BY LAURAN O’NEILL
If you have a Facebook you’ve probably seen the newest craze sweeping the site. Someone you’re friends with does something crazy, usually involving alcohol, and then nominates three other friends while telling them they have 24 hours to outdo them.
The game was originally called “Nekonominate” and is believed to have started in Australia. The original premise of the game was to chug a pint of an alcoholic beverage (usually beer) in one gulp but it quickly escalated to people performing outlandish undertakings around the globe. People have resorted to wearing costumes, drinking disturbing concoctions, and performing senseless tasks after chugging, all to obtain validation in the form of “likes” on Facebook. An online search of the game turns up YouTube videos of people doing things like blending a dead mouse and insects into a beverage then downing it or pouring a beer in the toilet followed by two friends hoisting the participant into handstand formation so he can drink it out of there. Other videos include girls stripping into their underwear in public places like a supermarket or fast food joint to chug their drinks.
Many experts are calling Facebook to ban the game after it is already suspected of causing multiple deaths. They say the peer pressure is especially dangerous to young adults who are tempted to play the game but don’t fully understand the harmful effects of drinking such large quantities. Those who turn down the nominations or play it safe in their video are often ridiculed in the comments section which pushes nominees to be more extreme.
“The drinking culture at our school doesn’t really promote drinking games too much,” junior Emily Dickinson said, “I mean yeah people do play games before they go out but usually they just got to bars.”
Two weeks after seeing the first Nekonominate video on my timeline, it became filled with them. It felt like every time I refreshed the page someone new had decided to give it a shot, no pun intended. After seeing friends from schools across the nation funnel, shotgun, drink, or take shots in any imaginable way possible; I wondered when the novelty would finally wear off as it often does with fads such as this. It was a breath of fresh air to see a new version of the game pop up. I saw a video of a friend doing something adventurous. I started following the thread of videos and it included people doing handstand pushups, hula hooping, playing flappy bird, squats, and even backflips. People started taking the alcohol out of the game to make it a fun way to try something new.
Another variation of the game is called RAKnominate was inspired by the original drinking game, and is focused around charity. It stands for Random Act of Kindness Nominate and involves the nominated to do something nice then nominate three people to also do something nice. It is emphasizes “Pay It Forward” ideals. This game started in South Africa after a group of people were sick of watching people do crazy events and wanted to make a positive impact. “I think that was a really good idea, I would rather take part in that than the drinking game everyone has been posting about which seems outrageous and pointless,” said Senior Caroline McCourt, “that game has gotten way too extreme.”
As of now the verdict of students seems to be that the Nekonominate game is a fad that needs to end now before someone else gets hurt. They do however, seem to enjoy the more positive variations of the game which incite an opportunity to try something new or help others. Hopefully more positive versions of the game will keep popping up because Nekonominate is a nomination that has no award.