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'
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
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.