The phrase "a heady cocktail" is a tired, overused games journalism cliche. It's a cheap, stock, go-to line, used to lazily encapsulate a title with a whole bunch of stuff going on in it, while really only describing it in the most generic of terms.
But it got me thinking. What if it was literally true? What would the industry's biggest names look like if turned into colourful, alcoholic metaphors for themselves? How would they be served? Which ones would be habit-forming, and which would taste like crap? So I had another think, and then I made this feature.
Because you need to know the answers to these questions.
The Duke Pukem Forever
Signature qualities: Every time you're just about to have it handed to you, the barman comes up with a new idea, takes it away and starts all over again. This goes on all night until the bar eventually closes. If you decide that you do ultimately still want to drink it, you have to come back the next day, when a new barman will fish out the dregs his predecessor left out the night before and stick them in a new glass with a bright-coloured but broken umbrella.
The Final Fant-iced-tea
Signature qualities: The first few you have (usually up to about ten, depending on the individual) are a simulating, exciting mix of eclectic flavours, and tend to incite a heightened level of emotion and wonder along with pleasant audio-visual side-effects (though the seventh can make your vision go a bit cloudy). Down any more than that though, and you'll generally find that while the visuals become ever shinier, your mood will become fairly morose and over-serious. In fact around your 13th, there's a chance you might even start feeling slightly paranoid and trapped. Almost like your life is stuck on some pre-destined path, without any genuine power of free-will.
The Elder(berry) Scrolls
Signature qualities: A bitter-sweet blend which uses equally high levels of sugar and alcohol to create a rough but addictive beverage. Doesn't require a great deal of careful blending, and is frequently just roughly shaken together and served without a proper taste test. Sometimes as punishing a drink as it is an enjoyable one, its fans swear by it regardless, on the grounds that if nothing else it's served in a fishbowl, so you get loads of it.
The Red Dead Refreshment
Signature qualities: A long, whisky-based drink, known to incite both aggressive and depressive emotional states in equal measure. It has a vibrant, but slightly one-note flavour, and many profess to getting sick of it halfway through. Worth sticking with though, as the end has a hell of a kick.
The Gin and Sonic
Signature qualities: Its bright, unique colour blend and summery presentation always makes it look really enticing when you see someone else drinking one from afar, but unfortunately that's only ever because it inflicts such intense memory loss that you always forget just how drastically bad the last one tasted.
Still, maybe the next one will be different. Can't hurt to try, right?
The Gran(d Marniere) Turismo 5
Signature qualities: No-one quite knows what GT5 really tastes like, because no-one has yet sampled a finished one. The problem? Being such a prestige beverage, once you order one you'll invariably find that the barman spends all night sampling other drinks in order to research the perfect flavour combination, gets drunk, and then forgets what he was supposed to be doing in the first place. If you're lucky you'll get your drink served before closing time, by which point your friends will have already nailed six or seven different cocktails of their own. And even then, your perfectionist barman will keep adding and changing bits as you drink, meaning that you're likely to give up and wonder what all the fuss was about long before you reach the bottom of it.
Still, it's nice to look at.
The X-on-the-beach-box 360
Signature qualities: Really should be served chilled, but about 50% of bars ruin them by serving them far too warm, if not flaming. Formerly one of the most popular cocktails in the world amongst serious aficionados, but is currently falling out of favour due to a trend for weakening its core flavours and tinkering a little too much with the formula. Usually served with a serviette made out of an advertising flyer for a completely different drink you don't actually want.
The DisarrayStation 3
Signature qualities: Not a terribly popular drink with either customers or bartenders when it first appeared, being overly rich for some tastes and requiring a few too many expensive ingredients for very little flavour advantage. It still takes a lot of work from a highly skilled barman in order to blend correctly, but has over recent years made a resurgence through a combination of increased bartender experience and the invention of more affordable variants of the recipe.
The PC Gone Mad
Signature qualities: The first one of the evening is quite expensive, but stick with them and they'll get progressively cheaper, actually saving you money over the course of the night. In that respect it's a bit like taking advantage of the free drinking in a Vegas casino, only with the big financial outlay at the beginning of the night rather than the end. Unusually though, while this drink is technically made up of many of the same ingredient combinations as the Xbox 360 and PS3 variants, its flavours are somehow sharper and more vibrant. And it's definitely a hell of a lot more potent.