Punch Buggy Blues

By Mir
April 28, 2010

When Chickadee gets her license, she would like to buy a red VW Beetle with yellow lightning bolts down the sides. She has been telling us this for YEARS, which of course means that for years we have been telling her that 1) it’s good to have dreams and 2) she should feel free to get a job at any time.

When that elicits whining and complaining, Otto always points out that he’s perfectly willing to gift her his car once she’s driving. As his car is already 20 years old, for some reason this doesn’t thrill her. Go figure.

Given her lifelong obsession with Beetles, you’d think that playing Punch Buggy would’ve been part of our standard family repertoire for years, but somehow we only started playing it about a month ago. This has been terribly amusing for a number of reasons, but unfortunately it has also increased my driving anxiety by about a hundredfold.

I’m sure that’s totally safe, right?

For anyone who’s not American or who grew up in a cave here in the good ol’ USofA, “punch buggy” refers to the practice of squealing “[Color of VW Beetle] one!” and socking your nearest travel partner in the arm each time you spot a Beetle. (This phenomenon has been going on for so long, VW made a Super Bowl commercial about it this year.) The kicker is that you never declare a game on or give any warning; in an ideal situation, your travelmate is digging in her backpack or reading a book when you gleefully screech “YELLOW ONE!” and punch her.

Yes, really.

The kids sit in the back seat of the car, of course, and as a general rule I try not to encourage them to hit each other, so maybe that’s why we never used to play. But somehow we got talking about it one day and now Otto and I engage in a cutthroat game of punch buggy every time we’re in the car together. Otto has much better eyes than I do, plus he’s just a lot better with cars.

Also, he is occasionally a cheating cheaterpants.

Like, one day we were driving along and I THOUGHT I saw a bit of a Beetle in a row of cars in a parking lot almost out of my visual range. I craned my neck a bit to look and Otto immediately started chuckling.

“Do you see one?” he asked.

My curled fist hovered in the air, inches from his bicep. “I can’t quite see… I thought—”

He followed my gaze. “That’s not a Beetle,” he said.

“Oh,” I said, lowering my arm.

“Silver one!” he cackled, socking me not quite as gently as I might have liked.

“What?? You said it wasn’t a Beetle! YOU CHEAT!” I rubbed my arm, more wounded by his duplicity than the punch.

“Well I thought it wasn’t,” he said. “But it turned out that it was. Besides, you always say you never listen when I talk. You shouldn’t have believed me.”

“Hmph,” seemed the only appropriate response, there.

Then again, there was another time when we were driving along and I socked him. “Gray one!” I called, triumphant.

“Where?” he said. I pointed to the (ancient) car in question, and he immediately groaned. “That’s not a Beetle! That’s a deux chevaux! We’ve talked about that car before!”

“Eh, you know I don’t listen when you talk. So you can do-si-do all you want, but that’s a Beetle,” I replied. I was smug. IT LOOKED LIKE A BEETLE. This led to much huffing and puffing and then I was subjected to the annotate history of Citroën’s model line-up throughout history, so I’m not sure that one was worth it.

Now, as far as the kids go, Monkey generally likes to read books in the car, so he’s largely ignored the punch buggy tournament of the century that’s now taking place in our family vehicles. But Chickadee desperately wants to be the PUNCH BUGGY QUEEN, and coincidentally, she’s now 12, which means she can ride in the front seat. And reach the driver. And punch them with abandon.

Hooray! Except, ow.

There have been multiple sessions of explaining to my sweet delicate flower of a daughter what constitutes a fair and kind punch, including Otto having to spell out that no, punching someone in the HEAD just because you’re excited about seeing a red one doesn’t count.

And Chickadee may not be the queen of the punch buggies, but she is rocking her reign as the cheatingest cheaterpants who ever sat upon a throne of UTTER CHEATISM, because she is an extremely sore loser, and as a result, just makes up rules to suit herself.

Rules like… I also get to hit you if I see a school bus! And if you’ve gotten a bunch and I haven’t, I can DRAW A PICTURE of a Beetle and then hit you! Also, if you’ve already hit me for a car, I’ll just go ahead and claim it right after you, asserting that, “Well, really, it’s like it’s a different one because it’s in a different place, now” (this assumes the car is in motion, of course, but she tries this one every single time).

