Prairie Path paired with Euro Truck Simulator

Developed by SCS Software, Euro Truck Simulator came out when I was in 8th grade (2008). I didn’t get to it until now—I mean—it’s not exactly something that appeals to me. But having recently gotten into simulator games, I decided to get on that open road. And with Two Brothers’s Prairie Path Golden Ale sitting in my fridge, now seemed like the perfect time.

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Players begin by selecting a starting country in Europe. I began with Netherlands because it was the region I was most interested in exploring (this is, in no way, a reflection of my previous stance regarding Netherlands {No Era Penal}). At the start of the game, you are give a €100,000 budget to select your first truck—which I purchased purely based on aesthetics.

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A tip message is present throughout your journey, explaining various controls to the player. But you can remove these tips if you prefer to go it alone. It begins by explaining the basic controls for moving the truck, WASD, as well as how to open the map and notebook. Your first task is to drive to the highlighted area and choose a job assignment. The premise of the game, as a whole, is to take on different jobs. While the jobs differ in pay/length, each involves transporting some goods to a fictitious company.

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It is worth noting that I cannot drive in real life and suck at driving in virtual life as well. Sure I can hold my own in a racing game, but I’m just too reckless for anything resembling “regular” driving. I learned early on in Truck Simulator that you will be penalized for speeding, running red lights, and hitting other vehicles. I know this is for the sake of being realistic, but it was kind of annoying, for my taste at least. Though I admit, it added a challenge to what many perceive as a “pointless” game.

Prior to playing this game, I was told the appeal was the soothing aspect of such a mindless task, and I can see that. I sat down to play this game next to my friend Maggie while she watched Rick and Morty. It was a casual game that I could easily multitask with, and, before I knew it, I was an hour in. So if you want to go for a drive and listen to a podcast, but don’t actually want to go for that drive, get behind the wheel of Euro Truck Simulator. As for me, I’ve never been one for driving in the first place.

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But the best part of any simulator is when it feels like real life; my favorite moment in Euro Truck Simulator was when I was notified that I was “getting tired and need[ed] to rest.” After driving around for a while I started to fall asleep and the screen would fade, becoming almost completely black, and then return to normal. I really felt like I was nodding off, and that was great.

Two Brothers Prairie Path Golden Ale

While Truck Simulator had its moments, it’s a game I won’t be returning to. Fortunately, the beer I paired it with is worth revisiting. Prairie Path, by Two Brothers Brewing Company, is a golden ale that isn’t afraid of flavor. Before this beer I had been avoiding golden ales all together after a bad encounter with Kona Brewing’s Big Wave Golden Ale (other beers of theirs were solid, but this one tasted watery to me). This beer restored my faith. It tastes whole, crisp, and vibrant. A beer I recommend for everyone, especially those who don’t normally like the “bitter” taste of beer. Thanks to the saaz and golding hops, this beer has a clean and refined finish that makes it universally flavorful and palatable. The simple yet dynamic freshness definitely warrants the name Prairie Path.

~Janet

The Magic Circle paired with Arrogant Bastard Ale           

A first person epic! The Magic Circle is a 20 years in the making game from Ishmael Gilder, a.k.a. Starfather. A cutting edge graphic re-imagining of the classic text adventure where Starfather meets the Player, his co-star on a journey to obtain the Magic Circle…NOT!

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That is not what The Magic Circle is about. Sure, it will start off that way – telling the epic tale of Starfather. Very soon, though, it introduces the true nature of this game, unfinished and caught in development hell. Think of a game that has been rumored, teased, and showcased, but still with no hope of release. There is a highlight into that with A Magic Circle. The tug a war of different creatives.

Once you play through what is basically an unfinished demo of the unfinished game, you’ll be given power from Pro. Pro has been trapped in the game since early in the games creation, back when it was a journey in space, not a medieval adventure. He’ll teach you how to exploit the cracks in the system, but from there you can do whatever you choose to. There are multiple ways to finish tasks; it just depends on what comes to mind.

That space adventure that Pro is from is still in the game. The medieval adventures formed over of his. It will be accessible. The pixelated world of the space adventure is a stark contrast to the art of the medieval setting. And that world was the first version of The Magic Circle that started 20 years prior.

I went into this game for the dry, sarcastic humor. It is the type of humor that I enjoy and put a smile on my face while playing the game. The game developers are the gods of the world and now you are working outside their lines, changing and altering creatures into allies instead of foes. I basically made an army for myself of allies to use to solve puzzles and defeat the gods, or Sky Bastards, as Pro calls them.

Once they have been dealt, you’ll be given the ability to make a game. It is short and limited with preset features to choose from. Use the more medieval presets or the presets of the space adventure? Maybe both? Setting up enemies, chests, health, music and even a story of your own. Besides the presets, the only other limitation is your “life”.  The amount of life given to do more in this stage is based on how much was found and collected in the earlier stage of the game.

I learned something while playing this game, or, rather, realized something that I already knew: that theme of gods and their arrogance when it comes to game creation. I will not share what that is since it is something worth learning for yourself. If you have an interest in video games and their creation, this game is worth checking out.

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And if you’re worthy, you can pair this game with Arrogant Bastard Ale. When I saw this beer in the store, I gravitated to it. The name and the packaging just seemed to tell people not to buy it. I ended up taking that as a challenge rather than a warning. It has a strong taste and aroma that lingers and a slight hint of red in the brown coloration. Nothing I would consider drinking regularly, but it did fit nicely to sit down with and drink while I played.

~Melissa

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