Gaming and Alcohol

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  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 12 Oct 2017 15:09:06 1,608 posts
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    Ok, so playing video games after you've had a few drinks...

    To be clear, I'm not seeking to start a serious discussion on alcoholism or anything like that. There are probably other threads somewhere for that. I'm just going to assume that we're all mature adults who are capable of regulating our own alcohol intake. And oh god, did I just type "we're all mature adults" on the EG forums? Never mind...

    Back when I'd just finished postgrad and started my first proper job, I shared a house for 18 months or so with 4 other people in a similar situation. Our go-to couch-play game was Gran Tursimo 3, which probably dates this anecdote. One Sunday afternoon, we decided to do a super-intellectual and massively precise scientific experiment, involving the impact of alcohol on Gran Turismo 3 lap times.

    The experiment was simple; everybody did three laps of Midfield Raceway (the greatest Gran Turismo circuit ever and it's a crime against humanity that they retired it) while sober in the Jaguar XJ220 (tricky-ish to drive, but not overwhelming). We noted their best lap time out of those three. After finishing your three laps, you drank a pint of beer (Stella, if I remember... its reputation wasn't quite as chav back then) while everybody else was having their goes. After everybody had done their go, the cycle started again, with everybody now one pint merrier than they were for the first lap. This repeated out to... hmm... five or six cycles, I think (it got a bit blurry towards the end).

    Results were interesting. Everybody's second attempt (the 1-pint point) improved on their first in terms of best-lap times, but... most people threw one of their three laps on the second round to a fuck-up. From the third round onwards, the fuckups got more and more common and the best-times started slipping fast. It was clear that the drink was affecting people's risk-vs-reward decision making. In the very early stages, some faster times were resulting as people took riskier lines, but even from those early stages, this was prone to going wrong. From the second pint onwards, people were taking risks that were clearly not worth it.

    This has generally held true with a lot of my gaming since then. A couple of pints (or glasses of wine, as I get older) doesn't necessarily make me worse at an fps, but it does make me more prone to taking risks. I've learned to avoid the Total War series after I've had a drink; too many mornings of waking up to find a game I'd been working on gone to hell after I took a stupid short-term risk and fucked up a long-term plan.

    On the other hand, there are also cases where I've found a drink has actually helped a bit. Back in my days playing Final Fantasy XI, one of the big road-blocks to getting into the end-game was the Maat fight. This was a rite of passage every player had to go through on their first job to raise their level cap from 70-75. You had to do the fight solo and it was dependant on triggering a set rotation of attacks with absolute precision and timing. Worse, you couldn't just do it whenever you wanted to. You had to round up a bunch of other players willing to help you farm a rare drop in an out-of-the-way location for each attempt. This would typically take 2-4 hours, depending on your luck.

    On my first couple of attempts, nerves led me to fuck up the actual fight (it was over within 30 seconds one way or the other). For my third attempt, I decided to try something different. Sat by the NPC to trigger the fight and with the item farmed and in my inventory, I necked three cans of Strongbow in quick succession (classy, I know). With my nerves suitably dulled and a sense of the fuck-ems rapidly setting in, I started the fight and pulled off a perfect win.

    I've repeated this trick a couple of times since then for boss fights which make me nervous, specifically Dark Souls's Ornstein & Smough.

    So... anybody else any reflections on how drink makes them better or worse at particular kinds of games?
  • Jyzzy-Z 12 Oct 2017 15:11:36 2,149 posts
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    Maat was an absolute cunt. I used to play FFXI drunk a lot, it made trolling people in the dunes a lot more bearable.
  • whatfruitlivesagain 12 Oct 2017 15:20:27 409 posts
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    I have a score of over 100 million on Medieval Madness pinball on my phone that I achieved while almost blind drunk on a train home.

