Beer Pong Wii Game Normalizes Binge Drinking

After battling with retail stores to get Beer Pong games off their shelves, now Beer Pong has been turned into a game for the popular Nintendo Wii system. Electronic entertainment company JV Games Inc. recently announced that Beer Pong would be the first of a series of Frat Party games for the Nintendo WiiWare, a move which CADCA believes will only normalize binge drinking and promote underage drinking.

The new game, scheduled to be released in mid-June, will feature two distinct competitive games. Beer Pong, a tournament-style game of beer pong for one to four players, and Speed Pong, during which two or three players compete at the same time, each trying to be the first to eliminate all of his or her beer cups.

CADCA has sent a letter to JV Games Inc. expressing its concern that games such as Beer Pong normalize binge drinking among youth, particularly those who are underage. CADCA also urged JV Games to ensure that, if this game remains on the market, it is given an appropriate rating of AO for Adults Only.

If you are concerned about the Beer Pong game, and would like to send a letter similar to the one that CADCA sent to JV Games, please use the attached letter as a guide.

Members of CADCA are already expressing their concern. “As a parent and an alcohol and drug prevention professional in Wisconsin, my concern is not only that the game will end up being rated E for everyone or T for teen, but that drinking games such as these promote hazardous binge drinking for teens and reinforce a weak social norms message towards binge drinking among the entire population,” said Deborah Burgess, Drug Free Communities Coordinator at Wausau School District in Wisconsin. According to the Impact of Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use in Wisconsin, Wisconsin currently leads the nation in drinking among high school students (49 percent), underage drinking (39 percent), drinking among adults (68 percent), and binge drinking among adults (22 percent). She wondered what effect a video game like Beer Pong would have in a state with well-documented concerns.

When contacted for comment, a JV Games representative indicated that while the game had not received a rating yet, it would likely be T for teen, and that mentioning the legal drinking age in the game had not been considered. CADCA asked JV Games if they were concerned about including Beer Pong in the Frat Party Games™ series, when not all fraternity members are of legal drinking age. The representative said they were not concerned, noting that no reference was made to drinking or consuming alcohol in the Beer Pong video game, and that people who want to consume alcohol, would rather go out and play the actual game with alcohol, than the video game. He also referenced the fact that cartoons on television depict actual drinking, and go further than the JV Beer Pong game.

If you have further questions about the direction of the Frat Party Games™ series in general, please contact JV Games Inc. at PO Box 97455, Las Vegas, NV 89193. Vince Valenti is listed as a contact in the May, 19th, 2008 Press Release, company phone number 702-734-9689, while Jag Jaeger is the company Vice-President.

(Taken from www.cadca.org)

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