Last night was a real buzz! The shocking drinking game seeing a surge in Mexican bars - where party=goears are electrocuted until they scream.

Published by Daily Mail
March 31, 2015

Mexicans take it literally when they amp themselves up for a night out in their country's capital.


A drinking game popular in Mexico City takes shock-factor to the extreme as friends affirm their macho status by competing over who can handle the most electricity, and they connect themselves to a live current.

Known as 'toques' - Spanish for 'touches' - the game has seen a recent surge in popularity through the city, and has seen players' nights-out cut short by urgent visits to the emergency room.

'The drunker people get, the more voltage they can generally handle,' says Javier Rodriguez, who has worked the lively Condesa neighbourhood of Mexico City for the past 35 years.

'I've seen party-goers pass out after passing 100 volts, although it usually has something to do with what they've been drinking.'

'It's fun,' said Leonardo Flores, who eagerly took up the challenge when Javier passed by clicking the metal handles to make the sound known throughout the capital as a toques vendor.

'It gives you a jolt and you feel good afterwards,' he told the MailOnline, who watched as he withstood 85 volts of electricity passing up his left arm and then down his right.

'People also say it makes hangovers less painful, but that hasn't ever been my experience.'

Javier walks a circuit of the bars and restaurants in the trendy party district from 3pm until the early hours of the morning, clicking together the metal handles that players hold onto to complete the electric circuit, which can reach up to 120 volts. UK mains supply runs at around 240 volts.

'It's a long-standing tradition here in Mexico,' he said.

'I've been hired to offer the game at private events: weddings, funerals, Sweet 16 birthday parties, town fairs, political dinners, pretty much everything.

'It's become part of our country's drinking culture. Wherever Mexicans are drinking in large numbers, you can be certain someone is going around offering the electrocution game.'

Each round costs £1.50, and Javier can expect to make more than £300 on a lively weekend in Condesa, one of Mexico City's most popular nightlife districts.

Good business, given that that Mexican minimum wage stands at under £150 a month, and that his only expenses are eight AA batteries every three or so weeks.

He claims Mexicans are always his best clients, and that not only are international visitors less likely to participate, but that they are generally underperformers.

'Mexicans know what to expect, but it's rare to see foreigners do well,' he boasted, 'Foreigners are generally very cowardly, and get very scared when it comes to this game.'
The MailOnline tried its hand at toques, and can report difficulty in typing up the experience the following day.

The game starts slowly, and the current noticeably takes the shortest route through the body: along the inside of the forearms, up through the armpit and across the upper back if the game is played the traditional way – holding a metal handle in either hand.

A tingling sensation is apparent at around twenty volts, which increases in intensity and reach, as the dial is turned up towards the 120-volt maximum.

Upwards of 60 volts the wrists begin to bend inward under the force of the current, and past 80 volts the hands become completely paralysed – unable to let go of the circuit even if the player would want to. It's little wonder Javier says players rarely surpass 85 volts.
The MailOnline's reporter reached 80 and the pain was excruciating.

The game stops only when the player asks - or screams - for it to end, signalling the man with the battery pack to cut the power.

The ordeal is generally followed by restorative tequila shots, which bar staff continue to serve up to clients no matter how drunk they are.

'The average score is from 70 to 85 volts,' says Javier, who recommends that his more zealous clients undergo regular two-minute 40-volt sessions in the belief that the electricity helps an individual's blood pressure and stress levels - although whether the current helps to increase or decrease he does not mention.

'I woke up the morning after I played toques, and I felt like my tongue was burned,' said Oscar Gonzalez, a Venezuelan marketing consultant who moved to Mexico City last year.
'It's a crazy game and I can't really see the benefit. It's one of those inexplicable things about Mexican culture.'

The game is played competitively solo, although multiple people can play together by forming a human chain; touching hands, noses, lips, ears, buttocks or any other piece of bare skin which will allow electricity to flow.

'The hands are relatively easy to withstand,' says Javier. 'I've seen people get up to 50 volts by touching tongues.'

When played in a group, the drinking element of toques becomes more prevalent, as the person who breaks the chain first is often punished by having to drink shots of tequila.

'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, a trial sandwiched by shots of the rudimentary and potent mescal, a spirit similar to tequila.
Eight AA batteries power the 'shock box', which Javier carries around with him to offer the game to party-goers and ordinary office workers alike.

'I start work at 3pm,' he says. 'You'd be surprised how many people simply enjoy the sensation and will have a go at the end of their lunch hour, without having touched a drop of alcohol that day.'

Travelling is difficult for Javier, since he is not allowed to take his equipment on aeroplanes inside his hand luggage, and has been questioned in the past by airport bomb squads over the contents of his checked suitcase.

'Officers in international airports rarely understand that it's just a game,' he chuckles.
The maximum of 120 volts is not enough to damage human tissue, although players with heart pacemakers should not take on the challenge.



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