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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON gameplayer.com.au 18/12/08


THE BEST GAMES TO PLAY DRUNK


You probably know the feeling. You’ve got your mates around, you’ve sunk a few and nobody’s had the foresight to be the dreaded designated driver. “Farg goin’ out!”, you’ll declare, as you all decide to settle in for the long haul at home – assuming that the bar is suitably stocked, of course.

You’ll whack on a movie, but nobody can really be bothered, unless it’s for reason of piss extraction – after all, impromptu, slurred alternate voice tracks definitely have their place. Ultimately though, you want something social – something active that is at the very same time somewhat non-active… you want – games!

Assuming none of your crew’s a sooky-la-la wussbag, it’s the perfect social solution. But which way do you go? All those games, so little neurons! Well, we hear your pleas for assistance (“Help! Help!” – see?), so, in the spirit of happy inebriation, we bring to you our guide to the best games to play drunk. Or ‘pissed’ if you prefer naughty wordiage. Or ‘stoned’ if you’re one of our parents who didn’t know about the weed in their day and thought it meant inebriated via plonk, which is a whole another story.

Obviously if you’re having a quiet tipple on your lonesome most of that which follows applies. One of the many beauties of the internet is that allows even the most solitary of souls to hook up with others, no matter where in the world they may be.


CAVEATS
Playing under the influence does have its issues. Things you may wish to consider before lolling consolewards include…

-        How pissed are you, or how shitfaced do you intend on becoming during the evening’s proceedings? Obviously some games fare better than others as your centre of gravity lowers and your poise packs it in for the evening. We’ve tried to balance the list that we’re gradually meandering towards from ‘least gone’ to ‘most gone’, however naturally your mileage may vary due to experience, or stomachal fortitude.

-       What types of drunks are you? Happy? Surly? Remorseful? Any other of the seven Duffs? Never underestimate this factor, it may make the difference between kicking absolute arse at a fighting game, or kicking real-time arse in a fit of belligerent rage against somebody you’d normally label a mate. The remorseful next day make-up can be a real bitch. Especially if it’s in a hospital.

-       Do you want to play the game to make genuine progress, or just for fun? We suggest starting a new save if you’re going the sozzled route on your fave FPS, for example, for in the sober light of day a stuffed-up save that had involved hours of work previously can be somewhat tantrum-inducing.

-       How susceptible to motion sickness are you? OK, it may sound like a total WTF question, however we have precedent here. Somebody who shall definitely remain nameless (ahem) was once known to toss cookies with wild abandon after a short session of Wave Race on the N64. Damn that realistic water! Damn it to a watery grave!


THE WII CLAUSE

Whilst one of the best systems out there for getting people up and involved, there are certain precautions that need to be taken to avoid hurt when having a Wii old time under the influence. Nah, none of that namby-pamby Nintendo handholding shit, we’re talking protecting your investments! A Wiimote sent hurtling through your 42-incher LCD – be it via the power of rage or the power of unco-ness – will hurt more than a dual nipple cripple with a kick-to-the-groin chaser whilst the cops crush your beloved car into a cube. If you’re gonna brave the Wii, be the feck careful, m’kay? Otherwise it could REALLY cost you.


RURAL JURORS – ERM, GENRES!
Rather than just reeling off a bunch of games in random succession, we’re gonna approach this sucker via genre – which is a bugger of a word to say when you’re heading over .05 and beyond…

12: RPG
Oh for freak’s sake. Role playing? For the most part these are boring when sober, so when the mind starts gaining an ever-increasing propensity towards wandering, the last thing you want to be concerned about is all that concentrating stuff involved with moving weedy little sword-encrusted twerps about a honeycomb-shaped grid. Hmm, lucky we’re not stoned or we’d try to eat the honeycomb. But we digress – which you need to get used to if indulging in some pissed gamingness. So, our simple summary for this most geeky of genres? Do it when you’re on your own, you can hide behind an avatar. And join a drama class.

VERDICT
The best: None
The worst: All of them


11: PUZZLE

One of those genres that has alarming range, naturally there are titles that will get the vibe cooking brilliantly, and others that will flatten it quicker than an elephantine bellyflop onto a steamrolled pancake, no matter how sensational they may be when straight. The simple rule of thumb is that if it needs intense thinking then (adopts Tony Soprano voice) “Forgeddaboudit!”. There are plenty of puzzlers that are ace when in company – the various variants of Worms and their insane weapons systems spring to mind as awesome for great cacks, as are the Rayman Raving Rabbids games on Wii (although please see ‘THE WII CLAUSE’ for certain caveats). If you’re left alone and sucking a few back, some of those Popcap affairs can give off just the right cruisy vibe, and Tetris is always a good one to mellow out to.

