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The 9 best nights out in games

One Off The List

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Down it, down it, dowwwn it, yeeaahhh! Nice one, you skulled that pint of fizzy water and lemon like an absolute legend, mate, well done. I always knew you were a top enjoyer of a wild night on the tiles, on the rip, on the slosh, on the tear, on the floor, on the bathroom floor, no listen you’re on the bathroom floor mate, for real, get up. I think that San Pelegrino went straight to your head. Maybe just go home, lie down, and play some RPGs. You can always simulate the reckless abandon of a big night in one of these, the 9 best nights out in PC games.

Blacking out in the tavern – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

You meet a bloke called Sam in a bar, who boasts he can outdrink you – YOU – in a competitive piss-up. Not a chance. Your night with Sam remains unseen as you black out and wake up in a temple strewn with giant’s toes and cryptic notes. As your blurring vision abates, you follow a trail of decadence and chaos, retracing the steps of last night. A stolen goat, a swindled giant, a marriage proposal to a forest witch. You don’t remember any of this? You are terrible. Yes, this is all a fawning fantasy tribute to The Hangover, but it is at least having some fun with Skyrim’s dumbass realm of skellingtons and dragons, which is more than you can say for all the other quests about shouting Welsh at Romans, or whatever.

Digging in with some pints – Deep Rock Galactic

You can order a round of foaming ale in a space pub, drink with three friends and headbang to jukebox metal. Then kick barrels through a moving laser-hoop, the space pub’s equivalent of a pissed-up round of darts, before feeling a lurching motion in your belly because – ha ha – Frankie has only gone and pressed the big “reset gravity” button again, the absolute mad lad. Now you’re all floating about, laughing like fools. There’s an FPS mining game attached to all this, somewhere.

Dungeon clubbing – Crypt Of The NecroDancer

Too much drinking in this list so far, and not enough dancing. NecroDancer is a rougelike about bouncing to what I have been advised against calling “choons”. Zippy zappy music to bleep and bloop your way to a brighter tonight. Each step is taken with those old rogueish concerns in tow: can I avoid a hit? Will hopping back here set me up for a killing strike? Can I defeat all bosses without being hit once, like some sort of impossible demon with both a left and right foot? All this is accompanied by a rhythm action undergame, in which you can recreate the helpless flailing of your misspent youth from the safety of a keyboard. Get thee to a clubbery.

Masked ball – Dragon Age: Inquisition

Enchanté, man with giant horns. This party is not like the others. There will be no heavy drinking here, no hooliganism, no lowly wretches playing childish games of Never Have I Ever. This is a quest with a strong French accent about diplomatic solutions and sensible backroom deal-making, a polite ball for the aristocracy. Packed with empresses, courtiers, dukes, assassins…

Assassins!?

Revechol – Disco Elysium

Bizzaro detective ‘em up Disco Elysium is a thumping morning-after mystery in isometric-town. Even on day one of this murder case, your wreckage is everywhere: a necktie on the ceiling fan, a shoe on the roof, a disappointed partner in the lobby. But there are more nights out to come, should you wish them. In the evening, your partner, the whimsy-averse Kim Kitsuragi, retires to his hotel room. But you don’t need to leave it there. Go back out on the town, take amphetamines, commit misdemeanors of which your partner would deeply disapprove, visit people you should probably leave alone. If your detective was a piece of music, he would be a hopeless, regret-filled nocturne that doesn’t know when to fade out.

Prom night – Monster Prom

A hideous totem for North America’s obsessive and vampiric thirst for young flesh posing as a wholesome bildungsroman.

No, I didn’t get a date.

Lads lads lads – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Drunk Geralt is good Geralt. In this sequence of booze and bants, the cat-eyed fraternity of Witcher House have themselves a catch-up over some chunky cups. Yes, the camera bobs and wobbles and blurs in an attempt to recreate the feeling of tipsiness in the only way videogames know. Yes, it is laddish to the point of alienation. But through this tropey, Vaseline-smeared lens we spy a vaguely relatable depiction of a piss-up. Imagine that. An evening of dumb drinking games, stumbling proclamations of admiration, and bad decisions. It is the most human Geralt has ever been, and it only took a couple of pints. So much for that Witcher resistance to poison, eh! Oh, they were pints of Vodka.

Hellish cocktails – Afterparty

Hell is other people getting invited to a cool party, but not you. This is one of the first problems you face in Afterparty, a walkabout adventure about being a belligerent asshole trapped in smouldering Christian damnation. You want to get into Satan’s house party, because only there can you meet the dark lord and compete in a drinking game to win a ticket back to earth. This is a crazy eternal night of Styxian cab drivers, dodgy ticket touts, and drinks that alter your behaviour in more than the usual way. They say the devil has the best tunes but he’s also got the cocktails.

The Golden Saucer – Final Fantasy VII

I don’t know how this keeps getting on these lists, I’m sorry.

One Off The List from… the bleakest post-apocalypses

Last week we scavenged through the rubble for the 8 bleakest post-apocalypses in games. But one of our finds was rotten and not worth keeping in the satchel. It’s… S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.

Several folks on list duty pointed out that the anomaly-filled desolation sim should be disqualified because of a well-observed technicality. It is “technically not an apocalypse since the world outside of the zone is ostensibly fine,” says list savager “a very affectionate parrot.”

“I always thought only the Zone was fucked up and the rest of the world (maybe not Europe) was fine,” says “estallico”, swirling a large glass of scavenged brandy. “People were just there to get their bleakness fix and/or shoot monsters and/or other people.”

Right you are. See you all next week for more list antics.

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