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| Energy Drinks Mini-Roundup (9 comments )|
by: munch (1) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 2
Posted 75 months ago ( edited 75 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
|» MEDIA (4)|
Red Bull energy drink
SoBe No Fear
HyPeR NRGMark 0.1a
Walk into any LAN event and you’ll surely find computer cases lit up in neon lights, countless monitors neatly lined up, at least one special kid with a funky BO walking around with in his WoW gear and … a whole lot of empty cans and bottles. However, these cans are not the kind that the usual baby-boomer parent would expect: rather colorful, aggressive graphics, overwhelming designs... They are energy drinks and are now part of the growing arsenal of the dedicated gamer. The industry is certainly aware of this as it’s often on the sponsor list of the biggest LAN parties with Bawls energy drinks securing QuakeCon. Even Red Bull, traditionally a supporter of extreme sports and high-profile auto racing events, made a recent foray into the gaming world with its participation in local events such as AdrenaLANrush and Extreme LAN KC.
As the gaming enthusiast transitions from the childhood soda pop to a new kind of fuel, one has to wonder… will this make him play longer, if not better?
Since there’s a complete void on this virtual life and death matter, this intrepid firingsquad reader risks ALL as he neglects his health, job, and girlfriend and sets out to answer this quasi-existential question for the sake of gaming mankind – gamekind.
The contenders will be judged on taste, effectiveness and other imponderable gaming x-factor(s).
The taste grade will be attributed by 15+ years of training in soda drinking – real connaisseur taste buds.
The effectiveness grade is a whole lot trickier to measure. This attribute will be divided into two sections: subjective feel, coming from a profound understanding of one’s own body and objective test, result of an incredibly well thought-out scientific experiment. The first part is pretty self-explanatory, but a few words on the second are needed. Obviously, one can’t just pour each drink into the DVD-tray, launch 3DMark, collect data and ouput endless graphs… What can be done, however, is to drink, play for countless hours, measure any performance discrepancies, and then spit out some
totally meaningless chart... And so, without further ado, here’s the tool that will help usher gamekind’s performance into a new era: HyPeR NRGMark 0.1a.
HyPeR NRGMark 0.1a System Setup
• 1 human (male, unconfirmed physical condition)
• 1 PC
• 17 steps to the closest bathroom
HyPeR NRGMark 0.1a Methodology
The thought of aligning long uninterrupted gaming sessions for each drink was a bit overwhelming, not to mention such a feat would be impossible to schedule. It would also, in no uncertain terms, end up with a gf’s boot-to-my-head move. Therefore, to best mimic the grueling conditions of gamekind, it was decided that the benchmark should be performed at the end of a normal work day. The test conditions are as follow:
• 9hrs work shift ending at 8PM to ensure a constant state of mental fatigue
• Energy drink absorption starts at 11h30PM – bottle/can must be empty by 12AM
• 11h30PM to 3AM – 210 minutes of non-stop gaming per drink
But, which game(s)?
Battlefield 2 seemed like the most logical choice. It provides automatically a substantial quantity of data, and, most importantly, the test subject’s skill for this particular FPS has peaked (read: I suck, constantly). The average score per hour will be used as the main yard stick for this test.
After contacting various suppliers for a free review sample to no avail*, here’s what a $10 bill fetched at the local 7-eleven:
• 1 can of Red Bull energy drink (8.3 oz) – A roundup of energy drinks without the granddaddy of them all would be a travesty. Having sold more than 1 billion cans in a single year, Red Bull should be considered the one to beat.
• 1 can of SoBe No Fear (16fl oz) – Since being purchased by Pepsi in 2000, SoBe is getting further away from its origins. Their latest offering comes in an oversized can (NO bottlecap?!) with over-the-top graphics.
• 1 bottle of BAWLS Guarana (10 oz) – Whether it’s due to its pro-active LAN sponsorships, its distinctive blue bottle or perhaps its gutsy name, BAWLS has all the right reasons to be considered the drink for many gamers. “This is ThinkGeek\'s favorite caffeinated beverage, and the choice of most of our customers as well.”
To which the following was added:
• Double espresso shot (~2.5 oz) – This drink is meant to test caffeine effect without the extra sugar.
• Brita-filtered tap water (full glass) – Probably the most refreshing drink of all.
• (Swift kick in the ass, courtesy of the aforementioned gf upon hearing the words “video games” – not included in the benchmark)
Ballistics Report for Red Bull
Red Bull would’ve fared much better if it wasn’t for [HeHe]SuperSniperLOL (real alias withheld for no valid reason). During the run, this player kept on hiding on top of some far away building and sniped his way to the top of the scoreboard. The test subject kept on getting killed in the same area, yet came back repeatedly…
Form-factor: When irritated, having something you can crush is rather relieving.
Sweet Taste: Without mixing, Red Bull is akin to drinking sugar. Lots and lots of sugar.
Worst Feel: There’s definitely a jolt, almost a sustained jitter, albeit short-lived in addition to making you feel very thirsty. The sugar crash kicks in hard around the 3h mark and definitely impairs hand-eye coordination.
