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Gaming While Drinking

On a cool night in Wicker Park, things were heating up inside one little bar.

From the outside, with its all-black exterior and windows that were covered up by black curtains, accented by a neon pink sign above the door, the Debonair club appeared empty. But inside it was hosting what is now a weekly staple: Gaming Under the Influence.

The premise of GUI is simple; there are three contestants that have already entered online, that play each other in two pre-selected video games, such as Mario Kart. What makes it get crazy is the drinking aspect of the contest. After each round contestants must take a swig of beer, including the winner. During certain rounds those who are watching the show online (which I did) at http://www.theguishow.com can decide which contestant has to drink more than the others.

“I just want to do something different, not many other people were doing it and I went to Korea and I saw that they did a lot of wild game shows and thought aw this is a great idea. So I mixed drinking which I love doing with gaming and made it just a really fun interactive show”, says Jared Hoffa the creator of the event.

“I started GUI as a test show in April of 2011, but now starting in early July of this year is when it became what it is now and started to grow and now at Debonair.” The show is now a weekly fixture of the Debonair club, as it occurs every Friday at 10 pm.

Inside the dimly lit bar, there were about 20 or people sitting around waiting for the games to begin. Up against one of the walls was a brightly lit screen covered in GUI logos, where the games that were being played on the Xbox 360 were projected. That night, the three contestants were Adrian Baker, who won last weeks GUI and two newcomers Brendan Spence and Kevin Lada.

Adrian had a very intimidating presence, mostly due to his size (it looked like he weighted more than 200 lbs), the no-nonsense look he had on his face, and cocky attitude in his voice. Kevin (who to me looked similar to the janitor from Scrubs) had a very commanding presence, due to his tall stature and cool demeanor.  The final contestant Brendan was definitely feeling nervous, as he would occasionally stutter while being asked questions from the hosts.

“It encourages people to watch gaming, and the booze presents a fun hilarious challenge, “ Brendan said. “The attitude and atmosphere of the show is quite laid back, but competitive all at the same time.  It is entertaining to be a part of, and entertaining to watch.”

To decide who faces Adrian first, Brendan and Kevin do a beer chug along with Jared. Brendan beats Kevin and faces Adrian in a game of Tetris on the Xbox 360. Both of them face the stand near each other facing the screen with their wireless controllers. In this round Adrian narrowly beats Brendan, as the two of them are inconsistent when trying to create lines of blocks. Since Adrian won he has to drink another beer.

Up next is Kevin. After another swig of beer, both contestants battle it out again in Tetris. Kevin is able to crush Adrian in Tetris as he scores multiple doubles, which negatively impacted Adrian. He then goes up against Brendan in another round of Tetris that was very heated. Both Kevin and Brendan scored multiple doubles and even triples against each other, but it was Kevin who was able to come out on top.

“I can’t feel my face right now so I know I’m in a good place” says Kevin after defeating Adrian in another round of Tetris. Adrian is not happy losing to Kevin again and takes off his dress shirt and says, “This is the last time you’re gonna hustle me.”

The final round of Tetris was the most shocking and intense round of all. Kevin had a “battle buddy” named Dustin fill in for him against Brendan, as he was starting to feel the effects of the booze. Within seconds, Dustin is able to score a spirit-crushing victory against Brendan, but little did everyone know that Dustin is one of the top 25 Tetris players in the country!

It was then time to play Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe on the Xbox 360. The game is fighting game that features characters from both Mortal Kombat series and DC comic book characters, such as Batman and Superman. Kevin and Adrian have some more drinks before dishing it out in Mortal Kombat. As they start fighting, the crowd starts to get a little more vibrant and rowdy, as spectators start cheering loudly for either player and the volume level inside the bar increases considerably.

Adrian managed to dish out a number of brutal combos and wins the first round. After winning he turns his baseball cap he is wearing around, showing everyone that it says “Mortal Kombat” on it. He obliviously knows how to play the game.

Things get even more interesting when Adrian goes up against Brendan, who still has not won any rounds. In this round, fans who are watching the show online can vote on who should get shot with Nerf guns by the GUI girls. The two GUI girls, Amanda and Jennifer, who look like they are in their mid twenties, looked cute in their blue jeans and white tank tops that sport the GUI logo.

About a minute into the match it is announced by Jared that Adrian is the one who will be “Nerfed”. The GUI girls, who are off to the side, then begin to fire a barrage of Nerf darts at Adrian’s face as he desperately tries to block them while continuing to play. As he is getting pelted the audience starts to laugh a little and let out a few cheers. Despite having his game character with very low health and getting hit in the eye, Adrian is able to pull of another victory. Brendan once again the loser, when asked by Jared and his co-host Jen the reason he lost, says it’s because he has never played Mortal Kombat before.

After another round Adrian defeats Kevin and takes the lead. Adrian describes his comeback by saying, “I’m like Usain Bolt, I start out slow then I pass out the competition.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

It was up to Kevin to stop Adrian’s winning streak. After a final round drink between them and Jared, they gave it everything they had in Mortal Kombat. Kevin was able to outperform Adrian and managed to tie it up, and bring the game into a sudden death round, with the last round being worth two points. Despite giving it his all, Kevin once again lost to Adrian who ended with a total of eight points and another GUI victory.

  • written by Chris Heaney on January 28th, 2013
  • posted in Edit
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.