Party Games: Do Cocktails And Videogames Mix?

Every month, we dispatch Brendan to some of gaming’s best blowouts to schmooze and play party games with the partygoers. This is part three.

Loading Bar (aka Scenario) is a videogame-themed bar in London that hosts gigs, games and parties. As well as having a cushy basement filled with screens and games consoles, it regularly welcomes groups of Smash Bros devotees or Netrunner fans to take part in friendly tournaments. It also hosts a local multiplayer night called Multiclash, where developers can show off their party games. All this while serving up colourful cocktails with names like “Earthworm Gin” and “Rum: Total War”. Obviously, with all this going on, RPS needed somebody to investigate.

When I arrive at the bar, located deep in the city’s hipster underbelly of Stoke Newington, there are about five games on show. It is probably best to go through them one by one, giving each its due attention. But before that, a trip to the bar staff is in order. As the night wears on, I find that the cocktails being served to me have become (mostly) synchronised to the games, each a little alcoholic companion that would last only until I finished murdering that wretched blue swordsman in Samurai Gunn, or outpacing that dastardly unicorn in Speedrunners. For the most part, they were pretty damn good. As such, it would only be fair to rate the cocktails as accompaniments alongside the games. What games, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at what we played.

Game: Speedrunners

This is a 2-4 player racing game that sees tiny men in chicken suits face off against tiny men in moose costumes as they do laps around an obstacle-filled cityscape. Players can attack each other with giant boulders or missiles, while the screen gets smaller and smaller, eventually forcing someone out of the screen and into oblivion. Think Canabalt meets Micro Machines (with grappling hooks).

Undoubtedly, the best thing about Speedrunners is the way the man in the shark costume jumps. He kind of dives forward like a Great White leaping out of the water, keeping his legs rigidly straight. Aside from that, it has the benefit of being the type of game that quickly rewards practice. Sliding through tight gaps and jumping from wall to wall like a ninja is a little difficult at first but when you get good at Speedrunners, you get really good.

Drink: Skyrum
A straightforward, tall glass of delicious spiced rum (with vanilla vodka and lavender bitters). Not as cold as I remember Skyrim being but still a good start to the night. Loading Bar ranks all of its cocktails with a game-like difficulty scale. I have started on ‘Medium’.

Game: Penarium

It is no secret that Team 17 has been going around Europe with a giant hoover, sucking up as many microscopic indie devs as possible to reinforce its roster of upcoming games. Buddycop shooter LA Cops is one such captured game and Gameboy-esque prison sim The Escapists is another. Now you can add Penarium to their early access montage.

In Penarium, you are a performer in a deadly circus of traps, bombs, spikes and lasers. Two players can co-operate to hold down switches that appear randomly, or they can compete to press the most switches each. All the while, the deathtraps keep going, threatening you with bees, sticky gum, bullets, rising water levels and steampunky guns that shoot giant nails at you. Undoubtedly, this design of avoidance and agility on a single screen will appeal to those same high score addicts that mainline Super Crate Box day-in, day-out. Even if it does not have that game’s aggressiveness. Like Vlambeer (and others in this list) the developer is Dutch, reminding us that the Netherlands has more indie game makers per capita than functioning government employees. The country is expected to collapse within ten years.

Drink: No Man’s Pie
Do you see what they did there? Good, because they’ll be doing it again. This is a fruity vodka number with one of those egg white meringue things on top. I don’t know what they are called. You can have lemon, strawberry or blackberry as your ‘filling’. I had… no, I can’t remember.

Game: Crushkill

Crush Kill? CrushKILL? Crush-kill? I just don’t know how to spell this game’s title. It has only been in existence for five days, according to the devs I play with, so it is possible they themselves do not know for certain.

