The Binding of Isaac paired with All Day IPA
Today marks our first collaboration with other team members. This series will now run weekly, in which Ryan and I will either work together, or one of us will work with a fellow Bit Cultures writer. And while change is good there’s always comfort in the familiar. So for this week’s pairing, I decided to go with two old reliables: The Binding of Isaac and All Day IPA. A decision I came to, in part, because I hated the last indie I played and needed a pallet cleanser.
I got into indie games after watching a documentary entitled, Indie Games: The Movie. I’ve been enamored by Team Meat ever since so my first experiences with indies were Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac.
For those of you who have somehow side-stepped it entirely, The Binding of Isaac is a rogue-like dungeon crawler with a darkly humorous plot. The premise is simple, Isaac’s Mom watched Christian televangilists, and one day she heard God’s voice instructing her to do various things to Isaac—eventually escalating to killing him. Fortunately he escaped through a trap door to the basement: ensue game play.
The gameplay consists of moving around the room, shooting enemies, dropping bombs, and using items. If you’re playing on a computer it’s a typical set up: WASD, directional pad, E, and space bar (respectively).
I have to admit The Binding of Isaac remains a bit of a white whale; 34 hours logged but I’ve never beaten the game. Oh, by the way, you have to complete it in one swoop. Game Over becomes game over because that’s just the kind of guy Edmund McMillen is. So why do I list this as a go to game? Because it’s fun, difficult, and nostalgic for me. I first played this game when I was a freshman in college and it was one of the commonalities between me and this guy in my class, Sam Caldwell—who became my best friend. He has beaten the game several times and gifted me The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, an expansion on the original. And in the wake of the latest DLC, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth, I felt like picking this up.
This game really shines in its dark/crass items and creepy enemies. The first that come to mind are the coat hanger which is lodged in Isaac’s head (get it? It’s an abortion joke!) and Mom’s Pad, which dispels what seems like an unpleasant odor cloud. My favorite thing was to have Isaac wear a bunch of items until he was grotesque but powerful. I’d often get snaps from my friend, Sam, of the weird combinations he’d create. I couldn’t quite find an image that did that justice but here’s a an example of some item fun:
While I admit, my failure at the last boss (twice) has discouraged me immensely—I’ve never fully recovered—Binding of Isaac is the kind of game you could play all day.
Thus, it made sense to pair it with All Day IPA by Founders Brewing Company, a beer with low ABV (4.7%) and immense flavor. Mildly bitter with a distincy hops flavor (characteristic of any IPA), there’s an underlying freshness here: a sort of piney citrus. This beer is flat out delicious and can be bought in a 15 pack. All Day IPA is a great go-to beer to keep in stock around your house. In terms of games, I have a strong aesthetic for cute characters in dark worlds. In terms of beers, I always enjoy an IPA. So today I take a moment to crack open an All Day and play The Binding of Isaac until I die or finish a can or two—whichever comes first.
Wasted paired with Back in Black
Beer is dark, sweet, and high in content
The beer, like the game, is not exactly what you expect. It’s darker, bolder, and more like a chocolate stout than an IPA (which I am super pleased by)
What better way to enjoy beer and video games than playing an RPG all about drinking. In the post-apocalyptic world of Adult Swim’s WASTED, getting drunk is the best way to survive. I chose 21st Amendment’s Back in Black Black IPA to accompany my drunken journey into unforgiving wastelands. I’m a huge fan of RPGS, but not a huge fan of IPAs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed this Black IPA (I know what to look for at the bar now, too.) While WASTED is only in its infancy, Back to Black has been a staple in 21st Amendment’s repertoire for years.
“Booze” is the essence of life and love in the world of WASTED. Those left in the world after a nuclear catastrophe fight to the death for a sip of this sweet, intoxicating, radioactive brew. This “booze” not only satiates their thirst but grants them superhuman powers, which is a much-needed advantage in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Within the very first moments, I was reminded of Fallout and Borderlands, both in gameplay and art. But unlike those two games, in WASTED you immediately start the game getting robbed by some bold-lined, knock-off miis. Also unlike those games, you quickly get a chance to exact revenge on the self-proclaimed “New Boys.” Your robbers escape to a “cooler” (read:dungeon) and immediately you give chase. You catch up quickly with them and easily overtake them. The game then allows you to explore the rest of the “cooler” until you either find the treasure or die trying.
What they don’t tell you until it’s too late is the possibility of being absolutely slaughtered by an enemy with 600 health. These insane enemies are known as S.O.B. Purifiers who are hellbent on ridding the wasteland of drunk, dangerous dumbasses. I ended up being cornered in a room with a crowbar and a rusty pistol, fruitlessly taking less than 10 HP from this beast. Turns out you can activate a “hunted” status which marks you for the enemy to find. You can hear out-of-place music when the S.O.B. purifiers get closer to you. If you don’t leave quickly enough, you get wasted.
The art in WASTED is adorable, yet gritty. The characters are all cell-shaded, giving them a cartoon-y look that oddly works well with a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Though it looks like Borderlands, I would argue that it’s more of an homage to the Fallout series — a post-apocalyptic RPG with radioactive consequences, dungeon crawling, and eerily similar menus. WASTED is disgustingly charming, wonderfully addicting, and insanely fun. It’s a perfect game to relax with and dive into amped-up treasure hunting.
The beer, just like the game, isn’t quite what you’re expecting at first. Back in Black is darker, bolder, and sweeter than most IPAs. The bottle features a proud Paul Revere, who is known as the man who warned America, all 13 colonies, that the British had invaded. Nuclear fallout paves the way to revolution, and Back in Black celebrates America’s own revolution. What pair better complements each other than WASTED and Back in Black IPA? We Americans love nothing more than a good beer and a good ass-kicking.