    I have never come anywhere close to that score since.
  • RelaxedMikki 12 Oct 2017 15:24:16 2,133 posts
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    I don't often play after a drink - just don't seem to fancy gaming if I am inebriated. I game a lot hung-over though...

    I did play Sonic The Hedgehog on acid once back in the 90s. That was, erm, very blurry.
  • JamboWayOh 12 Oct 2017 15:27:50 2,371 posts
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    Alcohol dulls my senses in any game. Interestingly I have become laser focused when stoned. It served me very well in the days of burnout 3 and pro evo 3 and 4.
  • quadfather 12 Oct 2017 15:36:11 28,819 posts
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    This is my kind of thread ;)

    I play games equally half cut and stone cold sober. Chuck some smoke in too during the drinking phase.

    The way I see it is as follows (for me)

    Drunk (invariably in the evening):-

    Love going for it, will take unnecessary risks, enjoy different aspects of it, fall off cliffs.

    Sober (invariably during the day):-

    Cautious, notice things I wouldn't have during the drunk phase, won't take on unnecessary risks, pay more attention.

    Smoke:-

    Everything is as intense as fuck, amazing fun, heart racing, can pull off stuff I wouldn't normally even consider, never mind attempt.
  • Humperfunk 12 Oct 2017 15:36:28 6,876 posts
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    If I am playing a tense game (e.g. Hellblade or any of the Souls games) I often will make quite a lot of progress when I've had a few drinks - weirdly I get much much better at gaming when I'm half cut, would genuinely say most of my progress in any Souls game has come from me being drunk, I'm terrible at them sober.

    Obviously there is a tipping point but yeah, I like to get stuck in on a game when I come in from a night out sometimes.

    edit: speaking of which, a couple of weeks ago I booted up Skyrim on a Saturday morning and I appeared to have completed about 5 sidequests and had made some progress in the Thieves Guild - looking at the quest log and I genuinely didn't remember a single thing of the quests, so that was both productive in terms of moving the game along, but a bit shit as in a sense I skipped part of the game!

    Edited by Humperfunk at 15:38:44 12-10-2017
  • JamboWayOh 12 Oct 2017 15:39:44 2,371 posts
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    quadfather wrote:
    This is my kind of thread ;)

    I play games equally half cut and stone cold sober. Chuck some smoke in too during the drinking phase.

    The way I see it is as follows (for me)

    Drunk (invariably in the evening):-

    Love going for it, will take unnecessary risks, enjoy different aspects of it, fall off cliffs.

    Sober (invariably during the day):-

    Cautious, notice things I wouldn't have during the drunk phase, won't take on unnecessary risks, pay more attention.

    Smoke:-

    Everything is as intense as fuck, amazing fun, heart racing, can pull off stuff I wouldn't normally even consider, never mind attempt.
    Here he is.
  • THFourteen 12 Oct 2017 15:43:18 45,721 posts
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    It's like pool isnt it. Two pints and i'm much better at pool than sober

    Any more than that and its downhill.
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 12 Oct 2017 15:45:27 1,608 posts
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    @THFourteen That was my rule of thumb for WoW raiding. The problem was that there comes an inevitable point in the WoW raid cycle where you should have everything on farm and are just waiting for the next patch. Except everybody's so bored of all of the raid content that they get blindingly drunk every raid so you end up fucking up bosses that should be easy.

    Quitting WoW was great for my liver.
  • billythekid 12 Oct 2017 15:53:51 12,164 posts
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    Anybody find that certain games lead to you drinking more or quicker?

    I really find this with FIFA. Quick sip before the kickoff, close shot have a sip, ball goes out have sip, great save have a sip, halftime have a sip and a fag :D
    Can really get through the beers whilst playing it.

    Other games don't tend to have the same effect though, Forza for instance I find the beer can get fucking warm before I've finished.
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 12 Oct 2017 15:57:10 1,608 posts
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    @billythekid Fetched a beer from the fridge the other night while playing Forza 7 and... just as you say... it went warm before I got half-way down the glass.

