Malcolm Owen On April 25, 2003 at 7:36 am

When you’re fragging away on your First Person Shooter of choice, have you ever thought about putting down your caffeine based drink? This is a serious question that many people won’t have thought about before, and don’t usually bother even considering in the first place.
Energy drinks and stimulation products all say that they make you more alert and therefore sharper when combating online, and many people will defend their usage. This short scribble is not to denounce the views of Red-Bull evangelists at all, indeed I am in fact one of them. This is more a pondering over whether there is any point in using them at all in the first place.

The first question that people have when they look at these energy drinks is "What kind of effects will they have on me?" closely followed by "Do they taste nice?"
The back of a can of your beverage of choice usually gives a good idea of what is going on, and what are in these things. My example is that of Lucozade Solstis, where it says the "combination of fast acting glucose and caffeine is designed to boost alertness and concentration". In general, this sounds like a good thing to drink when gaming. You need awareness to find where the opponents are, and you need concentration to work out what they are doing and how to counter it.
If you are uncertain of what is available on the market, just walk down the aisle of your local supermarket’s drinks section and choose a drink at random.
There’s also a tablet available that may up your game, available at which labels itself as "an optimal energy supplement, designed to bring gamers and athletes to the peak of their ability". In a similar way as the spam you will have received talk about ‘extending your member’ by various lengths using special tablets, this focuses your mind and makes your brain more "active" by taking a few tablets. It isn’t a bad idea either, especially if it can make the more unfocused in our society focused more than before, helping college students and gamers alike. Unfortunately, it isn’t in widespread use as of yet, and because of this I am ignoring it for the rest of this article.

Professional Gaming
A career in professional gaming tournaments and contests for prizes is looking even more promising for many people of all ages and abilities, and in this hugely competitive area everyone is searching for new ways to get ahead of their opponents, much like the athletes of today do. Most of the advantages available to the gamer involve training and memorising the games being played, but energy drinks are increasing in their usage in the gaming fraternity. If it can be proved that a single can of Lucozade could change the outcome of an important match, would it be frowned upon like steroids in the Olympics, under the creed "Winners don’t use Drugs"?
The arguments for and against drinking these and stimulating your mind are clear. Some say that coffee contains caffeine, and since coffee isn’t banned in everyday usage why should brain supplements be frowned upon? Many of them use Guarana and Ginseng, and even more use caffeine, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many normal, everyday products contain these and more, creating problems if such a rule did get created. In the athletic events today, there are stories of people being disqualified after having too much testosterone in their bloodstream, with the sole reason behind that being the act of sex they had with their partners the night before. This could be seen as going a bit over the boundaries of decency and common sense, but this is still a breach of the rules of normal body chemistry levels. Even by this silly example, by taking a rule such as that as law, it would take the fun out of your life, purely because your sporting activities demand it. Imagine choosing between making love to a beautiful woman (or a handsome man) and what effectively becomes your job. If the rules banned alcohol as well would you give up the bar? No. Neither would I.
Others disagree to this way of thinking, staying on the tone of gaming being a contest of minds, and not a contest of whoever happens to drink the most Mountain Dew beforehand. Unsurprisingly, most people are choosing to shy away from this ideology, because quite frankly it is pathetic and boring to live by.

Maybe we are overusing these products a bit. An example would be drinking coffee constantly. After some time, the body will adapt to the inclusion of caffeine in the system, and so it will work as if it doesn’t exist, but still continue using it. If suddenly, coffee wasn’t being taken, the human anatomy will suddenly feel sloth, as it’s dependence of caffeine hadn’t taken into account the withdrawal of supply. This is a sign of addiction, when your body can’t bear to live without something it is used to getting. You can easily see the effect that happens when a 20-a-day smoker goes cold turkey for a while. If the increased stress from the subject doesn’t make you notice, then maybe the fact that they are throttling your neck might be more of a clue.
In which case, I have a suggestion. This may sound radical and possibly "ludicrous", but it’s just an idea. Stop drinking the stuff. I have found that drinking a Red Bull substitute is far more potent on someone who doesn’t drink them regularly than with a constant user. People could argue that the person whom does partake in it has a far higher scoring capability on average compared to the non-user, but if you are looking specifically at the change between normal and after drinking, you will see a much higher change in the non-user than the other. The idea of this is simple – If you avoid drinking stimulants and you raise your game to a high enough level to be comparatively the same as that when you ARE drinking them, what would your score be if you suddenly DID drink a can or two? In basic logic, this can only be a good thing.

Why not try this out? I mean, you have nothing to lose, and possibly a lot to gain by this.

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