When it comes to video games, nothing goes more hand in hand than hopping on the sticks with some gamer fuel close by. I’ve found this to be especially true ever since my two children were born. There’s been nothing more rewarding than fatherhood, and my kids have become my entire world now, but I still enjoy the occasional video game session on the weekends.
With children, however, comes extremely and often brutal early mornings, so trying to juggle my early rises with my late night gaming sessions has become quite a hurdle to clear. My passion for gaming refuses to die, though, and when there is a will to keep the candle flame burning bright, there is always a way to do so. And that way is most certainly through guzzling down a boatload of caffeine and a bunch of chemicals your body clearly doesn’t need!
Energy drinks have become commonplace with my gaming nights. This may sound problematic to some, but rest assured, all my gaming is confined to weekends only at this stage in my life. It sometimes can be a daunting task to try and push through a buildup of fatigue that the end of the work week typically imposes, but this can be done easily if you know what energy drinks to grab—and, more importantly, if you know where to find them (Hint: It’s not at your local gas station).
Submitted for your approval is my ranking of energy drinks, or “ens” as I like to call them. There’s a clear hierarchy of ens that exists, and I will do my best at categorizing each one into their rightful position. The following is a list of ens, restaurant menu style, broken up into three distinct sections:
The Appetizers (Entry-Level “Ens”)
- Monster Ultras (Red, White, Blue, Orange)
- Red Bull (Red Edition, Blue Edition, Green Edition, Lime Edition)
- Full Throttle (Blue Agave)
- Rockstar Zero Carb
If you’re looking to enter into the energy drink market, this selection of beverages is a great place to start. This category contains less caffeine for the most part (160mg or less), but these drinks can still provide a boost of energy when needed.
My personal favorite is the ultra-edition monsters, specifically the red and white flavors. The red provides a very solid fruit punch flavoring, which often times can taste like cough syrup, but that’s not the case here. The white flavoring is more difficult to describe but also offers a fruit-like aftertaste that’s easy on the palette.
Red bulls have come a long way from their humble beginning. I’ve really enjoyed all of the editions mentioned above, with red and blue being my favorites. I find the editions to have unique flavorings compared to the rest of the energy drink market, and they contain the lowest amounts of caffeine out of any of the other drinks in this review. It’s a mild but solid lineup that continues to change over time. The only downside is they tend to be on the pricey side compared to the rest of the drinks listed here.
Although I haven’t had either a Full Throttle or a Rockstar in quite some time, I remember enjoying the flavors. Both drinks have that classic blue-raspberry flavor you’d want to find in a good tasting en, although the full throttle contains sugar instead of the artificial sweeteners found in the Rockstar. The alleged difference between these two drinks lies in the caffeine content. Rockstar claims to have 240mg of caffeine in a single can compared to full throttle’s 160mg, but I have never gotten much of a kick from either one. Both make for great starting points for anyone new to the scene.
The Main Course (The Heavy Hitters)
Not for the faint of heart—literally. These include:
- Bang Energy Drinks
- Spike Energy Drinks (Original Shotgun)
This is where the money lies. Welcome to the best energy drinks (or at least the most effective) on the market! If I’m ever in the need for a good old-fashioned kick in the pants, this is my go-to section. The flavors are awesome, and the boost is one that won’t soon be forgotten. These are your Holy Grails of gamer fuel.
Bang energy, simply put, has the strongest and most diverse flavor lineup of any energy drink. Each flavor is extremely different from the next, but they all provide that old reliable Bang energy kick everyone needs to experience at least once in their lives.
The kick, simply put, is a memorable one. With 300mg of caffeine, there is plenty of energy to get you up and running (or, in this case, sitting on a couch for 4+ hours). Every flavor I’ve tried that Bang has produced has hit the nail right on the head. Feel like going to the carnival? Yup, bang has you covered with Cotton Candy in a can. Feel like lounging pool-side? Cherry Blade Lemonade will most certainly do the trick.
Bang also has flavors like Peach Mango, Purple Guava Pear, Blue Razz, Black Cherry Vanilla, and the ever-popular Sour Heads. My two absolute favorites in the lineup, however, would have to be the Rainbow Unicorn and Star Blast. Easily the best names I’ve ever seen for any energy drinks anywhere. If those two names alone don’t sell you on Bang energy, I don’t know what will.
When it comes to Spike energy, there is Spike and basically everything else. I don’t even really know why someone would ever need an energy boost of this magnitude (or the 83,333% of your daily dose of B12 it contains), but here we are.
I would have to imagine Spike is the closest thing to jumping out of a plane sans parachute. I’ll never forget picking up that red can for the first time and reading that label about only needing to drink half the can in a sitting, and then proceeding to chug the entire thing and being full of regret soon after.
This stuff is no joke folks. With 350mg of caff, it is sure to please, but be warned, you will not be going to sleep anytime soon after taking one down. I was able to pull off an all-nighter with no issues after taking the Spike for a spin, with zero urge to sleep the next day. I would take a minute to mention the flavor and taste, but if you’re drinking this stuff for the right reasons, you probably don’t care. If you’re looking to log some serious hours on the sticks or just trying to get your heart to explode, then it’s probably time to GET SPIKED!®
Desserts (Palette Cleansers)
These ones simply taste great. They include:
- C4 On-the-Go (Frozen Bombsicle)
I saved my favorite tasting energy drinks for last. These energy drinks have a nice combination of just the right amount of kick and some great flavors to boot. They are great mid-level drinks that always do the trick.
C4 is new to the energy drink field, and although it is marketed as a “pre-workout,” I enjoy taking it right before I plug my HDMI cord into my TV.
Their frozen bombsicle flavor might be the greatest energy drink flavor available. It is easily the best blue raspberry taste across the board, and it’s not even close or comparable to anything else. Although the caffeine content is lower compared to the aforementioned group above (200mg per can), C4’s dirty little secret comes in the form of beta-alanine. For anyone not familiar with b.a., I won’t ruin the surprise. Just go pick up a can of C4 and enjoy. Your skin will thank you for it!
You know what that tastes like? NOStalgia! Taking one sip of NOS drags me right back into yesteryear. What a time to be alive.
NOS was my drink of choice throughout my heyday of gaming during the college years, and it provided me with so many great memories and some unforgettable stomachaches. The night always began with one of these tall boys, and when the NOS was flowing, you knew it was going to be a great night.
Nights with NOS usually went as follows: take a few sips, play some video games, get up and dance in between rounds, play some more video games, get up and start breaking stuff around the room, throw stuff at anyone who was trying to still play video games, and eventually launch your empty NOS bottle up against the wall until it shattered into a million different pieces for someone else to pick up the next day.
Like I said, what a time to be alive. That sweet NOS flavor will never leave my taste buds, and I am forever grateful for that.
So, that’s my list! I hope you all enjoyed my first article for the Couch Bandit crew. A big thank you to Connor, Jake, and Nick for extending me the invite to write.
I hope I was able to give you some valuable insights on the world of gamer fuel, and more importantly, I’m hoping this article will provide you with a template for your next energy drink selection. Choose wisely everyone! Your night of gaming could depend on it!
Do you have a favorite energy beverage/supplement of choice? Let me know in the comments below!
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