Virtual Beer Pong and Keepin’ It Real

Beer Pong
Originally uploaded by sindy

I stopped by the CS 194 Senior Project Faire today– for those of you unfamiliar with it, Stanford computer science majors are required to complete a senior project to graduate. The course serves as a capstone to their years of study and the projects are displayed and demonstrated at a type of trade show for students, staff, faculty, and visitors from industry. Prizes are also awarded in a number of categories (and not to brag, but back in 2001, I was also an award winner).

One of this year’s projects was a virtual version of Beer Pong (also known as Beirut by some), by Ned Rockson, Luiz Pereira, and Fred Thompson (and a special shout out to Fred, a member of the Residential Computing family). The demonstration showed a very impressive implementation with realistic physics and polished graphics and the use of the extremely popular Nintendo Wii remote as the input device. Check out this photo of one of our coworkers, Becky, in action.

Of course, in the end though, what’s the fun of beer pong without the beer (and usually cheap beer at that)? And especially the resulting increasing inebriation, spilled beer, and all the mess that goes with the aforementioned?

Interestingly, most of the project team hadn’t even played beer pong in real life and they relied on one team member’s “expertise” for their requirements gathering and analysis. I’ve never been much of a beer pong player myself (I don’t need a game for an excuse to drink), but as I watched people take their hand at lobbing the virtual ball into a virtual cup, I reminisced about the many games of real beer pong I’ve watched in my day. Perhaps the most memorable was at a party last Thanksgiving weekend in my hometown: like most games of beer pong, the table wasn’t a ping pong table. However, in this case, the table was a retired kitchen counter that’s seen better days (including the hole for the sink) with a makeshift net and resting on two sawhorses. I think the beer was Coors Light or some other reasonably cheap analogue and the setting was an unfinished basement. You can’t get more ghetto fabulous than that. I wonder if version 2.0 of Virtual Beer Pong will have an option for something like that.