Review

Absurd With Friends

Spin The Bottle: Bumpie’s Party brings close friends way closer.

By Derrick Sanskrit • August 15, 2013

A roommate stomps all over my feet while the two of us dance a waltz, and then, a friend holds his lips mere millimeters from those of my girlfriend while the two squish an imaginary orange between their faces. This should be the start of an awful evening, the kind that leads to drinking and reevaluating the company I keep, but I just can’t stop giggling at how silly it all is. What else should I have expected after inviting friends over for a game of Spin The Bottle?

Yes, somebody made a video game out of the raunchy pre-teen party fixture. You might remember the developer, KnapNok Games, from their Nintendo Wii experiment, Dark Room Sex Game (sensing a theme here?), or from B.U.T.T.O.N. (Brutally Unfair Tactics Totally Okay Now), a game that involved players dashing across their living rooms to smack each others’ controllers and protect their own. KnapNok have made a fine tradition of asking players to reconsider what makes a video game different from analog party games, designing software that encourages people to interact with one another rather than with a computer.

Spin The Bottle: Bumpie's Party

Spin The Bottle: Bumpie’s Party continues that experiment, asking players to get as uncomfortably close to their friends and family as possible. It tests the boundaries of your personal space, willingness to laugh at yourself, and even general personal hygiene. I’ll remember which of my friends did not brush their teeth far longer than who won or lost. (So play it safe, and use that mouthwash.) By spinning a virtual bottle on the Wii U GamePad’s touchscreen, two players are chosen to engage in simple yet outlandish physical challenges that test their ability to communicate in a short period of time. They may need to pass a sleeping badger (Wii remote) over their heads without waking it, find the rabbits (Wii remotes) other players have hidden in the room, or even cut through a log with a two-person saw (a pair of Wii remotes).

There’s a common thread here of calling game controllers anything other than game controllers. Spin The Bottle is a game played (almost) entirely within your imagination. There is nothing to look at on the big screen, in fact the developers recommended that you turn your television off while playing. The Wii U GamePad provides the instructions and the Wii Remotes track you movement and button presses, but the game is largely played via the honor system. Any sort of innuendo is entirely up to the players as well, so a round of Spin The Bottle can be as wacky and wholesome as an episode of Phineas And Ferb or as lewd as a game of Strip Cards Against Humanity. (There has to be a strip version of that game by now, right?)

Spin The Bottle: Bumpie's Party

If your group feels especially silly (pro-tip: always be especially silly), there are “bonus challenges” that add new wrinkles to the games for guaranteed ridiculousness. Instead of just slow dancing, now you must slow dance cheek-to-cheek, feeling the warmth of each others’ breath on the nape of your neck or someone’s stubble scratching your ear. You may be asked to play certain games using only your feet or while impersonating a frog. There’s no “extra credit” for this, and these challenges, again, work exclusively on an honor system. The fact that your friends are watching and may tease you if you don’t do it or be extra impressed when you pull these shenanigans off might be incentive enough to stay true. I quickly found myself wrapped up in the foolishness of these activities and craving the additional bizarre challenges, so much so that I’m tempted to write my own ideas on slips of paper or on a Wheel Of Fortune-style spinner for future sessions.

There are points and winning and collectables, but they’re inessential. While it could just as easily be played without a video game console—and perhaps it will inspire players to design their own party games—Spin The Bottle demonstrates a creative mastery of the Wii Remote not seen in years. Hearing chickens cluck through the speaker and feeling the roar of a rocket’s engine through its little rumbling motor creates an immersion that no high-tech onscreen simulation could replicate. While one of my friends was being lead around the room blindfolded, another remarked through muffled laughter that these were the best graphics he’d ever seen in a video game. I couldn’t help but agree.

Spin The Bottle: Bumpie’s Party
Developer: KnapNok Games
Publisher: KnapNok Games
Platform: Wii U
Price: $9
Rating: E

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  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Amazing.  This and Joe Keiser’s Brothers review have given me a warm fondness for two games that I’m probably not likely to derive from the games themselves.  This is the kind of game journalism I like.  This and the kind with swears.  

