Bits and Brews 10/02/22
A return of the column for spooky month
Welcome welcome once again to the column that attempts to pair video games and craft beer together. What started as a simple writing challenge has morphed into a space to chat about two of my favorite things, video games and good beer. Sometimes retro, sometimes modern, sometimes local, sometimes national, there is something here for every gamer and every drinker. I hope you’ll subscribe, comment, and share.
A sequel to the Japan only Clock Tower, and known as Clock Tower 2 there, this 1997 release is arguably one of the pillars that survival horror gaming is built on. Taking place in Norway, and directly following the events of the JP only release, the story of Clock Tower sees various characters attempting to survive the return of the murderous Scissorman. Player choice dictates later events in the game, a relatively novel concept at the time, and all told there are ten different endings possible. Gameplay is of the point and click variety and works surprisingly well on the original Playstation controller. Clock Tower is not a fast game but rather one that takes its time setting the atmosphere. It’s like an old school horror flick in that regard down to the musical score that plays whenever Scissorman enters the field. Well done cut scenes and clever puzzles are littered throughout the game. As a lifelong fan of horror movies, particularly slasher films, this game hit all the right notes for me.
Sierra Nevada is often credited with kicking off the idea of craft beer. Beer had long been a part of the American fabric. Brought over by immigrants flooding into Ellis Island, beer became a part of the landscape and grew to include thousands of breweries across the states. After prohibition however, that number dropped by some estimates, paperwork not really being the most important thing at the time, to around one hundred by the late Seventies. Thankfully a west coast group of brewers, including Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman decided to experiment with the newly grown Cascade hop and created the now iconic brew. Pairing well with almost all foods, Sierra Nevada Pale is a true classic and one of the consistently best beers each and every year.
So why these two together? With this paring we find ourselves enjoying the history modern gaming and brewing was built on. Not evident at the time, obviously enough, what started as a sequel to a JP only Super Famicom game and a dream in a home brewers garage sparked the creativity of entire industries. We don’t have the American craft beer scene and its explosion of IPA’s without Sierra Nevada. Likewise we don’t have the survival horror genre and it’s particular blend of story telling and player interaction without Clock Tower. Their DNA is evident in the modern experiences we all enjoy these many years later. So grab your controller and raise a glass to these foundational experiences.
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