Video games are, if nothing else, a chance to escape into our wildest fantasies. For some of us, that might mean rescuing the universe from impending doom. For others, it’s just about having a hell of a time.
No night at the bar is complete without an alcohol-fueled tale so ridiculous that even the bartender blushes. Thankfully, video games have provided plenty of these drunken escapades to fuel a thousand tavern anthems.
5. ‘THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM’
Chasing Your Demons
One quest in particular demonstrated Skyrim’s commitment to the tradition of absentmindedly destroying everything in your wake. “A Night to Remember” starts inconspicuously enough: an unremarkable man by the name of Sam Guevenne is quick to challenge the hero to a drinking contest. Should the hero beat Sam, he gets his peculiar staff.
For Skyrim, it’s not so much about the raucous drinking—it’s the aftermath. After a surprisingly brisk three drinks, the Dragonborn blacks out, only to wake up alone halfway across the region in a city temple. That wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the priestess jabbing you awake and demanding to know why you trashed the place. What follows can only be described as gaming’s finest parody of The Hangover, complete with increasingly ridiculous backtracking of the night’s affairs. First it’s the unsightly temple, then a small town guard accusing you of stealing his pet goat and selling it to a wandering giant. Elsewhere, a trader chastises you for skipping out on a payment for a wedding ring. Tracking down the ring brings you to your betrothed, a ghastly witch named Moira. After dealing with the witch and punching through an entire fort of evil mages, the hero’s search brings them to a dimensional portal, where inside Sam is throwing a casual dinner party.
As cool as your real-world drinking buddies might be, chances are they’ve got nothing on good ol’ Sam—or as he’s more commonly known, “Sanguine,” the Daedric prince of debauchery and drunken revelry. “Sam” reveals his true motives, and his demonic final form. The good news is you’ve tickled his funny bone enough to earn a badass demon-summoning staff, and that’s better than any stolen lawn ornament.
4. ‘CONKER’S BAD FUR DAY’
The original king of crass behavior in games, Conker was a poster boy for lewd activities and language on a console primarily regarded as family-friendly. Conker’s adventure reaches sobriety more quickly than some others, but it’s one night of inebriation with some pals that tosses his entire life into disarray. Stumbling out of the bar in the middle of the storm, it isn’t long before he’s upchucking on an unfortunate passerby, with little more than a “sorry, old chap” to wipe away the stench. After walking off into the distance, Conker winds up face down in a field in the Panther Kingdom, miles away from home, with nothing more than a sarcastic scarecrow to help him sober up.
While Conker’s journey home takes him high and low across the world, battling Nazi teddy bears, the mafia, a Xenomorph alien, and a giant mountain of shit, the party doesn’t stop there. Like some godforsaken version of Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master, drinking from giant kegs placed around the world allows Conker to attack enemies by dousing them in—well, we’ve all seen the war crime that is a bar restroom. Whether it’s snuffing out fire imps or annoying dancers at a golem rave, Conker’s ability to get drunk on command might put him in the highest echelons of sloshed superpowers.
3. ‘THE WITCHER 3: WILD HUNT’
Prank Call Portals
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the most extensive adventures in recent memory. Protagonist Geralt of Rivia might be the stoic type, but even a monster bounty hunter has to unwind every now and then. In true Witcher fashion, Geralt’s most inebriated escapade goes down the night before the penultimate battle against evil.
After a hard day of preparations, the castle of Kaer Morhen and its inhabitants lay quiet, save for the rabbling of Geralt and his two brethren, Eskel and Lambert. With a hearty drink or nine in their bellies, the boys get to playing a casual game of “Never Have I Ever,” including tales of sultry succubi and leaping from lovers’ windows. After a brief dip in the goat pen, the boys convince themselves that they’re in need of a fairer fourth. Seeing as how the only woman for miles is the beautiful yet vengeful sorceress Yennefer, the Witchers set out to summon her cute friends using her magical portal device.
Evidently sober enough to admit they look nothing like mages, the boys are quick to whip up disguises. Donning Yennefer’s clothes, including two buxomy backless dresses, the men slur their way through an incantation, unexpectedly opening the portal into the chambers of an unsuspecting aristocrat. The nobleman shrieks for his guards and flees, humoring the drunken sods before Yennefer barges in to tear them a new one. Eat your heart out, Bart Simpson.
See You Space Cowboy
The criminally underappreciated Bulletstorm, while not quite a thespian’s first pick, brought players to a galaxy so crass and violent that even the vegetation was known to have a mean streak. For former military dog-turned-space pirate Grayson Hunt, not a day goes by without a bender or two.
While Grayson might seem depressed, he’s really just kind of a jerk. Bulletstorm opens on Grayson downing another bottle aboard his spaceship, interrogating a captured bounty hunter. After ejecting the poor wretch into space, Grayson makes his way to the bridge while finishing off his drink. It’s not long before enemy forces find his team, and despite his second mate’s warning to sober up and avoid a conflict, Grayson is quick to pull both the metaphorical and literal triggers.
While players can down bottles of booze later on, it’s this opening battle that perfectly establishes what a hideously destructive drunk Grayson is. Manning his ship’s controls, Grayson sloppily decimates both his own ride and the enemy’s before crash landing on a hostile alien planet. If space DUIs are a thing, he’s got enough to earn him at least a few rounds of AA therapy.
’GRAND THEFT AUTO V’
Whatever the Hell Trevor Was Up To
A lot can be said about Grand Theft Auto V’s Trevor Phillips, not much of it good. The purest distillation of psychosis and Canadian malice known to man, Trevor is a breed unto himself, even in a world filled with criminals. GTA V rounded out the rage with two other playable characters, Franklin and Michael, allowing the player to switch to any of them at any time. Developer Rockstar included numerous scenes to showcase what the characters got up to when not robbing banks and satirizing the nation.
For Michael and Franklin, it might involve getting dinner with the wife, or dabbling in the greener side of the city. For Trevor, it’s more like playing Russian Roulette with fate and a bottle of Jack—and a fully loaded cylinder—and also the gun is a rocket launcher.
Take your pick: there’s the time Trevor woke up outside the city, lying on the train tracks as the 3:10 to Yuma barreled down on him; there’s the time he woke up hungover in an empty motel pool, notably accompanied by a crashed helicopter and a collapsed roof; or when he woke up on top of a mountain sporting a charming sundress. Ever the one to mix pain and pleasure, Trevor’s most unsettling episode ends on the shore of a small island, with him dressed in nothing but his skivvies, surrounded by dead bodies. I’ll let you do the math, and leave Trevor to do the meth. Cheers!
Joseph Knoop is a freelance games journalist and part-time comic book geek. His favorite games include cute animals, so Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater probably counts. Talk progressive metal and jazzhop with him on Twitter @JosephKnoop.
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