I would love to throw a really great themed party sometime. When my nephew had his Mario Party last year I was pretty jealous. I won't lie. Ever since then I've been thinking about what I could do for my next birthday (edit** I wrote this before my birthday last month, which ended up being Harry Potter themed. Check it out!), or for a 'just because' gathering. I found this amazing article on how to have a brilliant Harry Potter party and with that in mind I thought "How can I stand on her amazing shoulders?" and I've landed on a video game/gamer themed party!
Here are the topics I'll be covering:
Without further ado, here are my ideas for a totally awesome good time!
Board games, card games, and video games galore! This category is so expansive that the options are practically limitless. I think it'd be great if everyone brought a game and the guests could do a speed run. So everyone would break into smaller groups of 3-4 people (you'll need to throw a big party!) and they have ten minutes to play a game. Obviously this facilitates simpler games. At the end of ten minutes the groups go to the next game. Repeat until all games have been played or until guests are bored. It would be a great way to introduce people to new titles! For summer days you could even do a round of CTF.
Cards Against Humanity. Apples to Apples. Carcassonne. Settlers of Catan. Zombie Dice. Uno (bonus for Nintendo Uno!). What other games would do well in a speed run?
For video games I think it would be a blast to setup an old school Mario title and have guests compete in a speed run. This would be ideally paired with a small prize. Perhaps a $10 Amazon gift card? Don't forget a stopwatch!
Some more traditional party games might be the "Who Am I?" game. Before the party starts, write down the name of every game console you can think of, or at least ones that you think your guests will guess. Then later everyone can pair off, slap a slip of paper to their head and start asking questions! If you think this would be too simple (i.e. "Am I made by Nintendo?" "Was I a flop?" "Did I give children headaches?" "Aww dammit I'm the Virtual Boy! Thanks a lot!" *table flip*) you could do it but with game titles instead. That guarantees more questions! This could easily translate to a charades situation, too.
This one is relatively minor because ideally your guests will be so chatty and involved with games that they won't want to sit and listen to music! But I also know that parties without music can be super awkward. There are plenty of video game music stations on Pandora, but they're a real mixed bag, and Radio Hyrule is great so long as you're a fan of the Zelda series. You'll find luck with video game soundtrack playlists on Youtube as well, which gives you maximum customization. Go nuts!
Are there any game tracks that you think are particularly party appropriate?
This aspect of the party will require some elbow grease and creativity. You could acquire a number of decorations from online stores, but parties are expensive enough! I would go for a 1 up mushroom garland and rupee shaped cut outs stuck to the wall, just for starters. If you have extra controllers (I happen to have about 8 NES controllers) you could place them as center pieces in social and eating areas. Any action figures or toys that you own wouldn't go amiss either! An easy way to make a large statement would be using construction paper to make a giant NES controller (I know I keep looping back to this, it's just so iconic) that can go up on a wall. Pin the Start Button on the controller, anyone? I guess that should go up in the Entertainment section x)
If you are willing to buy online then I suggest you do a search for Video Game Decorations on Etsy. The options of pillows, prints, and various decor is staggering and you're sure to find something that you like. Less expensive options are corked glass jars from Michael's/JoAnn's/online simply filled with water with a dash of food coloring (red, blue, and green for various potions), solid colored pillows to represent a palette from a game, and, if you own any, or know anyone that does that would let you borrow them, cardboard cutouts would be aces!
What else would you do to decorate?
Thanks to the clever masses, the Internet is filled with video game themed drinks! The Drunken Moogle is my personal favorite resource. A few that stand out in particular: The Sonic Screwdriver, Beck (Mighty No. 9 cocktail), Frozen Eeveelution Drinks, and Slayer's Blood (Buffy the Vampire Slayer shot). There are also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks to choose from! More options are glass bottled Coke for Fallout, jars of milk for Zelda, and lemonade for Pokemon. These things could be enhanced by making labels to tape or glue onto the containers: a simple red piece of paper that says 'Nuka Cola', a white piece of paper with the cow head and blue circle for Lon Lon Ranch (depending on which version you choose to go with), and a white strip of paper with a pokeball drawn on it.
You could modify nearly any drink to emulate a beverage from any game! If you have it in your budget you could get these amazing dragon goblets or even these less expensive jeweled ones.
If you could fashion a drink from a game, what would it be?
The first thing that came to mind was hot dogs. Why, you ask? Because I'm currently playing Final Fantasy 8 and they keep coming up in dialogue. It's really funny! Hot dogs are also super easy and inexpensive. For more diversity the best place, hands down, is Gourmet Gaming. They're on a hiatus that's supposed to end soon, thank goodness, and they have a huge archive of food! You're sure to find any edible you could want, complete with photos, ingredients, and directions, as well as a gauge for how complicated the dish is. I'm most intrigued by this Moogle Pie!
Some additional ideas I have are power up mushroom decorated cupcakes, pizza from The Sims, sweet rolls from Skyrim, and don't forget wheels of cheese! I suggest the small ones from Babybel (found in any grocery store I think!).
What in-game food seems most delicious to you?
To really round off the themed party experience it seems only appropriate to send out real invitations! What should they look like though? Obviously we can't use regular, boring, store bought things. We have to spice them up to let the potential guests know that something special is going to happen. I think it'd be awesome to make aged scrolls like in Skyrim. You could even tie them with twine, or seal them with wax! If you chose to roll them up then they would probably need to be hand delivered. Otherwise folding would work just fine, and that way you could still go the wax seal route. It would also be fun to do letters on pink paper like they're from Princess Peach (be sure to include a Power Up drawing), or even individually marked up Pokemail paper. The possibilities are endless!
Normally I don't give a spare thought to a dress code, but in this instance it's so obvious: come as a video game character! Encourage guests to make this as involved and exciting as possible. Even if they can only incorporate a small aspect of a costume that's still okay! I'd probably make a note in the invitations that even if they can't go all out then to do their best anyway. It's a theme party, for crying out loud! No street clothes. Of course if you're anything like me then you have found it difficult to get friends to dress up for Halloween parties (how is that even possible?), so perhaps this one should be optional.
And there you have it! My tips, ideas, and barely contained excitement on how to throw a video game/gamer themed party! Have you ever done something like this? If so did you find success? What would YOU include in your gamer party?