As long as there have been drinks with ethyl alcohol in them, there have likely been ways to turn this consumption into a game. Plato?s writings include a description of a game somewhat like flip cup (chug your wine, slap the cup, and pass it on to the next person). Another popular game in ancient Greece was kottabos in which the dregs of a wine chalice would be flicked at a target, the object being to be the most accurate. The ancient Chinese also played numerous drinking games, including dice games and riddle-based drink-offs.
This ancient legacy has come down to us in the myriad drinking games we have today. There is the old standby of flip cup, always an easy way to get a lot of people involved. Then there is beer pong, Beirut, or any other variation of balls-in-cups, which often becomes the focal point of any party. Card based games abound, including the ever-popular king?s cup, screw-the-dealer, or even bet-with-booze black jack. Games involving more intriguing items, such as stump with its requisite hammer, nails, and of course a large stump, are popular as well. Even just watching TV and movies or listening to music can easily be turned into a drinking game with certain drinking cues, and of course the right group of people. It seems that almost anything can be used for a game and anything can be turned into a game.
The impact of drinking games is just as amazing as their scope. Technology has been developed in the name of the drinking game. The iTunes power hour download, for example was created with the express purpose of making a power hour that much more fun.
Even the economy outside Apple downloads is very much affected by drinking games. An entire industry devoted to beer pong tables has developed as evidenced in such websites as http://www.bjsbeerpong.com. At the daily level, it seems that every store in the nation now carries ping pong balls, some even specifically designed for beer pong.
Then, of course, there is the impact drinking games have on the alcohol industry. I am sure an Anheuser-Busch executive smiles every time a college student pours another can of naty light into a solo cup.
The ancients were on to a good thing when they decided to not only chug their drink, but to formulate an organized way to do it. And we still do.