Alcohol and video games are not always a great combination.
Back in the day, when the Sega Megadrive was state of the art, the biggest danger was motion sickness from playing Sonic the Hedgehog while under the influence.
Now, with micro transactions added to the mix, the risks are considerably higher than a queasy tummy (For those blissfully unaware of the term, a micro transaction is a financial payment made to acquire goods in a video game). I’m sure one or two readers have woken up with the realisation they spent way too much buying new players in FIFA 15 – or now 16 – after getting home from the pub and firing up the PlayStation.
But with numerous studies showing the average age of a gamer is somewhere north of 30, it’s not surprising some drink suppliers have associated themselves with video game franchises.
Carlsberg may have fallen out of favour with Tesco of late but it captured the attention of gamers by last month rolling out a Fallout beer inspired by Bethesda Softworks’s post-apocalyptic action RPG Fallout 4, which was released this week. The beer is available in the UK through Amazon – though from some reviews on the site it hasn’t gone down too well with consumers, with complaints over issues such as peeling labels.
The Grocer’s web editor, who is ever-so-slightly obsessed with the Fallout games (so let’s apologise in advance if the odd reference to ‘mutant hounds’ or ‘radroaches’ creeps into stories in the coming weeks), suggested Coca-Cola had missed a trick by not launching a drink inspired by the Nuka-Cola brand that makes numerous appearances in Fallout titles. But it turns out someone did have that idea, with Seattle-based US supplier Jones Soda launching bottles of Nuka-Cola Quantum in Target stores this week – and reportedly selling out almost immediately.
Another behemoth of the video game world – Call of Duty – has made many assaults on grocery shelves in the UK, of course, with Monster Energy last month launching its third tie-up with the franchise.
But it has also become a beer brand, with craft brewers from Australia’s Gold Coast last week launching their beer inspired by Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. The wonderfully named Black Hops 3 is a black beer described as being “light and refreshing like a traditional pale ale”.
“We’re not used to being covert but we kept this project a secret for the past six months, so we’re stoked to get it out there,” said Black Hops Brewing co-founder Dan Norris. “Hopefully this will bring the up and coming Gold Coast craft beer scene some well-deserved attention too.”
And I suspect Black Hops won’t be the last brewer to tap (geddit?) the video game opportunity – there’s plenty of potential out there: Tomb Lager, perhaps? Star Wars: Bottlefront? Or maybe Beers of War?