WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 18, 2014, 01:49 PM

Apparently This Matters: Virtual soda drinking

(CNN) -- I haven't had a single Diet Coke in 2014. It was a conscious health decision, and the only real side effect, now, is that the world is awful and I hate everything.

By: Jarrett Bellini, CNN, CNN

(CNN) -- I haven't had a single Diet Coke in 2014. It was a conscious health decision, and the only real side effect, now, is that the world is awful and I hate everything.

Including puppies.

Quite frankly, my life was much better when I drank Diet Coke. It had purpose.

Mind you, that purpose was to spend seven hours a day in front of a urinal. But some really good ideas came out of that.

"Andrew, we should totally build an ark."

I've actually written before about my Diet Coke addiction. It was legitimately bad. There was even a short period where it was pretty much all I drank.

For instance, I would come home from a jog, tired and dehydrated having just spent a whole 20 minutes mildly exerting myself, and then I'd take long, deep pulls from a two-liter bottle, fresh and cold right out of the fridge.

Just do it.

Of course I miss Diet Coke, and I still get the urges. But it usually ends after about an hour when one of the neighbors sees me crying in the street without pants and calls the cops.

Thankfully, however, all that seems to be a thing of the past, because now there's a new virtual reality video game that lets you digitally enjoy the greatest pleasure in all the world.

It's called Soda Drinker Pro. And it's totally real.

I played it.

The game was created by 33-year-old Will Brierly of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and, like all good innovations, it was inspired by laziness.

"I woke up in the middle of the night and needed a soda," he told me via e-mail. "Unfortunately, I didn't have one, so I decided to make a simulated soda."

Amazingly, over the course of one day, Brierly created the first five levels of Soda Drinker Pro. Which is probably why the graphics are what some experts might call complete and utter crap.

But that's part of the Soda Drinker Pro charm. It's purposefully absurd, and, remember, this thing was built in a day.

So, the game isn't exactly Rome.

It's more like Tulsa.

And the rules are pretty simple. You walk around different environments with a virtual soda in your hand, click left to put the straw up to your mouth, and then click right to simulate drinking.

You hear the sound of draining fluid, and your soda levels deplete as you hold down the click.

And that's pretty much it. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Truth be told, I didn't actually play long enough to get past levels one and two (the beach and the park, respectively), but I'm sort of hoping that one of the now 100-plus levels is a drainage ditch in Tijuana so I can recreate some of my darkest moments with Diet Coke.

"Señor, usted está asustando a los niños."

Now, this might all sound a bit silly, and the bad graphics and simplistic game play are fine for goofing off on your Mac or PC, but Brierly has actually taken his "first person soda" to the next legitimate level of gaming.

He proudly boasts that it has Kinect support for Xbox One, and that console will also offer exclusive levels of drinking soda throughout time.

Like the Roaring 20s. Or, say, 1972.

And Soda Drinker Pro even has Oculus Rift support.

(Note to Dad: Oculus Rift is that incredible virtual reality software Facebook bought for $2 billion.)

(Note to Dad: Facebook is that website mom is always on.)

(Note to Dad: Virtual reality is ... oh, screw it. Never mind.)

Beyond the fact that it's catching on at all -- albeit ironically -- it's also interesting that it's happening now. Brierly created the game six years ago, but it took a rather captive audience to get it off the ground.

He explains, "I didn't show anyone except some friends, but last year I did a presentation of Soda Drinker Pro at a soda drinking convention in Providence."

You read that correctly.

There's literally something called the Providence Soda Club, and apparently they hold a convention.

Which, I suppose, shouldn't be that unexpected. Rhode Island is so weird. It's not even an island.

It's more like Tulsa.

Follow @JarrettBellini on Twitter.