Beer Pong video game creates controversy

Its been a busy day today. Taking a moment right now to post this one before I forget. Just two words for the makers of this game: Dumb Asses!


The War Against Beer Pong By MEAGHAN HAIRE
1 hour, 7 minutes ago

Perhaps, in retrospect, JV Games should have seen this coming. After all, drinking games and video games may be two of college-kids’ favorite pasttimes, but they are also a source of constant complaints from their middle-aged parents. So when the software maker tried to combine the two adolescent activities, many critics felt it had gone too far.

Beer Pong is a virtual rendition of the popular college drinking game that requires players to toss Ping-Pong balls across a table and into a cup of beer (if your cup is hit, you drink). The game was designed for the popular Nintendo Wii platform, and its maker had planned to release it as the first game in its new Frat Party Games series. But concerned parents began sending angry letters to JV Games and Nintendo – Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal even got in on the action, sending his own missives to the companies – until JV Games agreed to change the title of the game to Pong Toss and fill its pixelated cups with water.

“We never anticipated such a severe reaction to the word ‘beer,'” says Jag Jaegar, co-owner of JV Games, which released Pong Toss on July 28 with a kid-friendly rating of “T” for teen.

The controversy isn’t entirely surprising. The point of beer pong is to get your friends drunk – and parents and university administrators generally frown on that sort of thing. Last fall, Georgetown University banned beer-pong, specially made beer-pong tables, inordinate numbers of Ping-Pong balls and any other alcohol-related paraphernalia in its on-campus dorms – even in the rooms of students of legal drinking age. The University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Tufts University have also banned drinking games. “We’re pleased that Tufts has put this in writing,” says Michelle Bowdler, a health administrator at Tufts. “Although we understand that 21 is the legal drinking age, we don’t want our students participating in activities that could do excessive harm to themselves or others.”

Bowdler has a point. Recent data from the Harvard School of Public Health’s College Alcohol study, which surveyed more than 50,000 students at 120 colleges, show that binge-drinking habits vary widely from campus to campus. Kids tend to party hardest at schools with few official alcohol-control policies, easy access to alcohol and strong drinking cultures.

Still, there’s no guarantee that simply taking the beer out of beer pong will have the sobering effect that college deans intend. Last year, Dartmouth College banned water pong, the real-world version of Pong Toss, because of the risk of water intoxication – it’s no joke, an H2O overdose can be fatal. “I know that [water pong] seems like a good balance between the Dartmouth drinking culture and just trying to have fun,” Kristin Deal, a Dartmouth community director, wrote in an email to students announcing the prohibition. “However, it can be just as dangerous, if not more so.”

The anti-pong activism strikes JV Games’ Jaegar as somewhat fruitless. As long as students “have access to alcohol, they will create drinking games out of any activity,” he says. More to the point, if students have access to alcohol, they’ll drink it – no games necessary. “You can’t drink if you’re not 21, but that does not seem to have deterred [students] in any way,” admits Tammy Gocial, dean of students at Kenyon College in Ohio, where the drinking-game ban has been officially repealed. Gocial notes that it’s already against the law for underage students to drink, so “to do the same thing [with a campus ban] – we know it’s not working,” she says. Instead, according to Gocial, Kenyon is developing a student responsibility campaign in an effort to change campus culture and reduce binge-drinking.

Could this mark the beginning of the end of beer pong? The game does have plenty more critics outside the walls of academia. The town of Belmar, N.J., for example, outlawed outdoor beer pong in 2005 after the city council passed an ordinance declaring that it exposed unconsenting neighbors to “foul language, rowdy and disorderly behavior and to examples of the consumption of alcohol under circumstances that are detrimental.” Since 2005, other Jersey shore towns, such as Manasquan and Sea Girt, along with municipalities in other states followed suit; some have even prohibited drinking games indoors.

But pong also has its fair share of enthusiasts – many of them will congregate in Las Vegas in January for’s fourth annual World Series of Beer Pong. So despite an increasing number of colleges and towns prohibiting the game, it likely won’t fade without a fight. View this article on

Where as I don’t care, really. I’m sure people could make for a much worse argument against games like Grand Theft Auto (though I do like those games) at least one could say that while the teenagers are playing this game perhaps they aren’t really playing a game of beer pong. So it could be worse, a lot worse. Chances are they will be and they’ll be able to play it on the computer with much more people and at any time with the game. But I’m trying to see the silver lining in this one…


2 thoughts on “Beer Pong video game creates controversy

  1. flammable says:

    Yeah, wait a minute.

    The purpose of beer pong is to get drunk, not necessarily to play a game. It’s like they missed the objective completely. The objectionable part of beer pong is the beer, not the pong.

    By that logic, the game is unappealing to their target audience, and offensive to people who don’t know any better.

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