VERDICT
The best: Worms, Tetris or Peggle if left solo
The worst: Portal (too much thinking), anything involving maths



10: FPS
If you’ve got a bit of the old belligerence on, and still have some vague capacity to clamber upright, there’s sometimes nothing better than getting a bit of multiplayer FPSing happening. The key here is to have some previous experience at your weapon of choice in a state of sobriety, mainly as these suckers tend to involve innumerable button combinations to be of any use at all. Depending how many bodies you have gathered, and what title you’ve plucked from the collection, you can go the split-screen route, or hop online and unleash all manner of chaos on some poor, unsuspecting sods somewhere out there in internet land. If you have the right balance happening the inhibiting of inhibitions into a bit of the old gung-ho can be a right handy weapon when doing the whole duck and cover whilst carrying a really bloody big gun thang. Mind you, it can also get you killed lots.

VERDICT
The best: Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty: Anything, Halo 3, Resistance 2
The worst: Anything with more buttons than armament



9: ARCADE
Remember the days when every pub and club had a Galaga machine lurking in a dank corner? They were there for a reason. They offered just enough distraction for a pissed punter to feel they’d received some value for their coins, and just enough challenge to ensure that they had a quick turnover – unless Rainman was out for a night on the turps, in which case you knew that there wasn’t much point waiting your turn. With those clever geeks out there making emulators of arcade machines such as MAME for pretty much everything from your PC to your toaster, and the PSN and Xbox Live swelling up with classic arcaders given a modern spit and polish, there’s no excuse for not stocking up on some of the great drunken levellers, ‘cos you’ll always have something that even the most annoying of mates won’t be able to bitch about playing.

VERDICT
The best: Gauntlet, Smash TV, any other classic arcader with no more than two buttons
The worst: Any classic arcader with more than two buttons



8: DRIVING
Knock back a few in quick succession then hit the real road and you’re a dickhead who deserves to be locked up. Do it at home though? Shit yeah! There’s an art to choosing just the right drunken cruiser, however, which in many ways can be boiled down to a simple equation. Stuff you can hit that slows you down = bad. Stuff you can hit that you’re supposed to hit = good. So, if you’re a rally game, piss off right now until we’re sober, ‘cos those trees and shit that stop you deader in your tracks than somebody who crossed Vic Mackey really kill the vibe. The same goes for the full-on simulator things, ‘cos there’s too much to concentrate on. What’s ideal is something cruisy, or not requiring 100% mental acuity. Hello Burnout series! We prefer Burnout Paradise, for the vast range of stuff to smash into that actually yields points, and the many online options it provides. If you’re after a sillier vibe, then don’t underestimate the power of Mario Kart – especially if you have it on the SNES, as it’s still the kickingest-arsest version ever.

VERDICT
The best: Burnout Anything, Ridge Racer (like driving a Volvo that drifts, it basically has just ‘stop’ and ‘go’ pedals), Mario Kart
The worst: Any rally games, Gran Turismo (insert any number, or ‘Prologue’ (a fancy-schmancy way of saying ‘demo’) here)


7: SHMUPS
Worthy of their own category, we’re talking the old school up/down/left or right – it doesn’t really matter - scrollers here. They usually involve a flying scenario, or numerous platforms, and their big advantage when you’ve got the gang around is that they usually don’t take too long per turn, so you can rotate before anybody nods off. There’s a fine balance to watch though, for as the years have advanced and a sadly dwindling number of devs have kept up the tradition, they’ve also amped up the hardness, sometimes to the point of madness. You don’t want too difficult, or somebody’s gonna crack it and send a controller hurtling across the room – or worse, into something exxy. So, if you have any recent Japanese shmups such as Thunder Force VI we salute you for your taste, but we’d leave them in the cupboard as they’re bitches even when sober. The best rule of thumb is as up above there somewhere (or on a precious page, whatever) – any more than two buttons and forget it, as the fun line gets crossed.

VERDICT
The best: The new incarnation of 1942 kicks arse, as do the likes of Everyday Shooter and Super Stardust
The worst: Anything complicated. We want to cruise here, not be bloody Einstein!



6: OLD SCHOOL CONSOLES
If you’ve been smart enough in your more sober hours to hold onto the classic systems – the Megadrive, the SNES, the N64 – then there’s often no better time to drag them out than for a night on the turps with the mates. Well, as long as you grew up together on these things – there’s nothing worse than some whiny slugabed moaning about them being old, and looking crap. If you have one of them in your circle, we suggest closing ranks and squeezing them out. Like a pimple.

VERDICT
The best: Goldeneye on N64, for its awesome four-player mode – and being about the only 007 game ever that hasn’t sucked. Otherwise, every system had its gems – you’ll know them as they’re often posse specific
The worst: Anything handheld. Geez, get a room!