Poor Performance: This drink scored the lowest even though it was the first to be tested (when test subject was at his freshest). Also doesn’t make you any smarter or susceptible to learn from your mistakes.
Ballistics Report for SoBe No Fear
Decent Feel and Performance: This SoBe No Fear can definitely keep you going… if you can hold it in.
Monster Size: For $3, it may offer the best value in quantity per dollar, but this definitely does not translate to an advantage for the gamer. Feeling like your bladder is going to explode distracts from the game and ultimately leads to lost playing minutes. Also, crossing your legs at the local LAN party won’t help you impress that lone female.
Horrendous Packaging: It’s tall, big and ugly. There’s no possibility of saving half for later since there’s no bottlecap. This has all the signs for an extremely sticky keyboard and mouse…
Ballistics Report for BAWLS
High Performance: BAWLS not only enhances your performance, but turns you into a man-killing machine as evidenced by the highest Combat Score ever seen in the history of this benchmark.
Great Taste: By far the best tasting energy drink among the three. Even though it has a very similar list of ingredients, BAWLS is surprisingly light and well balanced.
Agreeable Feel: Keeps eyes open and the mind sharp with minimal downside.
Availability and Price: BAWLS, despite its popularity among gaming enthusiasts, doesn’t seem to enjoy a wide distribution network. It’s harder to obtain and, purchased per unit, is also priced a bit higher than the competition (due to the fancy bottle maybe?).
Ballistics Report for Double Espresso
Good Performance: Coming in second, the double espresso constitutes the surprise finish in our test. Also, with the highest Team Score, it seems to positively influence teamwork abilities.
Bathroom X-factor: This is the only drink that won’t make anyone rush to the bathroom at the end of a round. Aside from water, it’s also probably the healthiest among our contenders in the long run because of its low sugar quantity.
Feel: The caffeine buzz is strong; your eyes won’t close, but the mind is not completely there.
Poor Practicality: Starbucks is not sponsoring LAN parties as of yet. If gaming outside of your home, there’s little chance of obtaining a half-decent cup unless you drag along your own espresso machine.
Water was included in this benchmark as a way to validate the experiment. By scoring substantially lower than others, it would at least hint that caffeinated drinks DO affect performance. In effect, it scored close to the test subject’s lifetime average (which is weighted down by the initial n00b low-scoring hours) and thus confirms what all drinker-gamers instinctively know: caffeine makes a difference in individual gaming performance.
Having said that, which energy drink is best suited for gamekind? Without a doubt, among the three readily available contenders, BAWLS tops the list. Even if one would disregard the results of HyPeR NRGMark 0.1a, it still has the best taste out there**.
Although a bit pricier than its competition, a case of BAWLS, at $40, is probably the gaming investment that provides the most bang for the buck. Next time you are looking at that $500 video card upgrade, consider what that amount of BAWLS can do for your gaming performance. In effect, you’ll be investing in yourself … and still have enough money to shower the girlfriend with guilt-freeing gifts.
*Actually 2 of them were willing to send me samples in a timely fashion (free cans!), but since they are not distributed nationwide, they were not included in the tests. Thank you to HYPE and GURU for still providing me with their drinks. Without them, this article would’ve probably never been possible.
**Let’s be honest here, taste is not all that important. We’d all drink a can of ass palm sweat if it meant we could kick Fatal1ty’s butt in a FPS and not see his name plastered on every accessory.
|9 User Comment(s) • 8 root comment(s)|
| Droniac (114) Mar 02, 2007 - 03:21 am|
|Hehe, an entertaining read.|
A more in-depth look would've been nice. Enemy Territory with ETPro is probably amongst the best possible games for a test like this: it automatically tracks data, including such things as hit percentages with weaponry. The same goes for UT2004. Hit percentages would be nice in a test like this. It'd be interesting if bawls were to improve your lightning gun accuracy by 10% on average ;)
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| munch (1) Mar 02, 2007 - 11:09 am | Edited on Mar 02, 2007 - 03:26 pm|
|You are right, I do think hit percentages would've been relevant. I could've also added scores for each 30 min segment to see if there's a drop as time goes by. I could've also been much more thorough with game selection to better represent different skill set, etc. (Doing half-decent looking graphs, as I found out, is such a pain...) I think when you are analyzing something like human performance, there are just so many variables that you'd have enough material for 20 pages. Maybe in the unlikely event of HyPeR NRGMark 0.2? |
Before I started, my intention was just to poke at all those benchmarks out there by doing 1 of my own and extrapolate some totally implausible conclusion for a 'fun' piece. I didn't expect the data to make any sense... I guess numbers can't lie.
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| thecompukid (5) Mar 01, 2007 - 04:01 pm|
|Weird that you are getting some compliments in here and yet you only have a 40%. I personally gave you a 7/10 to start off your post. Gotta love them haters to lower your score. I know I have a few and so do other articles. |
hehe, glad this part isn't much for the overall score.
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