking in Columbia you would have the best view in the world without breaking the bank.
Just don’t get too wasted, we wouldn’t want you to stumble through dimensions chasing after a girl and creating a plot that’s an all-round ballache to follow now, would we?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Though a short stay in a tavern may seem enticing, I would much prefer to awkwardly walk my way up the side of a mountain and embrace what the land of Tamriel has to offer. Before departing you’d need to visit a local shop and barter for your tinnie. By ‘barter’ I mean place a bucket on the shop owner’s head and steal yourself a drink of your choice.
For this entry I thought to myself: what modern beverage could resemble the taste of mead? The answer to that question is a warm can of Boddington’s with a cigarette floating on top. It won’t be nice, but it will be authentic. Picture this, you’re on a mountaintop and you’ve just slain a dragon, whilst gathering up the bones you knock back a Boddy and exhale a dragon shout that reeks of tobacco.
You can look over the local villages like a proud hawk, perch over the edge of a waterfall and take it all in. After a few drinks, you could reach into your seemingly endless backpack and pull out an array of locally sourced meat, bread and crabs. Life as a Dragonborn is a pretty cushty deal.
Nier: Automata is an incredible game, well it’s actually more like three incredible games wrapped into one edgy package. If you haven’t played a Nier game before, they entwine great combat with a world that will make you question your own moral compass. In Automata, you initially play as an android created by humans made to destroy machines. It goes without saying, the story can be hard to follow and that’s where the booze comes in…
Everything in this game involves doses of religious and philosophical babble. The ‘antagonists’ are called ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’. The lead character goes by ‘2B’ which sounds like a rapper with a Shakespeare fettish. Even the giant robots that dominate postcodes are called things like ‘Marx’ and ‘Engels’. It’s all a bit much. I would honestly need a few tinnies to get through each day of fighting these mechanical metaphors.
There’s one location that comes to mind as the perfect place to blow off all that steam you’ve built-up. A theme park! Imagine getting leathered and taking a spin on roller coasters operated by cute singing robots. It’s Disneyland. Cracking open a few Special Brew whilst listening to marching bands, singing songs and balloons. It’s Disneyland. After all that fun you can travel a few miles to an outbound orgy – all robots of course but it’s good to know they get to have fun too.
You’d have to be one of the human settlers in order to go on this fabricated night out I’ve proposed because if you were an android, consuming alcohol and trying to hump your way into the night wouldn’t end well for your circuitry. Would make for one hell of an alternative ending though…
Once again I didn’t want to be the only contributor to this boozy adventure, so I took to Twitter to ask other virtual drinkers
Not for the fainthearted this one. Do you like gothic steampunk settings? Do you like dimly lit dungeons and castles that would make Luigi sprint away with his Poltergust between his legs? Do you like the Souls series and often tell people about how much you like the Soul series? Same. Bloodborne is great.
The views are mind-blowing, Miyazaki’s team somehow turns all the horror into a painting that you can wander through aimlessly. That’s only if you can somehow slay the bloodthirsty creatures that parade the streets in the cover of darkness. Let’s say that you’ve made it to a clearing after cleaving through a few werewolves, you’d want a drink to mark the occasion…
The local tipple in the surrounding area is blood. Hunters inject it into themselves in order to stay perky. I can’t imagine it’s the nicest thing to drink and there’s always a chance you could end up like Father Gascoigne – a priest who got too addicted to the stuff and became the beast he would once hunt. I think a substitute is due and the closest thing to actual blood must be a Bloody Mary. You can get the tinned variation in certain highstreet retailers and they are pretty good hangover cures when you’re on the go.
Here in Yarnham, you slay beasts, light lamps and drink a Bloody Mary or two. There’s brunch every other Sunday.
Suggested by @WezArthur
Compared to the rest of the entries on this list, The Witness is a quiet break from all the chaos. Over 300 puzzles await you on a deserted island, nothing but you and a few acres of cryptic conundrums. Wade through the calming waters, galavant around the tree-covered hills, explore the coves. All this whilst solving mysteries – it’s all very therapeutic.
So what drink would you incorporate to complete this Sunday afternoon special? A vodka cranberry of course. I’m sure you have seen this cultural reset but just to be sure, a user posted [this video] to TikTok of him skating down a road whilst drinking Cranberry juice. He’s listening to Fleetwood Mac and clearly doesn’t have a care in the world, that’s the exact vibe I’m trying to recreate here on the island.
My only fear is that I’m probably not smart enough to solve the puzzles, meaning I could never leave the island. What started as a beautiful, relaxing experience has quickly turned into a nightmare Cast Away situation. At least it’s one of the better Tom Hanks films.
That’s about it for another Drinks In Games list! In terms of honourable mentions, a few people asked for Minecraft. That makes sense, being able to create your own world to drink in is pretty cool but also endless to write about and I honestly couldn’t be bothered.
Thank you for coming on this lovely stroll with me, I hope you make it back home safe! If you want to talk about booze in games then you can find me on Twitter
Until next time, cheers!