In Crush.kill, you control a small circle in a minimalist arena, facing off against three others to eliminate each other life-by-life. You can enlarge your circle, making it heavier, so you can brute force your foe out of the ring. Or you can shrink down, pulling nearby opponents towards you with your magnetically attractive smallness. You can also go invisible and pass through the other players’ bodies entirely, like a spooky ghost. The player that survives to the end wins. There you have it. CrUsH KilL.

Drink: Assassins Mead
Tasty as hell. This is made from caramel rum, dark rum and pineapple ginger beer. There is sugar all around the glass and a hit of something sour deep down inside. Sorry, excuse me. The sugar is sticking to my hands. Ha ha. It’s sticking to my hands.

Game: Gunkatana

Wait a second. Gunkatana. Like ‘gun’ + ‘katana’? This game is just Samurai Gunn with a top-down view! I won’t be fooled, no sir. Okay, I’ll have a go, but don’t think for a minute that I’ll be distracted from my one great love. Oh, what’s this travelator thing? You can speed across it in a single blur? Well, I suppose that is quite cool. I’ll give you that. And this? Oh, it’s a bomb I can leave behind to blow up my pursuers. I see my bullets are also ricocheting off the walls like a Star Wars laser with commitment issues. All right, all right, I’ll admit it. It’s quite a fun game. But please, PLEASE don’t call it Gunkatana. Least of all because the name seems to have already been taken by a popular (NSFW) Eroge game. Anyway, excuse me, I have to return to the bar.

Drink: Deus Ex on the Beach
Ha ha ha ha. I love these guys. What’s in this drink though. It’s sweet, like, super sweet, yeah? Vodka, orange juice, cranberry. It doesn’t even feel like I’m drinking! My glass won’t sit straight though and, oh man, there’s some small floaters in here. Barman! Barman, there’s oh wait that’s Goldshlager.

Drink: Saumrai Gunn

Samurai Gunn. Top game, top game. Want bad murder into your life? Samurai Gunn. Blood all onto the screen? Samurai Gunn. I played Samurai Gunn, I’m telling you, with a bunch of guys at this bar, and I swear to God, ha ha, I swear to God. All people are all samurais and you get three bullets. Bang bang bang! Only three. Yeah I know! All people have to run up to each other, slice, slice, slice. Oh man, it just feels right. So quick and, like, frantic, yeah? Best thing, you know, best thing about this? Rebounding bullets. You stand at one end of the screen, yeah? I’ll stand at the other. Now, shoot at me! Ha ha ha, okay I missed that time. But yeah, yeah, I can hit that bullet back at you though. Seriously we can just stand at both ends and play bullet tennis.

No, no no no. Best thing about Samurai Gunn: the showdowns. Yeah! Listen, listen, when there’s a draw, players have to do a stand-off. It’s scary! No, listen. One showdown is in a storm and you are INVISIBLE and only the lightning and your own footsteps in the rain will give away where you are. Oh wow, this game.

No, wait! Best thing about it is definitely pretending. I love pretending. No, I mean, you can hold the down button and guess what? Ha ha, your samurai, he lies down on the ground and pretends that he’s DEAD. But you know what? HE’S NOT. Ha ha ha. That’s right, I just sliced your samurai into blood and you never saw me coming.

Oh man! Let’s play bullet tennis! Ha ha ha. Yeah, that’s Samurai Gunn. Delicious sword flavours with hint of bullet. Local multiplayer, one hundred controllers, showdown in the sun. Excellent drink. 10/10.

Game: Cliqueur
Oh man. Favourite, great one. You know those white russians? Pshh, yeah you know those. Cliqueur is like that. Ice cream, pistachio, banana liqueur, 2-4 players. If the Dude from the Big Lebowski played videogames instead of bowlings, he would have a Cliqueur. It’s true! Excuse me I have to go home.

Next time on Party Games: how to host your own games party. Featuring a Nidhogg tournament and special prizes.

25 Comments

  1. airmikee says:

    “Do Cocktails And Videogames Mix?”

