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The VICE Gaming Guide to Video Game Drinking Games

Turn on, sign in, get pissed. You know it makes sense, at least before the morning after.

All photos courtesy of the author

This article originally appeared on VICE UK

It's almost time to say farewell to 2015. You'll have regrets, of course you will. But you'll also have parties, parties offering the opportunity to crush those regrets into dust with the brute force of no lunch followed by several shots of tequila and six "share-size" bottles of import-strength lager.

Sometimes parties happen at home – not your home, you understand, because forget dealing with that carnage the next day. No, no. Someone else's place – and if that someone else's place also has a games console handy, all the better, because while you might think video games require perfect hand-eye coordination to really get the most out of, frankly, that's baloney. Video games are super fun when player one is half-cut and desperately trying to get the better of player two, who's just poured their fourth "large" glass of something that used to taste a bit like wine, but this far into proceedings doesn't even register on the tongue.


Which is how we come to video game drinking games, because you'd best believe that they're a thing you can do, in the relative comfort of an acquaintance's archaically decorated rented apartment, spilling colourful booze onto carpets that even the 1970s would have rejected for being too swirly, but bloody hell do they ever do a good job of hiding the stains. Drinking games have forever been a part of drinking culture, the entrée to the main course of a night spent in a hospital corridor shaking with the effects of alcohol poisoning. And since video games are a dominant force in the modern mainstream media, well, it only makes sense to combine these pillars of bollocks-to-tomorrow entertainment.

Which is what we've done, right here: tried and tested ideas for mixing drinking with video games. There are rules to follow, naturally, and not just any game suits simultaneous, short-session binge drinking. For a game to work, it needs natural pauses in its play, or else how do you ever take a shot? It can't be too fast, either – nobody wants to ruin themselves within three minutes of turning on an old Genesis. Thirdly, a good drinking game video game should be one that makes sense to anyone after the very merest explanation – complicated controls and hard liquor should never be mixed.

Five video game drinking games, then, guaranteed to get you messy. Assuming that's what you want. And of course you do. Other people are hell, but they're slightly tolerable when their faces go all skewwhiffy.


Obviously, VICE doesn't encourage excessive drinking. That's irresponsible. But if you're planning a bender anyway, who are we to stop you? It's your liver.

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You'll be playing: SEGA's old-school arcade brawler Golden Axe, although similar games, like Streets of Rage, will also work. It's best played on the original hardware, as emulated versions run faster, making the game that bit harder to get into.

Booze requirements: A bottle of whiskey or rum or vodka, whatever you like, for shots; a couple of beers or ciders on the side.

Rules: Two players can get involved simultaneously here, in co-op. They must down a shot of their spirit of choice every time their character dies (which will happen a lot), or when they have to use a "continue". Every time a level is completed, both players take two fingers from their weaker drink. If anyone uses magic, like the dirty cheats they are, everyone has to take another shot.

Ease of play: 8/10 – this is a game that anyone can pick up within 30 seconds.

Likelihood of being wasted inside 30 minutes: 9/10 – you might remember being good at Golden Axe way back when, but you're older now, slower, and the game gets pretty merciless.


You'll be playing: Wii Sports Golf, or any Tiger Woods game that has a skins game mode.

Booze requirements: Flexible. Drink what you've got, so long as it's relatively even of strength across all players.


Rules: Skins mode means competing on a single hole at a time, basically. You win the hole, you don't need to drink. But everyone else does – which on Wii Sports Golf means up to four pissheads at once. There's a twist, though – win five holes and you down your drink, and if anyone hits a shot out of bounds, everyone takes a hit (you can decide to what degree).

Ease of play: 10/10 – because, seriously, who doesn't know how to play golf on a Wii?

Likelihood of being wasted inside 30 minutes: 7/10 – the problem here is that you'll drink while waiting to drink, but that's entirely your own fault, because you're weak.

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You'll be playing: Any 3D Grand Theft Auto game, which gives you plenty of platform options. Everyone owns a GTA game, don't they?

Booze requirements: Something from the spirits shelf, and plenty of pre-loaded shot glasses.

Rules: We've all done it – sacked off the mission at hand and just gone for chaos, messing up the beautiful world Rockstar spent so much time and money on creating, murdering innocents, exploding vehicles, generally being a massive dick to Liberty City (or wherever) until NOOSE (or whoever) is shooting out your tyres before filling your face full of protect-and-serve lead. Honestly, this is even better with a cheat code, to get all the guns you need right away for maximum results. And as this only works as a one player at a time game, it's best to hurry the fuck up with the mayhem. Every wanted star means a shot. When you're finally taken out, another shot. However, accidentally kill yourself, and it's two shots for everyone.


Ease of play: 6/10 – you need to know your way around the GTA controls.

Likelihood of being wasted inside 30 minutes: 7/10 – if you're doing everything you can to get SWAT teams on your tail, you won't last long, meaning that player turnaround time can be around the five minute mark, max.


You'll be playing: Come on, really? In fairness, though, this drink-along works with any fighting game, but Super Smash Bros. on the Wii U lets up to eight players go at each other, around the same console. The more, the merrier, quite literally.

Booze requirements: Player's choice, determined prior to play – a shot, three fingers, half a pint of Baileys, whatever does it for you. We're not your parents.

Rules: With Super Smash Bros., you drink every time you get knocked out of the arena. But if someone uses a Final Smash move, then everyone takes a drink. Everyone drinks at the end of each round. You can also impose handicaps. For example, if someone chooses a character they're especially proficient with, even when shitfaced, they have to down double the booze that the others do on victory.

Ease of play: 8/10 – you can mostly button mash your way to an unlikely victory, as Super Smash Bros. is far away from the complicated controls of any Mortal Kombat.

Likelihood of being wasted inside 30 minutes: 8/10 – though results depend on what drinking rules you decide on, and whether or not a healthy crowd is egging you on.


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You'll be playing: The Jackbox game, Quiplash. It's a party game, available on pretty much everything, where up to eight simultaneous players use their phones to input answers to questions like, "What is a better name for France?" You can write anything you like, and players vote on "the right" answer. There are loads of in-jokes and, if you're brave, you can stream the game to have a live audience voting, too.

Booze requirements: Line up the shots.

Rules: Very simple. If your answer is the lowest voted, you drink. If you voted for the lowest answer, you drink. If everyone votes for the same answer and you get a "Quiplash", you all drink.

Ease of play: 9/10 – once you get past the initial phone setup, it's a breeze.

Likelihood of being wasted inside 30 minutes: 10/10 – each round is over quickly, so make sure you've got enough glasses to go around.

Please drink responsibly. Know your limits. And so forth. If you do play any of these video game drinking games, or even come up with your own, share the results with us – VICE Gaming is on Twitter, here.

Games conceived and tested by @cleaverslips / Additional words by @mikediver