    As per my last post, WoW was an absolute bastard for making me drink. The repetitive nature of the content and the generally level of voice-chat bollocks during raiding makes alcohol really attractive for dulling some of the edges.

    I'm also quite fond of curling up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon with a laid-back JRPG and seeing how much damage I can do to a bottle of wine.
  • monsieur-Cosmo 12 Oct 2017 16:11:51 336 posts
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    The only "drink" I have while gaming is a cup of coffee. Alcohol doesn't go well with gaming, it feels wrong. Games require concentration and alcohol can dull that.
    One "game" that can be played under influence is hide the sausage, imho.
  • quadfather 12 Oct 2017 16:14:38 28,819 posts
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    billythekid wrote:
    Anybody find that certain games lead to you drinking more or quicker?

    I really find this with FIFA. Quick sip before the kickoff, close shot have a sip, ball goes out have sip, great save have a sip, halftime have a sip and a fag :D
    Can really get through the beers whilst playing it.

    Other games don't tend to have the same effect though, Forza for instance I find the beer can get fucking warm before I've finished.
    I do this with souls games.

    Loading it up - fag and a sip
    Died - sip (so that's practically every 15 seconds)
    Waiting for fucking Wunty to summon - 5 sips
    Going through inventory to sort stuff out - sip
    etc
  • drawfull 12 Oct 2017 16:21:03 31 posts
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    That's Life with Esther Rantzen did a similar thing once with OutRun Deluxe. Like you found, all the drivers did better after another pint.

    When I played pool competitively, I was a machine after two pints, but any more and I went to shit.
  • Rivuzu 12 Oct 2017 16:22:23 16,462 posts
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    Never play a fighting game and take shots when you lose a round.

    You'll be surprised how much quicker you lose after those first few.
  • quadfather 12 Oct 2017 16:23:13 28,819 posts
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    Rogueywon wrote:
    @billythekid Fetched a beer from the fridge the other night while playing Forza 7 and... just as you say... it went warm before I got half-way down the glass.

    As per my last post, WoW was an absolute bastard for making me drink. The repetitive nature of the content and the generally level of voice-chat bollocks during raiding makes alcohol really attractive for dulling some of the edges.

    I'm also quite fond of curling up on the couch on a Sunday afternoon with a laid-back JRPG and seeing how much damage I can do to a bottle of wine.
    Done the WoW thing :)

    Done the RPG/Sunday thing too :)
  • robc84 12 Oct 2017 16:23:58 11,789 posts
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    JamboWayOh wrote:
    quadfather wrote:
    This is my kind of thread ;)

    I play games equally half cut and stone cold sober. Chuck some smoke in too during the drinking phase.

    The way I see it is as follows (for me)

    Drunk (invariably in the evening):-

    Love going for it, will take unnecessary risks, enjoy different aspects of it, fall off cliffs.

    Sober (invariably during the day):-

    Cautious, notice things I wouldn't have during the drunk phase, won't take on unnecessary risks, pay more attention.

    Smoke:-

    Everything is as intense as fuck, amazing fun, heart racing, can pull off stuff I wouldn't normally even consider, never mind attempt.
    Here he is.
    Saw the thread and immediately thought Quadfather :)
  • Humperfunk 12 Oct 2017 16:24:33 6,876 posts
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    At home at the moment and all this talk of beer and gaming makes me want to crack open a beer and get some gaming in, hooya!
  • Psiloc 12 Oct 2017 16:30:35 4,051 posts
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    The risk/reward thing rings true. For the most part though, it takes a hell of a lot for me to start losing my ability to play well. I'm quite a high functioning drunk in general, one of the first effects of serious inebriation is that I lose my desire to play games. Before that, I'm just getting happier.

