February 8, 2012

Battleshots: When beer pong isn't boring or nerdy enough

Last summer I took a quick (and drunken) look at how the rise of beer pong reflects lots of the trends during falling-crime times, such as an obsession with rules and structure, minimizing social interaction, passivity / inactivity, and so on. Nothing wrong with that stuff in its proper place, but when it dominates even a party setting, it's time to roll it back.

Beer pong at least involves a minimal amount of physical activity, the potential for things to get messed up, etc. How could we make it even more of a buzzkill? How about making a shot-taking game out of Battleship --

Do a google image search for "battleshots" and you'll see tons of pictures, and Google Trends shows that people started searching like crazy for the term in the last quarter of 2011. So who knows if it'll actually catch on, but I wouldn't be surprised. They may settle on a different board game, just something that removes what little physicality there is in beer pong.

The only level left to take it to is to combine shots with a role-playing video game based on one of the dorky franchises that Millennials love, perhaps SpongeBlotto.

By the way, this shows the importance of not just looking at quantitative data, which show that teenage drinking has been falling since the late 1990s. Even among those who do still drink, the whole experience has become watered down (sorry, that one was unavoidable).


  1. According to Wikipedia, beer pong has been going on since the 70s...

  2. You have to be careful to distinguish when something's frequency is greater than 0 and when it's common. Wikipedia rarely does that, ignoring the pattern over time to focus on where the first sign of something was.

    Beer pong was rare or non-existent in the '70s and '80s. Unless they went to the one college where they made it up, no one who was in college then will mention beer pong in their memories.

    I saw it first in the fall of 1999, although that was my freshman year, so it could've gotten started a little earlier. It wasn't a staple at high school parties like it has become in the past 10 years.


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