    • Boonehams

      Heard you swearin’. Mind if I join in? Crap, boobs, crap!

      • Oxperiment

         dix

      • SamPlays

        What’s with the GS crowd being so tame with their swear words? Boobs? Seriously? This is the most PG forum I’ve ever seen and I know most of you are in your 20s or older. What the fuck?

        • Jackbert

          Pretty sure he was being sarcastic.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          We’re the most fucking civil discussion forum on the Shiternet!

        • Boonehams

          And here I thought we were all so well-versed on Simpsons quotes around here.  I’ll try to be more overt next time and use a more popular quote.

          Also, shit fucks.

        • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit
        • Effigy_Power

          No scum-sucking jerk-off calls me PG and gets away with it.
          Prepare for fisticuffs.

        • SamPlays

          @Merve2:disqus Very true. Although I think the commentariat at Roger Ebert’s site gives GS a strong run for it’s money. 

          @Boonehams:disqus Unfortunately, I stopped being a dedicated fan of The Simpsons around season 10. After checking the quote, it all makes sense why it passed by me. Notwithstanding, my comment is based on visiting these forums for the last year and half. I should have clarified my long-standing observation, which wasn’t based on a single recent comment. Sorry! And +1 for shit fucks.

          @Effigy_Power:disqus Tread lightly*.

          *For the sake of clarifying a potentially obscure quote, this line is from the latest episode of Breaking Bad.

  • PaganPoet

    Mouthwash actually makes your breath smell worse. The alcohol content strips your mouth of much needed water and allows stinky bacteria to thrive.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

      So mouthwash, followed by a nice, cool glass of H2O?

    • boardgameguy

      I usually have a glass of water afterwards because of how dry my mouth feels. Hate that feeling.

    • HobbesMkii

      My mouthwash doesn’t have alcohol in it. It’s a flouride wash, actually. But it claims to help fight gum disease.

      • SamPlays

        This sounds like a Communist conspiracy. First our mouthwash, next our water supply!

        • Oxperiment

           Dammit, we have precious bodily fluids to protect!

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        My mouthwash doesn’t have alcohol in it either.  Which is why I don’t use it and rinse my mouth with gin, instead.

    • Boonehams

      My dentist recently recommended that I rinse my mouth with Hydrogen peroxide.  After trying it last night, I felt like I had just licked a skunk’s butt-hole clean.

      • SamPlays

        H2O2 is incredibly versatile. I’ve never heard of using it orally (please tell me it’s no stronger than 3%) but it is hands down the best solution for pet odors and stains. We’ve had to use it a couple times over the years for cat and dog urine on carpets, etc. and it works like gangbusters (it takes a few days to work well and reapplication helps, too). I like it because it doesn’t involve any unnecessary chemical compounds. After breaking down piss atoms it evaporates into hydrogen and oxygen.

        • Boonehams

          It was 3%; specifically listed to help with teeth enamel.  I mixed it with equal parts water because apparently it helps with the reduction of bacteria with a concentration slightly lower than 3%.
          Wait, how in the hell did we get to talking about teeth with this game review?

        • HobbesMkii

          @Boonehams:disqus It’s a natural progression from videogames, I feel.

      • mizerock

        I got some mouthwash that had hydrogen peroxide in it. I expected an alcohol burn, but instead got … bubbles! Weird. So, one bottle later, are my teeth any whiter? Not that I can tell. But I’m glad they aren’t that awful fake-white that marketers try to convince us should be our goal.

    • SamPlays

      In addition, it kills ALL microorganisms in your mouth, which means some of the good bacteria and enzymes (particularly those from saliva) necessary for a balanced mouth ecosystem are removed as well. The best way to deal with stink breath is brushing and flossing and minding what foods you put in your mouth. If you drink bottled water, you’re also missing out on benefits of fluoride, even though its a Communist conspiracy.

  • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM

    why not just have a good old fashioned orgy?