Yesterday as we drove along, Chickie and I watched traffic like our lives depended on it, trading blows and laughing the whole time. I guess that finally it sounded like too much fun to pass up, so Monkey wanted to play, too. He tossed his book aside. “Blue one!” he called, kicking my seat from his position behind me.

“Oooooookay,” I said, trying not to laugh. “First of all, please don’t kick the seat when I’m driving, that’s really not safe. Second of all, that’s a PT Cruiser.”

“It looks like a Bug to me,” retorted Monkey. “What’s the difference?” It was a good thing Otto wasn’t there. I mean, I probably get a pass for confusing a CV2 with a Beetle, but I fear that hearing Monkey’s confusion would’ve caused him to drop his head into his hands and wonder where he went wrong.

“The difference is THEY LOOK TOTALLY DIFFERENT!” said Chickadee, doubled over with laughter. “You are BAD at this game. OOOH, SCHOOL BUS!” Her arm shot out at me and I caught it.

“There’s NO SCHOOL BUS, and THAT IS CHEATING,” I said. Both kids burst into fresh peals of laughter.

“GREEN ONE!” called Monkey, pointing at… a garbage truck.

I consider myself lucky that we made it home before anyone wet their pants. Punch buggy is an emotional game, people.


  1. Cindy

    Oh the most classic of car games! I played this as a kid but when my step-kids came along, they too had issues with the rules. So we have to say…punch buggy, no punch back. (although we do call colors too) That prevents the losers from re-using the same vehicle.

  2. elz

    My parents had to outlaw the “punch bug” game. Apparently we children were a little…ahem…over-competitive.

  3. Beachgal

    we play, with no gimmies (punch back), and also must stress whether it’s a convertible or not. LOL. Luckily, my son agreed not to HIT, but just little taps. And mostly, we just call without tapping. His proudest moment regarding this game was last summer, we had gone to a county fair and were stopped at the top of the ferris wheel, and he saw one in the parking lot and got me.

  4. CarolM

    Huh. We always called “Slug Bug”.

    Also, at night — cars with a headlight out are “Popeye”.

  5. Petunia

    We used to play this game when my kids were smaller. And less likely to hurt someone. Like me. But we call it “Slug Bug.” I’ve never heard “Punch Buggy” before!

  6. Casey

    We also called it “Slug Bug”. And if it’s a Cadillac, there was the “Caddie Whack”. fun times. *ow*

  7. Sherry

    We always called it Slug Bug as well.

    We went on a cross-country trip one time and got so tired of punching each other that we just kept count of how many we saw. At the end of the trip, the winner got a toy Beetle as a trophy.

  8. Niki

    At our house, we played the game without the punching. My girls are nearly 5 years apart and the big one would pound the little one, so we decided instead that you would spell out the name of the color instead of punching. It made for lots of fun times in the car, though with my girls there became entire lists of rules – you kept up with how many you got in a row, but when someone else got one, you reset to zero. Also, cars that were parked in the same place every day were declared off-limits, because driving past would cause World War III. And heaven forbid we would drive past the VW dealership. Eventually, since Dad’s a MINI fanatic, they were added to the game as well, but with the rule that you had to spell the color and say MINI afterward. It didn’t really stop until the oldest started to drive herself.

  9. Jdub

    What amateurs!Try riding with 4 kids and the whole spread of the game: semi slap, neon knock, banana whacker, cruiser bruiser, pontiac whack, mustang bang, mini van wham, and on and on and on until I am now physically able to only type with one hand:)

  10. Valerie

    You need to add…”Cruiser Bruise”r (for the PT Cruiser sitings) and “Punch You There-a” ( for the Xterra sitings)…Makes for quite a rousing addition to the “Punch Buggy” or as we call it “Slug Bug.” You can see, we like to rhyme when we hit.

  11. Suz

    We play, but had to phase out the punches. The girls did well with punching for the first year that we played the game (and they were 5 and 7), but it didn’t take long for true pain to be inflicted – usually between the sisters – and we just couldn’t abide.

