Can Drinking Beer and Playing Video Games be an Art?

Gaming and beer may be two of the finer things in life, and while you’ve probably combined the two in the past, my guess is it was done haphazardly by combining a case of the cheapest booze available with whatever you happened to be playing at the time.

I couldn’t argue with the technique either, as I’ve done the same thing many times over. However, there’s at least one beer enthusiast out there who believes that beer and video games can be paired with the same careful consideration of wine and food, or drugs and nightclubs.

His name is Greg Zeschuk, and if he sounds familiar, it might be from this site where I mentioned he was leaving Bioware, a company he co-founded, to get into the world of craft beer. His passion for brewing is such that he recently worked on a miniseries called “The Beer Diaries” which examines the growing art of craft brewing.

Pursuing his other interests doesn’t mean that Zeschuk has forgotten his roots though, and in a recent interview with joystiq.com, he shared some his favorite beer and video game pairings. Among them include IPAs with Action-RPG’s, Adventures with a nice barleywine, and first person shooters with a good pilsner. One genre he doesn’t touch is racing, as you should of course never drink and drive.

Although I’m a little bummed out my go to combinations of PBR and “Team Fortress 2,” Arrogant Bastard and “Hotline Miami,” and Brooklyn Lager and “Far Cry 3” (a little of home, a little of an island vacation) aren’t mentioned, it’s still an interesting idea that drinking could be used to enhance the games you play in more ways than just getting hammered.

So what do you think? Can beers and video games be effectively paired and, if so, what are some of your recommended combinations?

Two of BioWare’s Founders Are Leaving the Company

Today Bioware Co-Founders Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka announced that they are leaving the company, and possibly video games in general.

Both have made statements on their departure via their blogs, that basically express their interest in moving on to other ventures. Muzyka provides a vague idea of his interests moving forward saying:

“I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing.”

Zeschuk provides a clearer idea of his life moving forward, as he expresses the usual interest of his desire to spend more time with his family along with the more specific desire to get into the craft beer industry:

“The main project I will be working on is a web-based interview show called The Beer Diaries where I interview notable brewers and showcase their beers. If things go well, I’ll work on other beer-related shows, apps and projects.”

The most telling, and somewhat disheartening, statement provided by either man would belong to Zeschuk who also said:

“I’ve reached an unexpected point in my life where I no longer have the passion that I once did for the company, for the games, and for the challenge of creation.”

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka both got into the video game industry after graduating medical school at the University of Alberta. They worked on medical based computer programs before that same passion for gaming led them, and co-founder, Augustine Yip, to create their first title “Shattered Steel” for publisher Interplay. From that point they spearheaded a studio that’s game catalogue reads like the upper end of most best video games of all time lists. Bioware has revolutionized Western and PC RPGs with “Baldur’s Gate,” made one of the all time great cult classics in “MDK2,” crafted the greatest “Star Wars” game of all time (and one of the most important games period) in “Knights of the Old Republic,” and just recently have made two of the best series of this generation with “Dragon Age” and “Mass Effect.”

More important than any individual contributions, however, are the greater ideas that Zeschuk and Muzyka promoted with Bioware. Through several generations, they helped run a studio that always advanced the RPG genre with each new entry (and gaming as a whole in most cases) and proved yet again that maintaining artistic integrity and achieving financial success are not mutually exclusive in the business. While the departure of Zeschuk and Mzyka doesn’t mean Bioware will no longer achieve those same goals, it is sad to realize that even such legends in the industry can simply lose their passion and walk away.

Of course, like Neil Young said, “Sometimes it’s better to burn out, than to fade away.” Zeschuk and Muzyka leave behind an undisputed legacy that future generations of developers can only hope to duplicate, but should most certainly learn to appreciate. Here’s hoping them the best in the future.

Also, Greg, I’ll buy a case of Baldur’s Beer, or Icewind Ale should they hit store shelves.

Mass Effect 2 is like Empire Strikes Back

Mass Effect 2.So sayeth Bioware, so let it be. The developer has called the sequel to my favorite space marine RPG the dark cousin to the original. Okay, it actually said Mass Effect 2 is like the second Star Wars film in that it tells a much darker tale.

“If you recall, Empire Strikes Back was the darker chapter and that is how we designed the ME2 story and experience: to try and make the player reflect on the challenges of the character,” co-founder Greg Zeschuk told IGN. “If you put ME2 next to the original it is definitely a darker, harder game.”

Mass Effect 2 picks up at the end of the original with another threat to the human race. My guess is the game focuses on Sheppard’s struggle with race/species and the obvious allegories to our own society. I’ll be interested to see how fleshed out it gets. For me, a lot of that emotional stress in a game is lost in the effort to complete quests and move the story along.

Related Posts