Drinkards Beer Pong
August 29, 2012 Leave a comment
I’m not a drinker, and thus I’ve never indulged in the frat house pastime known as Beer Pong. It’s a relatively uncomplicated game: all you need is some plastic cups, a ping-pong ball, and alcohol. Total cost is, what, $5 + booze? An 80MSP digital version of it might be more cost efficient, but isn’t something lost in translation when you take such a simple concept and convert it to a video game format? I touched base on this in my review of Kick’n It, which was digital hacky sack. Some things just don’t need to be video games. I figured beer pong would be one of them. Still, the extremely friendly developers of Drinkards Beer Pong assured me of two things. First, unfamiliarity with the sport of beer pong wouldn’t be a problem because the game is pretty self-explanatory. Second, you don’t have to be a drinker to enjoy beer pong. Maybe that’s true, but I’m guessing you would have to be completely shit-faced to enjoy Drinkards Beer Pong because the game sucks.
To the developer’s credit, they loaded this version of beer pong down with plenty of options and house rules. However, this is wasted on really fidgety aiming mechanics. It’s hard to get a good perspective on depth and angles, even with a cursor that shows the entire trajectory of the ball. This is hammered home by the fact that I was often throwing what looked like a perfect shot into one of the cups, only to watch the ball miss the cups completely and fly off the table. The aiming rocks back and forth, but honestly the whole physics of it seem slightly tipsy.
I was unable to try Drinkards Beer Pong online, which is probably fine seeing how the game outright warns you that many of its features won’t work on Xbox Live. Instead, I arranged to try this using the local four player co-op. The teams would be two people who have never played beer pong versus two beer pong veterans. Representing the non-beer-pongers, my father and I. Representing the veterans, two of our newest interns: Dustin and Ryan. Hi guys! I told you I was Indie Gamer Chick!
With the multitude of options the game offers, we left it to the vets to decide what rules would make for the most fun experience. We played with six cups, unlimited re-racks, and a lot of other stuff that I’m still not clear on. Despite what the developers insisted, their game is not going to be highly accessible to non-pongies. Not that it matters, because why on Earth would someone that’s not a fan of it even want to play a digital version? But we pressed on, and many shots were missed. Even after almost an hour, nobody could get the hang of the aiming mechanics. Sure, we made a shot or two, but as Dustin pointed out, you would actually have enough time to sober up between shots. Which defeats the whole purpose of a game that’s designed to get you good and blitzed.
All four of us agreed that better, clearer aiming mechanics would greatly improve the game. Also, we all agreed, and I can’t fucking believe I’m saying this, that Drinkards Beer Pong is one of those extremely rare games that would be more fun to play with Wii-style motion controls. But, my intensive review was not complete. Like I did with Kick’n It, I wanted to compare the video game to the real thing. So we actually played a couple of rounds of “real” beer pong. Only without alcohol. My excuse is I literally can’t drink, thanks to my seizure medications. Also, we used Styrofoam cups instead of plastic, because that’s all we had handy. I guess plastic is supposed to work better, but you have to make due with what you have.
Even our ghettoized, using water instead of alcohol and the wrong kind of cups brand of beer pong was so much more fun than the video game version. I could see how this could be so popular among the college-going population. And I don’t think anyone would choose the fake digital version over the real thing. It’s something so fundamentally simple to set up that it doesn’t get the benefit of being more convenient to play on a console. Even if Drinkards Beer Pong was absolutely perfect, it wouldn’t be better than the real thing.
It’s not absolutely perfect though. Even with pretty dang decent graphics, the sound effects are repetitive, the voice overs are annoying and repeat themselves too often, and the shooting mechanics are really brutal to get the hang of. There is obvious talent on display here, but I would advise the developers to give up their plans on refining what they’ve built and move onto something else. And that something else better be something that can only be done in a video game. If you guys turn around and make Video Tetherball I’m going to saw your heads off and re-purpose them as jack-o’-lanterns.
80 Microsoft Points have just been informed that there are versions of beer pong for Wii and that they are absolute shit in the making of this review. Well, there goes that theory.