    Only if you have an industrial strength blender.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    Samurai Gunn is sooo good, shame it got overshadowed by Towerfall, and while it lacks in content compared to that, the actual gameplay is just as good and frantic.

  3. RaoulDuke says:

    I’d say other drugs like mdma, cocaine and weed are more suited to enhance your gaming experience, they also provide the ice-breaking advantage offered by booze, perhaps when at a social event based around games such as this.

    The difference is that (within reason) they don’t eff up your hand eye co-ordination/vision and make the games unplayable.

    • Synesthesia says:

      GHB Botanicula was a very, very fun experience.

    • Skull says:

      MDMA and cocaine will mess up your hand-eye coordination and focus enough to leave you heavily disadvantaged.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        The “whole body” rush more than makes up for that, IMO.

        • SlimShanks says:

          I sometimes wonder what my opponents in multiplayer would think if they knew the state I was in…

    • Da5e says:

      I tried to play Train Simulator on ketamine once, while listening to Through SIlver In Blood. It was, I can honestly say, an absolutely terrifying experience.

  4. Synesthesia says:

    Samurai Gunn is definitely one of the best games (this year?)

    Last week we had a party for my birthday, and the last people out were playing samurai gun non stop, even after 40 liters of beer. My drunken ass wiped the floor with them. Nidhogg and Towerfall were on the menu too, but samurai gunn is just too well tuned.

  5. joey4track says:

    Oh man, I am so jelly. I wish we had a bar like that here in nyc. None of my friends irl play games really and if they do its very casual on some lame-o console. Samurai Gunn is amazing but it really only shines in MP, with no one to play with, the survival mode gets meh pretty quick

  6. Spinoza says:

    I used to live/squat on Dalston Lane .. very interesting place , vivid and cheap. sadly , no more.
    Have a go at it hipsters , though no matter how much money you bring there it never be same as before.

  7. Rise / Run says:

    Why vodka? No need for vodka.

    That said, I would love to have a similar hang-out in a place I live. In SF it’d be overrun by hipsters and silicon valley jackoffs. But since I now live in TX, I don’t really need to worry about that anymore.

    • Comrade Roe says:

      I’m sure AMD would probably sponsor, if the London one already has Turtle Beach, EA, etc. I could definitely see this happening in Dallas or Houston, though San Antonio or Austin certainly aren’t out of the question.

  8. Deccan says:

    “I used to do a column for the local newspaper called ‘What’s On in Stoke Newington’. It was a blank page with ‘FOOK ALL’ written on it.”

  9. brotherthree says:

    If RPS is paying for your tab you are the luckiest man alive

  10. MentalEngineer says:

    Milwaukee, of all the cities in America, actually has a similar place. They need need need to crib these drinks, though.

  11. cpt_freakout says:

    Samurai Gunn is just so much FUN! I think I’m adding Speedrunners to my list of party games, so thanks for this, um, expeditionary report.

    • Vorrin says:

      I was there, and shed all of Brendan’s blood in Samurai Gunn :D But more on your point, yes, that Speedrunners is really quite something, excellent party game, easy to pick up, hard to master, quick to play, etc etc.

  12. Tom De Roeck says:

    A piece on games and cocktails but no mention of the minecraft cocktailbot? Even though Ive worked with the loading bar? D:

    Gamergate is so not right.

    link to versepublications.com

  13. SparksV says:

    This is one of the reasons I go to RPS

  14. Deadly Sinner says:

    That Deus Ex drink is almost perfect. The only way it could be any more perfect is if it was served in a triangular glass.

  15. Bury The Hammer says:

    Big fan of Scenario/Loading Bar, we try to go there about once a month for a night of board games and multiplayer. They have a SNES but it’s not always set up. And then you remember that SNESes only had 2 player multiplayer for the majority of games, so you just go back to the Wii U or whatever.

    Assassin’s Mead is the best cocktail, the one I usually have. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Alien: Inebriation. it’s got a upright kinder egg in it to look like an alien egg!