    So now we have a point system. It’s complicated (new-style bug? or old fashioned? convertible? and black gets extra points, for whatever reason), and the key stays in the car at all times. There’s actually a dedicated notebook in the car. We all are very excited for the day that we see the ultimate bonus punch buggy: purple old-fashioned convertible punch buggy, on fire (with no one getting hurt, of course). That one’s worth 500 points. The rest of the scale is anywhere from 1-10.

    We have fun. :)

  12. Lisa

    We always did the “slug bug – color” too. And you really need to add another rule for the ‘old’ beetles… they get two points! I always wiped the floor with my hubby at this game. Ahh, good times!

  13. Megan

    I was so sheltered. Didn’t even HEAR about slug bug until… maybe a few years ago? Adding this to the list of reasons-I-was-the-most-deprived-kid-EVER.

  14. meghann

    Add me top the group of calling it “Slug Bug”. We just started playing recently too, because of the VW commercial.

    It’s been a fun bonding thing though. Even to the point where I was out of town, saw one, photographed it with my phone, messaged it to my husband, and he showed it to our oldest and said “Mom says slug bug” and he hit him for me. Bwahahahahaha.

    (My kids are constantly confusing the PT Cruiser as a VW as well. SIGH.)

  15. Kristi

    You probably shouldn”t mention the PT Bruiser game then.

    And also, you do know that convertibles are worth 2 punches, old Beetles are worth 3 punches and old convertibles are the motherload of 5?

  16. Jennifer Joyner

    Love the variations! When I was growing up it was “Buggy Buggy, (insert color) Buggy! with no punching. Then when I married my husband, he introduced me to “PUNCH BUGGY (INSERT COLOR) and punch in the shoulder. So glad I didn’t play that with my big brothers growing up!

  17. Anna

    VW is totally cheating by making the game about ALL of the VW cars.

    It’s Slug Bug. ;)

  18. Joshilyn

    In my car you say PUNCH BUGGY BLUE. Or PUNCH BUGGY RED. You can’t just say RED ONE. And since it is LONG to say PUNCH BUGGY COLOR, youhave to punch on the word PUNCH or else your victi—fellow players would know and defend.

  19. MomCat

    We played “hug bug.” Safer by far.

  20. hokgardner

    My daughters have just started playing this game, and my oldest could probably rival Chickadee as the cheatiest cheater pants ever. She stops and starts playing based on whether I’ve seen more of them than she has. And I get socked every time we walk out the front door because our neighbor has one.

  21. Amy

    I’m with Anna – VW is a CHEATER. It is only the bugs! (I am also a slug bug gal.)

  22. Lessa

    *L* We’ve always played “slug bug” too – but when the kids get to hitting me too hard, I initiate the MOM SLUG NO SLUG BACKS. Which meant I got to get them just as hard as they hit me, and they could not use “kid slug” as they don’t exist but Mom Slugs do – it’s in the Mom handbook and you only GET that once your a mom and also do not argue with me child, or I will Mom Slug you again…

    Needless to say they very quickly decided to NOT hit mama as hard as they could. :)

  23. WaywardGoddess

    I’ve learned that Punch Buggy/Slug Bug are regional.
    I’ve always said Punch Buggy, but my husband says Slug Bug. I’m from North Carolina and he grew up all over (Military family) but primarily Northwest.

    We do all kinds of things to spice up the game…Like 2 punches for “old school” bugs, and 5 in a row. It’s a huge competition to get 5 in a row, or to block someone else from getting 5 in a row

  24. Sara

    My oldest two boys are 7 & 8 and have just started playing punch buggy and they’ve deemed mustangs to be punch worthy cars as well so that’s made our car trips pretty interesting. Best memory since this started though has to be the St. Patricks day parade last month…the local VW club had about 30 bugs in the parade and the punches were-a-flyin’!!!

  25. Tammy

    Slug Bug is the “official” name of the game. *nod nod nod*

    My 10 YO invented another derivation a few years ago…he cries “Bug Spray” when ever anyone is about to get him & therefore, he is now “protected” against future slugs.