    Weeds different though. Even though I have all my motor skills, I can't remember a fucking thing that's happening. It spoils story driven games that's for sure.
  • You-can-call-me-kal 12 Oct 2017 16:36:15 9,773 posts
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    A little puff used to massively help with any kind of 'in the zone' type game. I remember a friend of mine and me doing some very rudimentary testing with how much it affected our Geometry Wars 2 scores and it was huge.

    But yes, sitting through cut-scenes is a different matter.
  • quadfather 12 Oct 2017 16:39:32 28,819 posts
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    @robc84

    If it had also mentioned chicken, I'd have been 100% :)
  • wuntyphyve 12 Oct 2017 16:40:41 9,475 posts
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    @robc84 Ha ha so did I.
  • wuntyphyve 12 Oct 2017 16:42:51 9,475 posts
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    I do like a wee glass of wine whilst playing sometimes and it relaxes me. I am definitely a better player after one or two glasses as I take more risks and rely solely on my (not-quite-yet-decrepit) reactions, instead of overthinking things, which I do when completely sober.

    After a few glasses though I find I get bored quicker and have less tolerance for the game and turn it off before I would normally do so were I not drinking.

    Edited by wuntyphyve at 16:43:23 12-10-2017
  • Dougs 12 Oct 2017 16:47:20 83,473 posts
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    Yeah, I'm not much of a gamer when drinking or hungover. I get bored quickly if I've had a few and either switch off quickly or not want to play at all. When I'm hungover, I'm generally irritable and don't have the patience for some games.
  • drhickman1983 12 Oct 2017 16:54:34 4,930 posts
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    I've been playing World of Warcraft for years, and for the past 5 or 6 we've had a weekly, casual raid group that we refer to as "the drunk run" for a reason.

    One of my guildmates is Dutch, and on Queens day he was so drunk he was running into walls and, reportedly, had to close one eye to stop himself seeing double. He was the main tank too.

    I've certainly gotten drunk and ended up running a number of dungeons I've totally forgotten about after the raid.

    I've also played plenty of console game drunk, I remember getting hopelessly lost on the first big level of Halo before. My friend's stag do consisted of getting drunk and playing Gears of War cooperatively. It was great.

    I rarely get drunk and play games by myself though, I only really enjoy drinking and playing games if there are other people to play with. Otherwise I'd rather just get drunk and listen to music.

    Edited by drhickman1983 at 17:22:12 12-10-2017
  • Rogueywon Most Generous Forumite, 2016 12 Oct 2017 17:19:43 1,608 posts
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    I remember a healer going suddenly afk mid-fight on a similar run through Naxxaramas, right at the end of 3.0 when everybody was bored to tears of it. We pulled through the fight somehow but when we asked him at the end of it what had happened, we got this pathetic (and slightly wobbly) little voice going:

    I've fallen off my chair and I can't get back on it.
  • challenge_hanukkah 12 Oct 2017 17:25:42 5,017 posts
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    I remember looking into how viable it was to self catheterise in prep for Molton Core raids.

    I don't drink at all nowadays.
  • Mr_Sleep 12 Oct 2017 17:46:21 21,252 posts
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    You-can-call-me-kal wrote:
    A little puff used to massively help with any kind of 'in the zone' type game. I remember a friend of mine and me doing some very rudimentary testing with how much it affected our Geometry Wars 2 scores and it was huge.

    But yes, sitting through cut-scenes is a different matter.
    I have very fond memories of the first Geo wars Waves and losing you for about four hours 😃
  • Cappy 12 Oct 2017 18:54:47 13,591 posts
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    It somewhat depends on the person I think.

    I've often been a bundle of nerves and prone to repeatedly changing my mind or second guessing myself so a drink or two causes a shift towards decisiveness and certainty.

    At a certain level it has enabled me to perform far better in skill based games such as scrolling shooters because I stop thinking about what I'm doing and focus on just doing it. There is a tipping point where performance drops off precipitously though.

    Edited by Cappy at 18:55:50 12-10-2017
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