5: SPORTS
There’s a very fine line to be stomped (tippy-toeing’s too freaking hard in our state!) when selecting a sports game for a tipple-infused night in. You want something easy to pick up and control (say goodnight and get stuffed, Beijing 2008), and one that can function as a satisfying spectator sport if you have more bods than controllers. To this end, FIFA/PES (the console equivalent of the Holden/Ford conflict) is hard to go past, as long as you’re up for a spot of the world game, natch. Whilst you’ll invariably be less adept at it than when in ‘meet the parents’ mode, the best thing about a good soccer game is that even a succession of stuff-ups can still be fun for all concerned. We’ve also had many a great time with Wii Sports, although ‘THE WII CLAUSE’ must be noted, for we’ve also had some bloody close calls whilst bowling for which our Bravias – and blood pressure – still haven’t quite forgiven us.

VERDICT
The best: FIFA/PES, Wii Sports (with caveat noted), simple button mashers like Track & Field and Hypersports
The worst: Any golf game. Too slow dude!



4: TRIVIA
If you’re anything like us, the less inhibited you become, the more of a smartarse know-all you become. The best way to settle any disagreements that may arise from such a condition is to hit up the annoying Jason Donovan Muppet for a spot of Buzz!. If you’re all, erm, buzzing at the same level then it can be the best drunken cackfest, as you’re all as reactionary-repressed as each other. Ultimately, who gives a shit what colour the equator is or whatever? It’s about laughs with mates, and you can keep on plying away at these games until your last neuron packs it in for the evening.

VERDICT
The best: Buzz!, Scene It!
The worst: That shit Wii one, erm, Smarty Pants



3: MUSIC
If you’re a normal human being, you’ll have some deep-seated – or not so deep-seated – desire to just rock out. Even if the cards never fell your way and you’re stuck in accountancy without ever having had the opportunity to adhere to a sticky stage plying your three-chord wonders, advances in modern science have brought the rock to us all – hail, hail plastic guitars! With the newer games such as Rock Band (or if you’re up for a spot of importing, the infinitely better Rock Band 2) and Guitar Hero: World Tour there’s no excuse for not getting the mates around, the only arguments are generally over who’ll get to manhandle the drum kit. Solution? Rotate for freak’s sake! The best thing about these games is the ability to get zen with them, regardless of inebriation levels. We’re not suggesting graduating from medium level to expert whilst under the influence – we tried, it wasn’t pretty – however a test under uncontrolled conditions that we did conduct confirmed that we were able to progress to the point of hitting 99% whilst unlocking the last stage of RB2 whilst only just able to stand up – the wobble factor was high. The key is to start the journey in an, erm, ‘ebriated’ state, and gradually cruise on down the road to Keith Richards-level pisseditude whilst armed with the placcy axe.

VERDICT
The best: Rock Band 2 (shitloads better track list than any other comer), Guitar Hero: Anything (if you’re a metalhead you’ll likely dig this one more)
The worst: Anything not branded ‘Rock Band’ or ‘Guitar Hero’.



2: FIGHTING
Face it, pub brawls are messy and can lead to bloody expensive dentist’s bills – and that CCTV never manages to get your good side. If you’re amongst mates you’ll hopefully not want to snot each other for real, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a bit of accumulated angst out via a controller and an onscreen proxy. Besides, they’re usually packing better moves than you’ve got anyway. Complexity of control is again an issue. Whilst we love a sozzled slugfest with the like of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, much of the intricacies of control can get lost in a frenzied button mash attack, but if you’re all in the same state then who gives a stuff? Perhaps ironically, belting the stuffing out of a mate can be quite therapeutic, and is another great generator of shits and giggles for the peanut gallery awaiting their turn.

VERDICT
The best: Super Smash Bros. Brawl, SoulCalibur, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter
The worst: Anything without multiplayer – snore!



1: SINGING
Right. If you’re thinking we’ve gone all softcock on you then shut the hell up for a second and listen. You gonna call Barnesy soft? Of course you’re freaking not. He sings – well, sorta. Whilst you’ll generally only enter into a bout of something like SingStar as a politically wise strategy when sober (re: peacekeeping with other halves), these things take on a wholly new and completely awesome dimension when pissed – and the best thing? No matter how totally and utterly wasted you are, you can still waggle a microphone around in front of your face and grunt vaguely in time, if not in tune. The drunken singsong is a bloody classic tradition, and when Microsoft have the savvy to instantly punch SingStar straight in the kidneys by including Cold Chisel’s ‘Khe Sahn’ with Lips, there’s simply no excuse for wussing out. So what if you sound shit? Here’s the thing, so do we! It’s about partiship… partissseep… it’s about getting together and having fun with your mates. If you don’t get involved then you’re the soft one.

VERDICT
The best: Singstar, Lips
The worst: Disney Sing It


AND NOW, THE END IS HERE…
To shut the wowsers up, we’re not condoning overindulgence here, but it is a fact of life that some of us do it on occasions, so if it’s gonna be done, why not be worded up on great ways to keep people from going out on the roads and wiping out whole families of puppies and stuff? See, and you teetotally lot think games are bad…

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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.