energy drinks

Photo Credit: Daily Texan Comics | Daily Texan Staff

Armed to the teeth with energy drinks, HD projectors and countless copies of the new video game “Halo 4,” the Tournaments and Games Committee will host a night of blood-splattering fun Wednesday. Students who attend the Halo 4 Extended Play tournament the night after the release will have the chance to explore various aspects of the campaign, multiplayer and cooperative modes while dishing out bullets and inane trash talk.

Although the title of the game belies its significance, the release of “Halo 4” marks a very distinct departure from previous iterations in the series. Bungie Studios, the former developer for the Halo trilogy and several offshoots, forfeited intellectual property rights to Microsoft in 2007 so that it could become an independent company.

After creating two of the highest-selling video games of all time, “Halo 2” and “Halo 3,” Bungie has set the bar extremely high for future versions of the game.

Despite being made exclusively for the Xbox 360 console, Halo is often acclaimed for its immersive multiplayer experience, which has accrued more than 3.3 billion hours of Xbox Live gameplay, said Anna Anderson, a PR spokesperson for Microsoft. 343 Industries, the new development team at Microsoft, has made a point of redesigning the credit system in multiplayer so that ranking up is more efficient, armor is more customizable and players are more invested in working together rather than betraying teammates and trolling. From kill assists to flag captures, points are now awarded more frequently than before so that slayer and other objective gametypes run smoothly.

While the figures have yet to be released, “Halo 4” is expected to the most expensive gaming title to date for Microsoft in terms of marketing and game development. In its decade-long lifetime, the Halo franchise has made over $3 billion dollars and sold 43 million game copies, said Anderson.

When the game is released Tuesday, fans will have to pay $60 for the standard edition game. Those possessing an even deeper wallet might consider spending an extra $40 on the limited edition, partly for the added bells and whistles, but mostly for bragging rights.

Over the last couple of days, the most scrutinizing game critics have reviewed the final product. Outliers aside, “Halo 4” has earned top marks from IGN, Gamespot, Game Informer and many other gaming websites, with an aggregate score of 87 out of 100. Although this falls short of “Halo 3”’s score of 94, by no means should it dissuade fans.

Troy, an employee at Dobie Mall’s Resurrected Games, explained that despite the price, pre-orders are already through the roof.

“This one should blow the other games out of the water,” Troy said. “And so far it’s got really great reviews, but we won’t know until Tuesday what the true fans think.

There’s even a “Halo 4” game system edition which comes with a spruced up Xbox and controller.”

Biomedical engineering freshman Jey Thirumavalavan, a diehard fan of the Halo series, plans to attend the Tournaments and Games Committee event so that he can see the game in action before he makes a purchase.

“Generally, I like to wait before deciding to buy a game, that way I can borrow it from friends and see for myself if it’s worth the money. If it’s really good, then I’ll get my own copy,” Thirumavalavan said.

The Halo 4 Extended Play event is free for all UT students with a UT ID. Fans hoping to score a copy of the game without throwing down $60 can enter the raffle for the opportunity to win “Halo 4.”

Printed on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 as: 'Halo 4' release aims to please fans

DURHAM, N.H. — The president of the University of New Hampshire is now outright reversing, rather than just delaying, a decision to ban the sale of energy drinks on campus.

While others had raised concerns about students mixing the drinks with alcohol, Huddleston says students aren’t buying multiple servings that might imply binge drinking. He also says there is no clear evidence that students are abusing the drinks and that the brands on sale at UNH generally have caffeine levels similar to coffee.

Printed on September 30, 2011 as: University of New Hampshire decides not to ban energy drinks

At first glance, an energy drink looks like an advertisement for superheroes and villains, declaring that they “give you wings” and “unleash the beast.”

Coffee sales have been up and down during the last 60 to 65 years, said advertising professor Gary Wilcox. In light of this statistic, caffeine, coffee’s primary ingredient, has recently found another a new product outlet: energy drinks.

