Stage 1-2: Not Shaken – GoldenEye 007 and ????
In this second outing for Carts & Cocktails, we’re going to take a look at Bond, James Bond. The game will be GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64. The drink will be a vodka marti… no, no it won’t!!
I adore the James Bond movies. Moore, Connery, Brosnan, Craig, all the others. They were among the first “grown-up” movies I watched as a kid, and lit my brain on fire with their amazing action set pieces. However, I’m also an avid reader. So a few years later when I discovered that the James Bond movies were actually based off of books, I immediately sought them out.
The Bond books are interesting. In many ways, the movies do Bond better, but in the books, Fleming’s superspy is a much deeper character, mostly due to the medium. I’ve always found Bond a bit of a blank slate in the movies, so a more fleshed out persona was welcome. One aspect of Bond is that he enjoys a multitude of cocktails and alcohol in his literary adventures. If Bond has a signature drink, it sure isn’t a “vodka martini, shaken, not stirred”… it’s the humble Scotch and Soda.
Throughout the books, James drinks more Scotch & Soda than any other drink. It actually makes sense, as it’s a quick drink to make that wouldn’t keep him locked down in the same spot for too long. It’s no-nonsense. Perfect for the ultimate spy.
The Scotch and Soda is a simple, but staple cocktail. I love scotch whiskey straight, but sometimes it’s nice to change it up a bit. I’ve found that coming at the spirit via this cocktail can actually bring out some of the more subtle flavors. I feel many people are intimidated by Scotch, and this is a great entry point for newbies.
1.5 – 2 oz. Scotch Whiskey (We like Johnny Walker Black or MacAllan 12 for this)
4 – 5 oz. Soda Water
The construction couldn’t be more basic, but the process is important to get correct. Take a highball glass, add the Scotch, then ice, then top with the Soda Water, and stir gently. If you’d like to add a dash of bitters, do so before stirring.
Once you serve the drink, make sure the recipient doesn’t stir it again! It can overly dilute the drink taking away from the flavor. Also, the straw you may often see served with this drink? Forget about it. If your nose isn’t in the glass right by the ice and fizz, you’re not getting the real deal.
How much Scotch to use is up to personal preference. I recommend starting with 1.5 oz. and working your way up, especially if this is your first foray into Scotch. There’s no right answer here. The traditional measure of Soda is 4 – 5 oz, but again, it’s your show.
And that’s it! I’ve introduced many friends over the years to Scotch Whiskey via this cocktail. This classy drink is great for before dinner, after dinner, or just showing you’re a gentleman (or lady) and a spy.
GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is an iconic game even in a crowd of other iconic games. It was proof positive to the masses and the industry that First-Person Shooters could work on a console. The innovative game introduced millions to the joys and annoyances of split-screen couch co-op. I can’t stress its importance enough… we wouldn’t have modern masterpieces like Destiny and Overwatch, not to mention Call of Duty and the like, without this foundation.
Before we jump into the game proper, let’s address the elephant in the room. The N64/PS1 era has not aged well. These early polygonal forays were amazing at the time, but they did not retain their style and aesthetic through the HD transition like the earlier sprite-based games.
So, what to do? Using composite video (that yellow plug), looks like garbage on an HDTV, if it works at all. The easiest solution, if you’re really into getting that old-school N64 fix, is to grab a small CRT television off of craigslist or from a family member. They usually can be found for free or very cheap, and will instantly transport you back to the GoldenAge. If the set has S-Video, grab a cheap cable off of Amazon and you’re good to go. [I need to note the RGB/Upscaler rabbit hole is an valid option, but one which I won’t explore here. There are many others more qualified to guide you in that endeavor.]
But wait! There’s another solution! Given my immensely geeky obsession with retro video quality, after a lot of research, I settled on an interesting mod called the UltraHDMI, purchased from GameTech-US. It grabs the digital signal directly from the N64 graphics chip, scales and outputs a beautiful HD picture. There are a ton of options, and if you’re an N64 devotee like me, it’s worth checking out. [Note: All of the screenshots in this article were captured using the UltraHDMI in Retro Mode.]
Back to Bond. This game rules. It’s still on top of my list for party games, and I most recently had a blast playing 4-player Golden Gun with some high school friends. No worries if your friends aren’t avid modern FPS players, the game is easy to play today.
That’s the big issue with GoldenEye, superseding the N64’s video output challenges. The controls are very awkward from a modern perspective. That said, it’s still a tight, fun romp, especially the multiplayer. I enjoyed revisiting the campaign myself, as I never had this game when I was a kid. Brosnan is MY Bond of choice, and this movie was the highlight of that era, so playing through the movie storyline of the game as him is a treat of epic nostalgic proportions.
There are a slew of other Bond games out there, but most of them are awful (a notable exception being James Bond 007 for the original Game Boy, surprisingly enough) and not worth revisiting. GoldenEye 007 for the N64 transcends those hurdles, and while it may not be as refined as Destiny or other modern shooters, there’s still a lot of fun to be had here.
As Scotch and Soda is an essential and fundamental cocktail, so I believe is GoldenEye 007 an essential and fundamental game. They’re also both simple, yet refined examples of their respective genres. If ever you find yourself with a few friends, why not whip up some Scotch and Sodas and go for that Golden Gun? Just watch out for flying hats!
What did you think of this pairing? Let us know in the comments below!