    I get one every time we go past Best Buy and their Geek Squad bug is out front. ;)

  26. Saskia

    There’s a reason why, in my family, this game has an added rule: (you have to imagine my dad exclaiming this in a mock stern voice) DON’T HIT THE DRIVER!

  27. mamalang

    We changed ours to love bugs after our then 4 year old gave her father a bruise, and then burst into tears when he got her back.

    And Monkey could have called PT Cruiser Bruiser.

    Or Yellow Submarine.

    Or American Flag.

    See, my kids like to make up new versions of this game all on their own. My 7 year old son will mutter “American Flag” under his breath in the middle of a sentence. It cracks me up every time.

  28. Dawn

    We call it Punch Buggy here, too, but when I was small, VW Beetles here were nicknamed after our national animal because of the similar shape (minus the tail, obv) and the game was called – wait for it – Beaver Tag. This was, of course, before that name was… um… appropriated for a different meaning.

  29. Mary

    I remember yelling out the color as a kid, but not a name to the game or the punching.

    But… when I was really, really small, my dad had a red VW Bug and I was sooo upset when he sold it. I always said my first car was going to be a red VW Bug. Lucky me, my boyfriend in high school did auto body work, bought me a light blue one for $100, and painted it fire engine red. It was awesome! I always tell people my very first car was my dream car – so what if it was a VW!?!?!?!?!?

  30. JennyM

    I have to side with the “Punch Buggy” folks. The proper exclamation is: “PUNCH BUGGY (COLOR), NO PUNCH-BACKS!” and you do have to punch as soon as you start talking, becase it takes to long to get all that out.

    OMG, I hate that game — hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery burning purple old-style convertible VW beetles.

    PS — What color do you call for the Geek Squad bug?

  31. Becky

    We always had to tag on NO PUNCH BUGGY BACK after socking our beloved pals, that way no one else could use the same buggy. (Otherwise it would quickly go downhill with people hitting each other repeatedly over the same car.) We’ve always also said PUNCH BUGGY COLOR like some other souls here. Very helpful to clueing into that you’re totally playing the game and not randomly shrieking out a color and a number.

  32. The Other Leanne

    Weighing in — “Slug Bug.” And I never heard of it until maybe ten years ago and wow! was I WTF surprised by that punch in the arm! Brutal game.

  33. Mare Martell

    WHEE! We play, “Slug Bug (color) no slug backs” and pinch each other for PT Cruisers. We get points for yellow cars that are non-commercial too. Matthew is incredibly good at the game. I get bruises more often than not, but we laugh hard and long about it.

  34. Lelia S in TN

    I did not know about the punching for many years – my parents must have planned ahead! We called it Herbie and you just yelled. Another favorite one for long trips: Cow Poker!!

  35. JP

    I side with the “Punch Buggy (color), no punching back” crowd. We go old-school, though – only original VW bugs count, not the newer version. Far less punches, but waaaay more satisfying when you find that elusive one!

  36. Fabs

    Isn’t it funny how games like this come back and it seems everyone’s doing it? We took a road trip down the Oregon Coast last August and started playing with our kids and now it seems like everyone is playing and they made a superbowl commercial about it! We also call it “slug bug”, maybe it’s an east coast/west coast thing?

  37. Rebecca

    That is absolutely hilarious!!

  38. Beth R

    “Slug Bug [color] – no slugs back!” was the call in North Dakota.

    And the whole VW ad where it’s any VW? LAME-O! It’s only Bugs that count, dudes!

  39. Mrs. D.

    We go with “(color) punch buggy, no punch back.” And no one can hit the driver, but the driver can hit others. That’s my rule since I’m usually the one behind the wheel. ;)

    We call cars with one headlight out “padiddles” and you have to shout it, flick the ceiling of the car and then you can whack someone. lol

  40. Jen

    We play “Slug Bug” (with modifications)… slug bug = 1 pt, popeye (headlight out) = 1 pt, popeye slug bug = 3 pts, PT cruiser (bruiser) = 1 pt, and bacon (cop car) = 2 pts. Since we live in a somewhat rural area we also award points for cows & horses “doing their business”. 1 pt for #2 and 2 pts for #1.

    The kids like to try to throw in “jeep”, “dump truck”, “white subaru”, “hummer”, and all sorts of other options too.

