Hello, Old Sport, and welcome to another exciting edition of “Give it a Shot!” This is Fenrir here, your resident English major here, and between you and me I’m both kind of stoked and kind of dreading this Friday’s release of the 2013 version of The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrman and starring Leonardo DiCaprio along with Spider-Man. I mean, Tobey Maguire.
I’m pretty sure you’ve got some friends who are so terribly excited for what looks to be an artsy romp through the glitz and glamor of our romanticized vision of Fitzgerald’s 1920s — and I totally understand if you’re not up there with the Gatsby hype. As much as I love Gatsby myself, I know I can’t force everyone to enjoy it (*Cough* Silverwolf *Cough, cough*).
But if anything, we can enjoy some of the great video game spin-offs and cocktails that celebrate Gatsby and the Roaring 20s at its finest!
So you might have missed it back in 2011, but way before the new hype for Gatsby that started up (again) this spring there was a little video game making the rounds across social media sites, tumblr, and beyond. Creators Charlie Hoey and Peter Smith launched their web-based Gatsby NES game spoof to massive appeal as this creative team took on a timeless tale and turned it into an addictive side-scrolling action RPG.
Notably the team went to great lengths to fabricate a background story for this NES version of The Great Gatsby. Check out their hilarious About page to get a glimpse of the “history” behind the game. Apparently it was found at a yard sale, a rare localized version of “Doki Doki Toshokan: Gatsby no Monogatari” — and if you can’t chuckle at that bit of creative snark, well, then you probably need to lighten up, Old Sport.
Hoey and Smith went to great lengths to make their Gatsby for the NES carry on the nostalgic feel of 8-bit wonder through art direction and sound. It’s a game that is utterly charming and clever, with simple side-scroller action and jump puzzles that are easy to navigate. You take on the role of unreliable narrator, Nick Carroway, armed with only your bowler hat which you can use to attack enemies ranging from drunks, hobos, flappers, and mobsters. The game follows the novel rather nicely, actually, and while it won’t take the place of reading The Great Gatsby, it can at least help you brush up on the plot enough for when your friends drag you down to the local theater to get a glimpse of DiCaprio dying in a body of water (Again *Cough*).
It’s definitely a fun way to pass the time/procrastinate and is the perfect fix to transport you to a nostalgic era of platform gaming.
And since “living in the past” is the theme for this article–and for The Great Gatsby in particular–what better way to celebrate the upcoming movie release with a bit of the 1920’s favorite pastime: drinking! If you can pick up a copy of Gatsby you’ll probably note within the first few pages that a drink says a lot about a person, and is generally part of the norm. In fact, the Buchanans, Gatsby, and Nick Carroway drink an alarming amount of alcohol over the course of the novel; I personally wouldn’t recommend trying to match them shot to shot haha.
But if you do want a taste of the past, here’s two drinks that you can literally “give a shot” of that will transport you into the glitz and glamor of the 1920s:
- Mint Juleps: A few particular guilty parties indulge in Mint Juleps at the Plaza Hotel towards the end of the novel. From my experience these can be kind of refreshing, actually, and are definitely the kind of drinks that past-Southern Belle, Daisy, would kick back when she needed to relax. Of course, serving more alcohol to her enraged husband probably isn’t a good idea; and I hope they do keep their Mint Julep exchange in the movie, for one of the few rather poignant moments of how utterly ridiculous the Buchannans are as a couple.
- Gin Rickeys: Tom Buchanan downs these like a boss. Like. All the time. I’ve personally never had one, but on the words from my resident guitar-ist-English-major-hipster-friend, Gin Rickeys are pretty high in alcohol. I mean, they’re only London dry gin mixed with a bit of club soda and a lime for good measure; maybe the club soda is enough to make Tom feel like he’s drinking water. Either way, the copious amounts of Gin Rickeys he inhales leads to some insightful moments into the bigotry of the upperclass that are both hilarious and just wince-worthy.
- Champagne: And if you really want to live it up like Jay Gatsby did then you’re probably going to want to pop open a bottle of cold champagne. Gatsby kept it flowing to the delight of his guests, and it already makes quite a splash in all three of the theatrical trailers released. There’s also less work involved in pouring open a bottle of champagne, although if you really want to Gatsby it up, you’re going to have to have a flapper dancer ensemble and maybe a live band or two to really intensify the mood.
And that’s all there is from this edition of “Give it a Shot!” Whether you literally get a shot or give the NES Gatsby game a try, I wish you all the best, Old Sport. (Remember, not everyone in life has the same advantages as you do.)