Bits and Brews 012: Habanero Sculpin & The Impossible Game

This month we have a pairing born of anger, of suffering. You see, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where the philosophical questions are the only ones worth asking. Who am I? What is my purpose? Why the fuck am I doing this to myself? (I believe it was Socrates who first asked that, but I digress…) At this crossroads we begin to question the decisions that led us to this place. We look back, minus the rose-tinted glasses, and see our journey through life as a series of choices that ultimately placed us here. Sometimes that here is a happy place filled with marriage or children, a new home or job, joy. And sometimes that here is a beer that is way too spicy to be enjoyed and a video game so frustrating it would have broken more than a few controllers had it not been played on a mobile device. Our pairing this month is Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewery and The Impossible Game. 

Ballast Point is a world class brewery. They make some truly phenomenal beers and one of the things I love about them is that they are not afraid to experiment with their core lineup. The extremely popular Victory at Sea has seen tons of variations from peppermint to peanut butter and their Sculpin IPAs have seen experimentation as well, including grapefruit and pineapple. And while some of these beers hit more than others, the pineapple was a bit of a let down for me anyway, the one I was really curious to try was the Habanero Sculpin. I love regular Sculpin even though IPAs are low on my list of go-to styles, and I love beers with peppers in them. Some of my favorite beers, Prairie Bomb! and Xocoveza, have hot peppers added. I also happen to love habaneros, so this seemed like a beer for me. On the first sip, it was. The base Sculpin with its fruity and juicy IPA face jumped out and was met with a slight bit of heat from the pepper. The second sip brought a bit more heat and a bit less juiciness. The third sip and beyond became an unbalanced mess that was just heat. It says on the bottle that the heat level may vary, so maybe I got a really hot bottle but there was no flavor from the pepper, just the heat. It eventually washed over everything. I powered through and finished the glass wondering the whole time why I hated myself so much that particular night. It was not enjoyable almost from the start but I kept going anyway. My final flavor notes were shame and regret.

The Impossible Game is a one button platformer that does not bury the lead. I have been playing games most of my life and even though this game claims there are five levels, two on iOS, I don’t believe them. You see, after hours, many hours, spent with this game I have never cleared the first level. Not even close. I keep coming back and getting getting my ass handed to me. This game requires a level of timing and memorization that I am simply incapable of doing. I prided myself on being able to beat hard games when I was younger. As an adult, I just don’t have time for this shit. The first few seconds are fine. Jump, slide off, time the jumps over the spikes, fine. But then, THEN, the difficulty just goes insane. Click here to see some clips of the pure insanity this game contains in the first few seconds. It looks easy but believe me it will ruin you. The best part of this game honestly is the music. The music for The Impossible Game is absolutely perfect and matches the game beautifully. My daughter suggested that the developer change the title of this game to “Worst Day of My Life” and I couldn’t agree more.

So why these two together? It should be obvious I think but I have never experienced two things better suited to asking why. There is no reason to put yourself through this kind of thing. People may claim they enjoy it; they don’t. There is no joy in this kind of repetitive punishment. Is it worthwhile as an experience in and of itself, I certainly think so. But just once and not for very long if only to appreciate the times in life we may otherwise ignore. (which is an entirely different topic better suited for discussion with bourbon) Make sure to like and share this article and follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan. Also click this link to check out Sommbeer, the best craft beer site on the web. Join me later this month as we celebrate one year of this column with one of my very favorite games of all time.

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