    Sort of like Calvinball… where you make up the rules as you go and the points are somewhat arbitrary!

  41. Heather Goede

    Slug bug here too…but since the commercial we do red one, etc too. So if we are quick enough we can get each other twice. We also play Bam! (Dodge Ram-punch) Twinkie (School bus-pinch), Copper popper (police car-punch), Bruiser Cruiser (PT Cruiser-punch), and Padiddle (head light out-punch). Makes car rides go quicker for sure. The best part…if you catch someone cheating you get to get them back twice.

  42. Wendy E

    We always called it “Slug Bug” also, and we just started playing it as a family. Slugs are not allowed, but we do smack and say “Slug Bug (color) no returns” so they can’t smack back. My 6 year old also constantly confuses PT Cruisers, we finally told her that they have a straight back. She is getting better finally.

  43. Wendy E

    Hey, I just read Beth R’s response, Yep, I’m from North Dakota also, so we are pretty close in our game.

  44. Katie in MA

    If only your bloggership was as lucky. ;) Reminds me of our full-contact, cut-throat games of padiddle. Only counts if your hand can tap the roof people – can’t happen if you’re arms are ripped off by your BELOVED FAMILY.

  45. Billie

    OH!! How I LOVE this game!!! (I’m such a kid at heart…lol)

    “Slug bug no slug backs” has been around in my family since I was a kid. I was soooo happy to introduce it to my son as soon as I felt he was reasonably old enough to see slug bugs and understand what to do. You HAD to do no slug backs or somebody else could get you on the same bug.

    Now, the Super Bowl commercial made it so that now we are calling out the colors of the bug. This is the first time in my life I have ever heard of Slug Bug calling out colors.

    My son does as many have mentioned before. He TRIES to make up his own rules. I nip that in the bud real quick. You can’t say you don’t want to play when momma’s winning. You have to say it as soon as you get in the car for the trip (which he NEVER remembers; bwahahahahahaha).

    He used to make up the names as well until the Queen (ME!) was hitting him about every 2 seconds whenever we were on the road.

    Slug Bug
    Cruisin for a Bruisin
    Bang Bang Sweet Mustang
    Hurtible Convertible
    Beaverwood (the vehicles with the wide strip of wood down the sides)

    I’m sure I’m forgetting some of them. Either way, do a really good job a few times and they will willingly get rid of all of the “NEW” rules.

  46. aem2

    Punch buggy blue, no punch backs, double-stamped it, no ‘rasies!

    (We had to insert the “no erasies” because we’d start getting a complicated series of erasing-punch backs. Wasn’t the school bus FUN!)

  47. Aly

    I learned in college in Memphis. Back when there were only old style Punch Buggies. Red ones and convertibles were worth five points and red convertibles were worth fifteen. There was also the random rule that if you saw a pink edsel, you got to kill the driver. We actually did see an edsel once, but it wasn’t pink – my friend who was driving was momentarily terrified though. :)

  48. s

    I am totally cracking up on the rules…we yell out “xxx (color) punch buggy no punch back” to avoid repercussions of course…but my kids think its funny to try and avoid being punched so if I am trying to punch them (umm light tap in case you are worried) they move around which is a problem since 99% of the time I’m driving the car! and then sometimes someone can say something to erase it or bounce it back or something (at that point, I just turn the radio up). The rules change all the time – there is a house we go past that 99.9% of the time has a bug parked in the driveway – my kids claimed you can only count that one ONCE a day (so not on the return trip if you called it on the “going” trip) and then because one of them always claimed it (and it was suspicious whether they even SAW it or just anticipated seeing it when they saw the house vs the actual bug) they then said they had assigned DAYS to claim it but that was unfair because what if the assigned day was TUESDAY and we didn’t make a trip past it. I mean these are kids who can’t remember to brush their teeth without 5 billion reminders and they can recall whose turn it is to claim the punch buggy that day ? gimme a break.

  49. mamabird

    I learned to drive stick on a ’73 orange superbeetle. I think that if Chickie wants a beetle, she should buy an old one and then a manual on how to fix them up … and voila! She’s made her own car!

