AFTERPARTY & CHRONIC CELLARS PURPLE PARADISE
It may come as a surprise to you, but I enjoy drinking alcohol (I know I know, sometimes it surprises me too). Obviously wine is my top pick, but I really love a crazy cocktail too. In fact, if I had any talent in mixing drinks at all, this blog would probably evolve into some crazy cool cocktail creation website...but alas...I live with a bartender...and we can both officially confirm that I know about as much as Jon Snow when it comes to mixology (i.e. I know nothing). Given all of that, when I saw there was a game to be released about drinking in the after life, I was incredibly intrigued. Add in the fact that the game was to be produced by Night School, and you've got my money.
Night School previously released Oxenfree, which I thought was an incredible piece of art and storytelling. Afterparty uses similar mechanics and branching storytelling, and it even uses a similar layout style for its level design. You follow recently deceased BFFs Milo and Lola, who are on a mission to find their way out of Hell, primarily by outdrinking Satan. I love the various ways you can interact with Hell and its inhabitants, and I love all the nuanced details you can learn about the cast of characters. Afterparty more often than not finds Milo and Lola in Hellish bars, where you get to choose a cocktail that can influence your chain of dialog choices. The cocktails always sound halfway in between incredible and awful, with tongue in cheek names to boot. Take the "Grand Exhibitionist" as an example, a cocktail comprised of bourbon, mint, sugar, and frog vocal sac that will open up witty vaudevillian dialog choices. Given all that, I was delighted with the ending of the game. It felt fulfilling, but it also left me excited and curious to start a second playthrough so that I could see how things might end up differently. My only critique of the game is that I kind of wished they had kept the exquisite 2D art style of Oxenfree. Don't get me wrong, I love the design and color palette of Afterparty, but the backgrounds and characters from Oxenfree were eye candy for someone as fond of 2D art and animation as me.
And last but not least, we're left with our wine pairing: Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise. I had actually tried this wine out a while ago when trying to find a pairing for Grim Fandango. What can I say...when I'm playing a game about life after death I'm going to go for something with a skeleton on the label. But in all actuality, I love this wine and game together. Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise is just as full, fun, and decadent as I'd expect the after life to be. It a red blend that's bursting with fruity flavors like cherry, strawberry and boysenberry. There's also soft notes of chocolate, vanilla, spice and a hint of leather. It's smooth, and gets even better as you allow it to breath. Combine those flavors with the fact that there's a skull and set of dice on the label (calling back to our chancy adventures through the after life with Milo and Lola) and you've got a match made in Hell.