NimbleStrong: the iPhone bartending-manga game

3.png My daughter's first video game obsession? Nimblestrong, an iPhone game that teaches you how to bartend as you select, drag, and time your pours of various drink recipes into appropriate glasses - complete with garnish. All the while, you are encountering strange and exotic patrons as you train to become a hero master bartender. It's actually one of the better examples of a video game being used to teach a specific skill that I've come across, with a good balance between twitch, recall, and narrative. There's just something deeply compelling - and rewarding - about successfully completing a complex drink and getting high scores from that anime vixen who thought you would screw it up. The best part is the sound effects, and the particularly retro vidgame score. That, and the fact that my five-year-old now knows how to make 57 drinks.


  1. As a person who always drinks brandy, cognac, or other liqueurs neat (mmmmmm, B&B or Drambuie), I don’t know if it’s the same amount when poured over ice. Do they add more in that case, or are you getting gypped?

    1. > As a person who always drinks brandy, cognac, or other liqueurs > neat (mmmmmm, B&B or Drambuie), I don’t know if it’s the same > amount when poured over ice. Do they add more in that case, or > are you getting gypped?

      Whether neat or on-the-rocks, the volume of the liquor will be the same. In the picture above, the level of liquor should look higher due to the additional volume of the ice; however, the amount of liquor will be the same. If, at a bar, you received a glass of both shown above, you would be getting gypped with the on-the-rocks glass, as the volume of liquor is less than the neat glass.

    2. Obviously I can’t speak for everywhere, but typically bars will pour a set amount (whether that’s one shot or two, etc) regardless of the ice. You shouldn’t be getting any less just because you get ice.

      1. To you (and anon)– Yep, that’s what I figured, but I think some bars are just so used to pouring to a certain line or with a certain pour “memory” that they wind up giving you less when it’s on the rocks – out of sheer habit.
        I figure that’s why I learned to drink my drinks “neat”-ly.

    1. I don’t see what’s bad about it. It’s not like she can walk into a liquor store and buy a bourbon to start mixing with. She’ll be a hit at parties, too!

    2. Sounds pretty great to me.

      “Honey, go make Daddy a whiskey sour.”
      “Okay, Daddy!”

      How is that not great?

    3. the part where little Johnny actually starts pulling some weight around the house and has my rye old fashioned awaiting my arrival after a day’s work.

      Now we just need a “how to properly pack a pipe with tobacco” and “how to fetch daddy’s slippers” app.

    4. Well, it beats the hell out of my nine-year-old refusing to get me a beer because “drinking is bad for you Daddy”.

    5. Yeah, clearly she’s behind the curve, only learning this stuff at five — practically kindergarten age. These days, *infants* can bartend thanks to this excellent McSweeny’s book (which I actually gave as a gift)

  2. If morals need to be satisfied, the game comes with a disclaimer that it is rated for ages 17+.
    It actually sounds kind of cool. Thanks Doug!


  3. I’m teetotal, I don’t have an iPhone, or even an Android phone, and I want this. I suppose I’ll have to settle for the soundtrack.

    As for five year olds learning to mix drinks, it’s like sex education. They should be taught everything they need to know long before they start doing it.

  4. Dang, I’m going to have to teach my daughter to make some cocktails, once she’s able to speak and reliably grasp objects.

  5. I was watching a Japanese TV show the other day where they did a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of McDonalds Japan. One of the more interesting things about their training techniques for new employees included a Nintendo DS game designed to teach their cooks how to run the fryer, salt fries and properly cook burgers.

    This bartending game reminded me of that.

  6. Taught properly, a bartender will count, at his own speed while pouring, for a quarter, half or full ounce, or multiples thereof. It becomes a habit, reactive, a metronome. Inserts for the bottle have a standardized pour rate, defined by the requirements of an every internal auditor. And so it goes. Doesn’t mean that your favourite bartender won’t miss a count, on your account…

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