Drinking Games: Attractions or Distractions?

Quinn ScahillWhether it’s the butt-chugging frat boys of Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee, or random women who resort to vodka-soaked tampons, college students are continuously developing better and faster techniques in order to reach the ultimate goal of every weekend: inebriation.

While there are a variety of substances that one can choose from to reach this goal, it seems that alcohol is the most appropriate.


That being said, no college party is truly complete without some sort of competitive game centered on the consumption of alcohol. These intoxicating sporting events are more commonly referred to as drinking games, and their number hovers right around infinity. Pretty much any activity that we perform can be rigged into a drinking game of sorts.

While I enjoy drinking and going to parties, I’m not particularly fond of playing drinking games. This isn’t to say I dislike them entirely. I simply think that moderation is best, as it is in most aspects of life.

The biggest beef I have with any drinking game is that of Beer Pong. It’s a staple at any mediocre party, but I have learned to dislike it throughout my numerous encounters.

First off, only two to four people can play at once, and the average time per game can vary wildly depending on skill level and alcohol tolerance. Besides, having random people all drinking out of the same set of cups is just about the best way I’ve ever seen to spread nasty germs and bodily fluids.

However, my biggest qualm with pong (and most drinking games for that matter) is that it totally isolates you from the party. Rather than mingling with people, it forces you to a table that is probably filled with the most over-competitive dudes at the party. It might just be me, but I don’t go to a party for the sole purpose of dominating the beer pong table.

Rather, I set out to reminisce with old friends and to attempt to acquaint myself with new ones. Getting boozed up and enjoying yourself is important, but meaningful interaction with other human beings is the most significant thing that happens at parties.

This is not to say that all drinking games are bad. There are far more democratic games than pong that can involve much more people, like flip cup, for example. This game is quick and doesn’t take much commitment; if you want to quit you can just walk away from the table.

I do believe drinking games come with good intentions –– they energize a party and help to get us juiced up –– but they also run the risk of being extremely isolating and distracting.

If somebody asks you about a party and your response is, “Dude, I dominated the beer pong table,” then you definitely missed out on the party.

You can play drinking games whenever, but you don’t always get to partake in a champagne-soaked dance party. Step away from the pong table and do something memorable, like setting off a fire extinguisher in the middle of a wall-to-wall shindig.