  50. Karate Mom

    As a family, we’ve never played Punch Bug, but our neighbors got us playing Jitterbug, which involves calling out “Jitterbug *insert color*!” whenever you see a GMC car. (Actually, I think it’s supposed to be “Jee-ter” bug, seeing as how GMC starts with a G and all. It’s just something they made up because they drive a Surburban.) We also call out “Smarty pants *insert color*!” when we see a Smart Car.

    But there’s no punching involved. Maybe we should add that…

  51. Lucinda

    Ok, I was feeling like I live in a cave until someone mentioned Slug Bug. Then I realized I did know the game. See I live in Oregon. Like someone before mentioned, clearly a regional thing. My kids are just starting to catch on to it.

  52. Heather

    We play it in Canada too ;) In my family, it’s “Blue punchbuggy, no punch backs!”

  53. Monica

    When my husband was young he and his brother and sister decided that punch buggy was too laid back for them – so they added kick bus, slap taxi and elbow canoe. Oh their poor parents.

    I waited until the children were grown before I let them hear that little family story.

  54. Nancy R

    We’re Slug-Bug players here too. My kids play “Rubber Duckie” which involves spotting yellow vehicles…I never realized there were so many yellow automobiles these days.

    Is anyone else annoyed that Volkswagon has tried to ‘legitimize’ the game AND is trying to incorporate ALL VW’s with their “Punch-Dub” commercials? I say BACK OFF, VOLKSWAGON!

  55. Andrea

    What kind of deprived childhood did I have (or if you are with my dad, the king of puns and wordplay, I’d have asked, what kind of depraved childhood)?

    Either that or I was traumatized and blocked out the entire game.

  56. jenn

    What you need to do is beat her to it, and then add a quick “no returns!” at the end, which is of course the universal way of declaring that they can’t hit you back.

  57. Sara

    In our car, the game formerly known as “Slug Bug” had to be changed to “Hug Bug” because the bruises were likely to attract suspicion from Child Protective Services. Oddly, once the hitting was dis-allowed, the game seemed a lot less fun to my girls? While it lasted, the quick booster seat to car seat hugs were adorable!

  58. jwg

    Then there’s the “padiddle” variation. That’s a car with one headlight out.

  59. jess

    We call it Slug Bug, as in “Slug Bug Red!” and then you hit the person. Ah, fond memories of childhood there. I have a staunch no Slug Bug game in my car rule, mainly because slugging someone while they are driving just isn’t safe. (And I hate having to watch the road and missing all the cars parked in lots as I’m driving. It’s not fair that they can stare all around while I have to pay attention to traffic in front of me and behind me and on both sides.) ;)

  60. J from Ireland

    Hahaha, I know this game, except you get a punch when you see a new car, with 2010 number plate, or the year you were born!! Luckily I was born in 1973 so I’m grand(thank f**k). I have had the same conversation about nice/nasty punches with my lot!!

  61. Nelson's Mama

    Slug Bug! [Insert Color]! No tag backs!!!!

    I taught my girls to play when they were younger to keep them occupied in the car and then became WAY more obsessed with the game than they were!

    We too have certain Slug Bugs that are declared “out of play”, convertibles count extra points and old VW buses are bonus points! Only Volkswagen brands are allowed in our game!

  62. Jen B

    “Slug Bug”, “Cruiser Bruiser” – and “Yellow Car!” in our vehicles… although we had to give up the literal punching, and the yelling of “loser!” to the other players in the car when R was about 4 and she called her preschool teacher a “Loser!”… *blush*

    so now, we call the car, the color (if not just a yellow car) and yell “Winner!” (or just keep score.)

    sometimes we’ll call woodies or orange cars too.. Brian and Jeff have this game altered and perfected for their drive to & from work/school daily, and it’s always an amusement during a family drive or long car trip.

    When I was growing up, we used to call cars that had a headlight out (played at night, of course) “piddiddle” … and a semi-truck with a light out was a “six-pack” (or worth 6 points)…

    oh the silly ways to amuse ourselves ;)

  63. Kris

    We play a bit differently here in WNY (or at least in my family), lest I crash teh car adn kill everyone in it, including myself.

