The creators of Wii Beer Pong and founders of JV Games, Jag Jaeger, left, and Vince Valenti pose here at their Las Vegas office. They insist their intention was just to make a clean, fun sports game for people of all ages, unrelated to alcohol  (Source: Las Vegas Sun)

A Screenshot of the new game shows the game to have many of the features of real life college beer pong -- cups, scantily clad 20-somethings, and poor coordination.  (Source: JV Games)

Real life game of beer pong, as illustrated on Wikipedia. Beer pong for decades has been a staple of college life, particularly among fraternities.  (Source: Wikipedia)
Where's Jack Thompson when you need him

Somewhere in the dark recesses of disbarment, Jack Thompson's blood must be boiling.  And he's not the only one.  Video game censorship advocates nationwide have caught onto, what they class as a "disturbing" new video game for the world's most popular next generation video game system, the Nintendo Wii.

Certainly, the system has developed a reputation as appealing to all ages -- be they young or old -- but is known to be especially warmly received by the youngsters (and their parents).

That same Wii is now home to a curious new title that takes advantage of the Wii's motion sensing controls to offer up a time-honored competitive tradition that you won't be seeing in a Wii Sports pack anytime soon -- beer pong. 

Beer pong, also known as beirut, lob pong, or many other names is a wildly popular college drinking game.  It involves making a triangle of filled beer cups on each side of the table.  Each team then takes terms bouncing ping pong balls at the other team’s cups.  If the ball goes in, the other team has to chug the cup of beer.  The winning team is the first to eliminate the others cups.  The losing team has to chug the winners' remaining cups.

Wikipedia describes the necessary assets of a successful beer ponger as having a knack for aiming, taunting, and sexual gestures.

Among its fans it is just like any other team sport, supporting comradery, fun, and perhaps a bit of friendly competition.  To its detractors it has fueled college alcohol abuse.  The AP has run pieces citing beer pong as a factor in several alcohol related deaths.

This month, a new game entitled "Frat Party Games: Beer Pong" made by indie developer JV Games is scheduled to be released for the Wii.  The game squeaked by with an ESRB Teen rating, which is where the controversy began.  "T" rated games can be sold to minors as young as 13.  Enraged parents feared that their teenagers would buy this game and it would fuel underage drinking.

Carrie Haugan, mother of two, is among these critics.  She states, "We don't need to teach kids to drink, you know, get ready for drinking games. They'll start drinking earlier maybe."

The ESRB board disagrees.  There is no alcohol in cups in the game, just a simple dexterity game fueled by throwing skills.  They say the game had no connection to promoting drinking.

Faced with wild criticism, Nintendo stepped in and had some choice words with JV Games.  The developers have now agreed to change the name to "Pong Toss" from "Beer Pong".  Vince Valenti, cofounder of JV Games references this riff stating, "We had a little discussion with Nintendo and there were some angry parties."

The developers insist that the spirit is to simply recreate the game without focusing on the alcohol.  The other cofounder Jag Jaeger states, "Well, we didn’t want to make it an exactly lifelike game.  We made it simpler, so anyone could play, from an 8-year-old to an 80-year-old."

Some are not convinced by the new title or the developer's insistence that their intentions are pure.  Unsurprisingly, Carrie Haugan is among these harden critics.  She states, "Well, they know it's a drinking game. It'll encourage drinking."

Typically, it’s violence in video games that gets them a perhaps unjustly bad rap.  Recently, two teenagers killed the younger sister of one of the teens allegedly simulating moves from the game mortal combat.  Video game critics have long tried to link violence and video games, though some studies have shown that violent video games actually have no effect on real life violent tendencies and have numerous beneficial effects

Now video game critics have found a new whipping boy -- Wii Party Games: Pong Toss and its alleged promotion of underage drinking.

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