Undertale paired with Deschutes Brewery Inversion IPA

I picked this game up solely as a result of peer pressure from my good friend Nina Kahn. She’s been playing a lot of games on steam lately but this one really resonated with her. And what can I say? I have a soft spot when it comes to gamers who love something so much they need everyone they know to play it. I experienced this with Gone Home to the point where I wrote about it twice. And Inside to the point where I’ve spent the last few months badgering everyone on Bit Cultures to play the game too. Oddly enough, both of those games resulted in an indie games x beer pairing… I suppose good games come to those who drink because Undertale was no exception.

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I admit, I’m only a few hours in but I’m completely charmed by the experience. Currently available on both PC and Mac, Undertale is a RPG that throws players into a world that exists long after the war between humans and monsters has ended. Spoilers, the monsters are currently sealed underground as a result. The game begins with you (a human) falling into the underground.

As far as mechanics, the combat is fairly simple. You have a variety of options to choose from when you’re on the offensive and landing a good hit is just a matter of clicking at the right time.

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There are non-violent options as well and the player’s actions will affect the battle and, on a larger scale, the story itself. When you’re on the defensive you move a little heart around a box to avoid attacks. If your heart gets hit you lose health.

But the game’s true charm is in the writing. Within the first hour, I was creeped out by how shifty some of these characters are. Who do I trust? What is truth? Also do I really not have to kill these monsters? But above all I spent the first few hours thoroughly amused:

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I’m a sucker for a game that jokes about gaming. Even though it’s not my genre of choice, the story is intriguing enough for me to stick around. Overall, Undertale is one strange little RPG and I’m looking forward to giving it a full play through. And at only $9.99 on Steam, I recommend everyone gives it a download. For more on the game, peep our review of it here.

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Inversion IPA just made sense with a story that begins with you falling underground. But while Undetale was a pleasant surprise, Deschutes Brewery’s Inversion IPA was quite the opposite. Deschutes is one of my favorite brewery’s; and with Inversion IPA having a generous ABV (6.8%) and being my go-to beer types I figured this was a recipe for success. However, I was mistaken. This IPA’s flavor fails to stand out. Unlike Undertale, this beer plays it too safe.

Three Fourths Home paired with Dead Guy Ale
Three Fourths Home is a succinct, but beautiful, interactive short story by Bracket Games.  While only clocking in at around thirty minutes, I was enraptured by the story.  Three Fourths Home is a extended conversation between a girl and the various members of a family on a long drive home.  While beginning innocently enough, the game slowly reveals the fractured relationship between its members and the damage each member, primarily you, has done to one another.  Three Fourths Home is an intense and deeply personal tale that succeeds in immersing you in its story and characters, as well as delivering a heartwrenching conclusion.
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It’s important to recognize that Three Fourths Home is not a game in the traditional sense.  In fact, it might be the antithesis of the typical understanding of a game.  The game is best approached as a short story.  You are a passive spectator and gameplay consists merely of holding down a button and selecting dialogue.  Since the dialogue isn’t spoken, the actual playing aspect boils down to simply reading text on your screen.
As in all narrative driven games, Three Fourths Home entirely depends on the strength of its writing and the game delivers exceptionally well.  You are Kelly Meyers, a young twenty-four year old girl.  On your way back home after a drive to the old family barn, you answer a phone call from your mother.  The story begins as a conversation between Kelly and her mother, then develops into conversations with her father and younger brother.
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Unlike many other interactive stories, such as Heavy Rain or Telltale’s The Walking DeadThree Fourths Home’s story is not dependent on you.  There are no choices that have far-reaching consequences, such as a dramatic shift in the conclusion or death of a major character. Even though the game has a clear-cut and unchanging story, you are still heavily involved.  Through the dialogue choices, you uncover more of the story and family relationships.  You also choose how Kelly views her family and how they view her.  Do you want to be an embittered young woman who blames her family for her problems?  Do you want to be depressed and upset by the outside forces that have pushed you back to your rural family that you tried to escape?  Do you want to try and rebuild your relationships with them even though it may be too late?  The game lets you decide the personality of Kelly and that affects her relationship with her family.
The landscape in the background of your drive echoes Kelly’s feelings of isolation and loneliness.  The landscape is mostly empty with occasional buildings scattered about.  The background mirrors Kelly’s emotional state.  As Kelly grows more depressed, the background becomes darker and the storm increases in intensity.  The soundtrack mostly plays quietly in the background, adding an ominous atmosphere to your drive.
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Three Fourths Home is a fantastic story driven experience.  It’s well written and the characters are easy to emphasize with.  Despite it’s short length, the game is worth playing.  It’s akin to reading a short book.  While telling a simple story about a family, the story is also deeply philosophical.  The final conversation with the mother in the epilogue resonated deeply with me.  In short, there’s no better game if you’re looking for a fantastic and emotional story-driven experience.
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I paired this Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale. I’ve always liked Rogue beers since I tried one on my honeymoon. Dead Guy Ale is a fantastic ale with hints of honey and orange flavoring. The added flavor is small enough to be noticeable without overpowering the overall taste of the beer. It’s not too dark or bitter as to be offputting, but it’s certainly not a “weak” beer. It’s always nice to recommend both a beer and game and I’m happy to do so today. Buy ’em both. Now. (They’re under ten dollars)

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