Energy drinks are sold at nearly every dining hall and dorm market on campus. According to Jester Dining Hall manager Claudia Ashlock, Jester sells an estimated 100 cans of energy drinks a day.

Energy drinks are meant to give the user a boost of energy, exciting the nervous system and providing a steady stream of energy for about four or five hours. Energy drink advertisements target the exhausted — high school and college students.

Wilcox himself recalls a time when he saw Red Bull’s advertising technique face-to-face.

“One time my son was playing baseball with Baseball USA in Houston,” Wilcox said. “I think the boys were about 15 or 16 years old. [Suddenly], a little Red Bull car drove out and gave the boys Red Bull. fifteen years old is a little too young for energy drinks.”

Red Bull’s website claims that it “increases performance, concentration and reaction speed, vigilance and metabolism.” For the overworked, stressed college student juggling classes, work study, tests and student organizations, a Red Bull is sent down to grant the student the power to overcome time constraints and the need to sleep.

“If I know I’m going to stay up ‘til 4 or 5 a.m., I’ll drink them,” said Vanessa Saldivar, a communication sciences and disorders sophomore. “They really, really work.”

Sometimes a little bit too well.

Nutrition lecturer Deanna Staskel said energy drinks rely on caffeine and sugar to give drinkers an extra boost, adding that energy drinks usually contain twice the amount of caffeine than an average cup of coffee. While energy drinks contain high amounts of both sugar and caffeine, caffeine is hands-down the more dangerous chemical.

Caffeine stays in the body for about four to five hours. After it leaves the bloodstream, the body collapses, and the person can experience a “crash” — a sensation of complete exhaustion brought on by the lack of caffeine and dehydration of the body.

Additionally, energy drinks have additives such as niacin and taurine. Leading companies Monster and Red Bull claim the additives are naturally occurring amino acids and carbohydrates that can have detoxification benefits on the body. Staskel said that while the effects of these additives can seem beneficial, they are fairly new to the market and chemically produced, and, as such, their long-term effect on the human body is not yet known.

Caffeine has even led students to need medical attention. Theresa Spalding from University Health Services reports seeing cases of patients with headaches, jitteriness, anxiety, insomnia and chest pain because their hearts were beating so fast from caffeine stimulation.

While students drink them for energy or to stay awake, Staskel said there are other methods available that do not come in the form of a can. For example, one of the main causes of tiredness is dehydration. To stay hydrated, drink a lot of water. Exercising is also very good to wake up in the morning or stay up at night. Furthermore, if you feel tired, try eating small snacks throughout the day, as they keep your blood sugar levels steady and keep your energy levels more consistent.

In a campus filled with chemical stimulants of every shape and size, there’s a lot of controversy about what’s healthy and what’s not. Caffeine, sugar, niacin, taurine — all these chemicals affect people differently, and whether students choose to buy an energy drink is a matter of choice.

“It’s good for me because I need it,” said accounting senior Sanchir Enkhbaatar. “If people are saying that it’s bad, don’t buy it. You’re the one who’s swiping the card.”

In Wednesday’s column, “Fight the ‘freshmen 15,’” Ian Floyd recommends Sprite or Gatorade as a way to replenish electrolytes while staying health conscious. Gatorade is OK, but Sprite is just another soda, meaning it contains enough sugar to raise an eyebrow. If you compare a 12 ounce can of Sprite with a similar can of Coke, you’ll find that they have the same calorie count (140), and their sugar content differs by a single gram (38 grams versus 39 grams).

Floyd later tells us to shy away from energy drinks, and informs us that the Monster brand has a whopping 3.4g of sugar per ounce. Unfortunately, this sugar count is in the same ballpark as the Sprite that he is labeling as OK, which contains 3.2 grams of sugar per ounce. The solution? Avoid the soda and eat some fruit.

— Peter Djeu
Computer science graduate student