Beer pong is simple; two teams throwing a ping pong ball into a cup filled with beer. If you toss a ball in the cup, the other team has to drink the beer inside. Everybody wins. Life is good.
The cups are usually set up in a triangle of either 6 or 10 cups. The first team to eliminate all of the opponent’s cups is the winner. Too many rules? Probably.
Do we really need to put up artificial barriers to drinking whatever we want, whenever we want? Do we have to earn our beer, or are we just entitled to it?
Beer Pong of the Past
Beer pong was apparently invented by frat boys in the 1950’s. No surprise there. Exactly which frat at which college is not clear. Many historical Beer Pong facts are in dispute, lost in the hazy mists of time. Some say the game was originally played with paddles, like actual ping pong, though I’m not really sure how that would work.
Civilization inched forward and the game evolved. The paddles got smaller and smaller until they eventually disappeared altogether, like fake wood on the side of station wagons (or station wagons altogether, come to think of it.) Many consider the 1980’s to be the golden age of Beer Pong, as it was for so many things (hacky sack, hairspray, parachute pants).
Beer Pong of Today
Today we live in a more restless era. Beer pong has been subjected to the same relentless experimentation and excess that ruined other drug-related recreational activities (hacky sack, pop music, break dancing). No longer content with the simple pleasure of tossing a little white ball into a red cup, we require innovation and high tech, and sometimes a tie-in to a major movie franchise or national pastime.
Based on the game Harry Potter played at Hogwarts, this version of Beer Pong adds some attractive golden hoops and a tiny Snitch cup. It appears to have a lot of rules, though what they are is a mystery, as the link to them here is broken and here is in French.
One thing I do know is that every team has a Seeker, the position that Harry Potter himself played, who can shoot for the Snitch Cup. If he makes it, your team wins the game immediately, spoiling everyone’s fun.
Canada has a tradition of amiable beer drinking that makes it perfect for Beer Pong. They are also crazy for hockey. It is perhaps no surprise that they have combined air hockey with Beer Pong to create the cleverly-named Alcohockey.
This game demands the ultimate sacrifice from your air hockey table. Large holes are drilled into the surface, making it unfit for any other purpose. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, here are the instructions for How to make your very own alcohockey table. Just understand, once you start down this path there’s no turning back.
I see a couple issues with this game. First, it doesn’t look like it’s easy to drink out of one of those cups embedded in the table. Perhaps a straw is used, I don’t know. EIther way, to me anything that diminishes the best part of Beer Pong – drinking beer – is suspect.
Second, Alcohockey now has an semiofficial logo. So that ruins it for me.
Floating Beer Pong
Next we get into several versions of Beer Pong in which perhaps the best part of the game – taking a refreshing dip in a cool liquid – is not reserved for the ping pong ball alone. You can’t really see it here because the women have hijacked the apparatus for use as a floating beer cooler, but the GoPong Pool Pong Rack Floating Beer Pong Set is all you need to play the game we love while waist-deep in water. Buy it now on Amazon. Includes 2 Rafts and 3 Pong Balls (when did we lose the “Ping”?)
Rope Swing Beer Pong: Best Game Ever?
Going GoPong one better, Rope Swing Beer Pong turns the human players into giant ping pong balls as they launch themselves into inner tubes in the pond. I have absolutely no issues with this version of the game. Sounds like the perfect way to spend a long, hot afternoon. If you feel you need to understand the rules before playing, click here.
Beer Pong of the Future
Robots: Is This What’s Next For Beer Pong?
At this point I’m afraid we have to step into the uncertain future of beer pong, and indeed, of civilization itself. Can we imagine a game with no need for human participation?
The invasion of Beer Pong by robots has already begun, innocently enough, in the form of the sweet, helpful Roomba robot vacuum cleaner.
So while today the robot simply adds a fun new challenge for the human players, where does this lead? Will machines eventually take the place of human players? What’s the point? Robots don’t get tipsy, I don’t think. They don’t laugh at their friend’s pitiful efforts. They just keep getting better and better at everything in tiny increments. It’s depressing.
For a brighter vision of the future we’ll have to return to the idyllic college campuses of America. Here we have the sharpest minds working tirelessly to find new ways to get battered, beer goggles, blitzed, blotto, bombed and boozy. Fit-shaced, fizzucked, forshnicked, full as a tick. Hammered, hosed, lagered up, lambasted, lit, loaded, lubricated. Out of (one’s) tree, pickled, pie-eyed, pissed, plastered, ripped, and roasted. Schnockered, schnookered, schwacked, shellacked, shnockered, sideways, sloshed, smashed, and splifficated. Tanked, tight, tipsy, toasted, trashed. Wacked, wasted and wrecked.
I close with a tip of the hat to one of the seminal works from this new generation of beer pong innovation: 7 New Versions of Beer Pong That Will Get You Drunk As Hell.