    • PaganPoet

      There is no acceptable answer to this.

      • Enkidum

        What about “Good point! Let’s!”?

      • Effigy_Power

        Seems like an acceptable answer all in itself.

      • SamPlays

        This reminds me of the time we played “Spin the Dildo in the Donkey”.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      Because while the Wii U Gamepad is versatile, its prophylactic properties are…limited.

      • HobbesMkii

        It’s also a selfish lover.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          It always wants to be touched, but it never touches back.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      But I just finished cleaning up the goat blood from the last one!

      • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

        Geez, Helmaroc, with you every orgy is a blood orgy!

        • Boonehams

          It is if you’re doing it right.

        • Effigy_Power

          Are there any others? I mean I told them to not make the steaks blue-rare, but orgies make people hungry.

        • The_Helmaroc_King

          If an old-fashioned orgy doesn’t involve animal sacrifice, it’s not old-fashioned enough.

      • PaganPoet

        I tell you…getting the smell of charcoal and cumin out of the drapes was quite a chore.

  • stakkalee

    Good on KnapNok Games for getting players to engage with the controller in different and absurd ways.  With standard controllers there’s only one way to use them, and while many of these controllers are very well designed to fulfill their specific purpose they tend to limit how we engage with the game.  (How many shooters use very similar button schemes?)  The Wii wand was very innovative but I never felt that a lot of developers were really cutting loose with the freedom the wand gave them so it’s good to see a developer that’s willing to take risks with one of the most essential elements of video games.

    • boardgameguy

      It seems like they are onto something. Especially the way a wireless controller allows you to do things like play hide and go seek with the object in question.

    • The_Helmaroc_King

      It’s a big digressionary, but this reminds me of the port they did on Rez to the Xbox 360. I’m sure some of you will know about the “Trance Vibrator” they released for the PS2 version. Well, when they ported it to the 360, some enterprising soul reasoned that they could take advantage of any extra controllers the player had and make them vibrate instead. So, if you don’t mind the shape, you can use an extra controller or two to get a massage in time to the music.

      Like, for your feet.

  • boardgameguy

    This makes me think about a delightfully silly table top game called Dungeon Fighter. Set up as a dungeon crawl, players work cooperatively to explore and conquer the dungeon. The catch is that the fighting involves bouncing dice onto a target that determines whether you hit and for how much. The game gets sillier when gear you acquire promises you additional hit power or other bonuses but require more difficult throws, like using another players hand or rolling the dice off of your nose. For a board game, it gets you moving, interacting, and laughing.

  • Effigy_Power

    The trailer seems to convey that this game can only be played by NYU Undergraduate Students of the Arts.

    • Jackbert

      Based on the number of and average skin tone of the participants, that is almost surely the whitest minute I’ve ever watched.

    • SamPlays

      Yeah, real friends drink beer. 

    • http://gameological.com/author/derricksanskrit/ Derrick Sanskrit

      I think the video is the dev team (from Denmark) and their friends (residing in Denmark). And I totally slammed a six-pack of Orange Crush at the bar last night, but I was also like six blocks from the NYU dorms so that doesn’t disprove your point at all.

      • Effigy_Power

        You slammed a six-pack of Orange Crush?
        Oh Derrick, I wish you’d start drinking again. This sody-pop BS is not healthy for you. Quick, have a bottle of Quervo to burn off the sugar.

    • Oxperiment

      Next they’re going to show an alien and his young boy companion riding a bus to Florida. SUPER-REAL♫

      • Effigy_Power

        3 points for referential brilliance.

        • SamPlays

          I don’t watch American Dad and I picked up immediately on this reference. (It’s one of the clips included in the promo clips that get aired in my region.) But I watch The Simpsons for numerous years and I miss the mark. Go figure. *slaps forehead*

  • DrZaloski

    Yet another game I’ll deeply admire but never buy because I have no willing participants. I blame you, internet!

    • mizerock

      But so many multiplayer games these days are meant to be played by people sitting in different houses. This one is really an exception (in so many ways!).