Shocking Mexican Drinking Game Has People Electrocuting Themselves for Fun

‘Toques’, an increasingly popular Mexican drinking game, is both literally and figuratively shocking! Played among friends who want to affirm their macho status, the bizarre game involves participants electrocuting themselves while drinking to see how much they can handle.

“The drunker people get, the more voltage they can generally handle,” said Javier Rodriguez, who conducts the game in Mexico City’s Condesa neighborhood. “I’ve seen party-goers pass out after 100 volts, although it usually has something to do with what they’ve been drinking.” He visits all the bars and restaurants in the area every day, starting at 3pm and playing into the wee hours of the morning, equipped with a ‘shock box’ containing the metal handles that players have to touch in order to complete the electrical circuit.


Photo: Taringa

“It’s a long-standing tradition here in Mexico,” Javier revealed. “I’ve been hired to offer the game at private events – weddings, funerals, Sweet 16 birthday parties, town fairs, political dinners, and pretty much everything. It’s become part of the country’s drinking culture. Wherever Mexicans are drinking in large numbers, you can be certain someone is going around offering the electrocution game.”

When played the traditional way – holding a metal handle in either hand – the game starts slowly, with a tingling sensation at 20 volts. The current passes along the forearms, up through the armpits, and across the upper back. The intensity of the shock increases as the dial is turned up towards the 120-volt limit.


Photo: Makeshift

When the charge reaches 60 volts, the wrists begin to bend inwards under the force of the current. The hands become completely paralyzed above 80 volts, so the player cannot let go of the circuit even if they wanted to. According to Javier, it’s very rare for players to go over 85 volts. The game stops when the player asks – or screams – for it to end. This is followed by a round of restorative tequila shots, which are served no matter how drunk the players are.

Each round of electrocution costs about $3, and Javier can make over $400 on a lively weekend in Condesa, one of Mexico’s most popular nightlife districts. And his only investment is eight AA batteries that have to be replaced every three weeks or so. Traveling is difficult for Javier, because he isn’t allowed to take his equipment on airplanes. “Officers in international airports rarely understand that it’s just a game,” he said.


Reactions to the game are varied – some hate it, while others seem addicted to it. According to Javier, Mexicans are his best customers, because international visitors are less likely to participate or perform well. “Mexicans know what to expect, but it’s rare to see foreigners do well,” he explained. “Foreigners are generally very cowardly, and get very scared when it comes to this game.”

“It’s fun,” said local resident Leonardo Flores. “It gives you a jolt and you feel good afterwards. People also say it makes hangovers less painful, but that hasn’t ever been my experience.”

On the other hand, Oscar Gonzalez, a Venezuelan marketing consultant who moved to Mexico last year, isn’t a big fan of Toques. “I woke up the morning after I played toques, and I felt like my tongue was burned,” he said. “It’s a crazy game and I can’t really see the benefit. It’s one of those inexplicable things about Mexican culture.”

“If you get to the upper limits of the voltage you actually start to feel tingling in your brain,” said Ignacio Alonso, a Mexico City native who reached 90 volts before screaming for mercy. Javier insists that the maximum of 120 volts is not enough to damage human tissue, but he admits that heart patients, especially those with pacemakers, should not take on the challenge.

Sources: Daily Mail, Makeshift

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