    We yell “[whatever color] PUNCH BUG!” and at least one other person in the car has to have seen it also to verify it’s actual existence. Transparent Punch Bugs do not count. Invisible Punch Bugs do not count.

    For each Punch Bug (or Slug Bug as we sometimes call it when we do slug each other), you get a letter kind of like playing HORSE (in which you aren’t actually turned into a horse). Q-U-E-E-N. Whoever gets five Punch Bugs (and thus five letters of the word QUEEN) is Queen (of what, we don’t know) for the day.

    There are also minor rules such as no one can call the Geek Squad punch bugs separately. You can’t call the same punch bug more than once (in a lot when you go in a store and it’s still there when you come out of the store).

    Of course I have been known to take routes home that include passing a used car lot with a few punch bugs in it, and the SPCA which has a worker there with one. You can imagine my dismay when the local Valu Home Center’s employee sold her punch bug. It is right around the corner and was always my first punch bug of the day. If I could have bought it, I would have. :”D

  64. mamaspeak

    we played slug bug & just “bug” Slug Bug-you get. I always declared I wasn’t playing that. Left it to my bro & his friends. Rules for Bug below, all old school VW cars (this was before the bug was released in it’s new form. I is old!):

    You yellow what car you see to claim points. First one to 21 wins.
    Bug-1 pt.
    Van-2 pts.
    Square back-5 pts.
    Karmann Ghia-20 pts.

    I believe this game went out of favor because of the introduction of hand held video games & DVD players in the car.

  65. Brigitte

    I’m one of those who grew up in a cave, I never heard of this game until I was in my 30s. :-o

  66. Chris in NY

    We always called “punchbuggy invisible”. Other variations:
    You can call no punchies at the beginning of the ride and you can’t be punched.
    Or you call wipeoff and then call the color and punch the other person.
    Or you call “punchback (insert color)” and then punch the other person back.
    Safety is only achieved by calling, “Punchbuggy (insert color) no punchbacks, no wipeoffs, no anythings”. Or having your daughter turn 15 and lose interest (thank goodness). YMMV

  67. JennyM

    @ Monica — I’m laughing out loud at “kick bus, slap taxi and elbow canoe.”

    I hope they never vacationed in NYC.

  68. Tammy

    JennyM—I call it “geek squad slug bug” since that pretty much describes it! To me, calling “black and white slug bug” just isn’t as much fun. ;)

    I agree with the other “padiddle” commenters. There is no substitute! ;)

  69. Paulla

    Our way was, “Punch-you-red-buggy… no punch back!”

    It wasn’t long before I changed it from “punch” to “tap” for obvious reaons. Then yoit became “Tap-you-red-buggy… no tap back!”

    Sure, it sounded lame, but they didn’t know it – – until years later when some of their friends heard them saying it, lol.

  70. joaaanna

    We always called it Slug Bug and just yelled it out with a punch. No color. jwg up above mentioned ‘padiddle’ which my mom told me that her and my dad would play. One headlight out and whoever sees it first yells padiddle and then you get to kiss your date. Sounds like a win/win to me!

  71. becky

    It was Slug Bug for us, too. And when my grandma lived with us, she liked to point out the one headlight bugs and yell “Cockeye! Get to pinch you!” and proceed to give me a pretty good pinch. Ow. But I was a teenager at that point, so it wasn’t as bad as if I were a little bitty kid.

    And VW is totally messing it up with this whole Punch Dub thing. It’s only Beetles, VW. Don’t try to change it to suit your marketing. Slug Bug only! ;)

  72. Jane

    I live in Australia – and we call it Punch Buggy, too! My family also play Yellow Car Slap – the name says it all! You’d be surprised how many yellow cars you can spot…when you start looking!

  73. Cele

    Psam and I played Slug Bug so much that when the new commercials came out I was appauled they weren’t punching by the rules. Bugs only. But oh no, you guys have upped the anti was Cruiser Bruiser and Caddillac wack. Crap I’ll be toast now that Burp is beyond old enough to play.

  74. Dana

    We don’t see too many VW bugs anymore, so we’ve switched it to Punch Prius. Same game, just a different car :)

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