If you’re like me, you are passionate about video games. However, as game developers devote more and more resources into “casual games,” even those that have never picked up a controller can now have a great time playing video games with their fellow partygoers. There are countless ways that these new games can fit seamlessly into your next big event. Below, are just a few common event themes and explanations as to how you can increase the fun factor by incorporating video games into them.
1. Olympics Theme
After adorning the walls with flags from around the world, as well as the trademark multicolored rings, have stations set up with games in different places around the room. Kinect Sports offers many different track and field mini-games such as hurdles, sprint, javelin, and long jump (I would leave out discus throw as it is not as well polished). I would recommend having a dedicated TV and console for each of the various mini-games you want to include. Keep a leader board at each station to keep track of the high scores and at the end of the night have an awards ceremony bestowing medals upon the top 3 scorers at each station. A fun extra could be finding the overall best performer, displaying their country’s flag and playing their national anthem (this works particularly well if you have a very multicultural crowd).
There are many other games that would work for this aside from Kinect Sports so feel free to get creative!
2. Island/Tropical Theme
One of the all-time most popular party themes. Get your party-goers into a relaxed mood by having them sip on fruity tropical drinks such as Mai Tais, and Bahama Mamas. Then set the atmosphere with some island music and some tropical flowers, seashells, and inflatable palm trees (decorations are not my field of expertise so feel free to call in the pros). To add some fun to the party, set up video game stations with various games that you might find at the beach or on the water. Wii sports resort is the obvious choice here with choices such as beachside Frisbee, wakeboarding, and canoeing, you’re bound to have a great time. Kinect Sports also offers a great beach volleyball game that would fit right into the tropical theme. Try to keep the games casual and non-competitive in order to match the relaxed “island” atmosphere you’re going for.
3. 80’s Theme
When I think of the best things to come out of the 80s, the first thing that comes to mind is all of the classic arcade games that were introduced. Pacman and Tetris are as much a part of the 80s as leg warmers and neon sunglasses. Set up a few of these classic arcade cabinets around the room, or in a designated 80s arcade area to really turn back the clocks at the party.
4. Golf Theme
Having your special event at a country club? Or just have an office full of golf nuts? In any case, a golf theme can be a simple and fun way to go. Have a contest where you set up 9 (or 18 if you’ve got a big crowd or are really ambitious) “holes” around the event room. Set up game stations at each of the “holes” and even mix in a few real putting greens to switch things up. There are many different games to choose from here. You can either pick one title and have different holes in the game set up for each station or pick completely different games for each station. Wii Sports has one of the most user-friendly golf games available, while the Tiger Woods series is about as accurate as you can get indoors. Feel free to get a little creative and mix in a round of Frisbee golf in Wii Sports Resort as well. Carnival Games: Mini-Golf, We Love Golf, and Super Swing Golf are some more great golf titles to choose from.
5. Casino Night Theme
Casino nights are always a big hit with employees. Companies such as iHostPoker in Houston and Austin can provide all the games you’ll find in Vegas along with professional dealers for you. Usually, you’ll give each employee a certain amount of chips to start with and then have some sort of auction at the end of the night with different prizes that people can bid on with their winnings. A great way to incorporate some fun games into the night would be to set up a few different gambling-friendly games such as boxing or football. For a boxing match, make sure to use a motion-incorporating game that allows you to box somewhat naturally using actual boxing gloves (no physical contact of course). Schedule a few marquee matchups between employees throughout the night and allow betting on either side. Make the payouts higher than an even match on both sides to incentivize as many people to bet as possible. The end result will be a really fun and invested crowd cheering on your coworkers as they compete for victory.
6. Rock Star Theme
Let’s be honest, who didn’t want to be a rock star growing up? Just me? OK, well, at least some of your employees have dreamt of being cheered on by adoring fans while they rock out on stage. Give them that chance by setting up a stage with professional sound and lighting. Then, rather than traditional instruments, put out a Rock Band setup with drums, 2 wireless guitars, wireless keyboard, and wireless microphones. Rock Band 3 is a great title for your traditional Rock genre music. For more vocal-centric music, the Lips series offers a great alternative. There are more “poppy” titles to choose from and you are able to utilize 2 wireless microphones in order to sing duets. For those that have no interest in singing but would rather dance the night away, consider setting up a Kinect with Dance Central. This game allows you to learn and perform a variety of dance moves without the need for a pesky dance mat. The Kinect sensor reads the moves of your body and lets you know if a certain part of your body isn’t quite getting the move right.
7. State Fair Theme
So what do you do when you want to create a state fair atmosphere but you were told that the Ferris wheel you wanted won’t quite fit into your event room? The food is a good place to start. Think of all of your favorite foods. Then batter and deep fry them before serving them up. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried Twinkies, you name it and it can be fried. If you must provide some healthy options for your more discerning guests, try to keep them out of the way so as not to make those partaking in the festivities feel bad about what they’re eating. For entertainment, set up several boardwalk style games where your guests can exchange tickets for the opportunity to win prizes. The Carnival Games series has several titles on both the Wii and the Xbox Kinect that would fit perfectly into your event theme. Have attendants at various booths with stuffed animals for people that get above a certain score on one of the games. Choose from such carnival staples as ring toss, and dunk tanks or random new games such as catching funnel cakes from an out-of-control machine being run by a monkey.
8. Deer Hunter Theme
Have an office full of hunters? Then a hunting theme is a perfect way to go. Easily decorate with camo-themed decorations and you could even ask for a few volunteers to provide some of their trophy bucks for that hunting lodge ambiance. Set up a few different stations around the room with different deer hunting games. Deer Drive for the Wii paired with a couple of Wii Zapper controllers is my favorite title in this genre and has proven to be great for parties. If you want to take it to the next level, bring in a deer blind for your employees to crouch in while they take aim at all the virtual bucks they can shoot.
9. NASCAR/Gran Prix/Racing Theme
Depending on what your audience is, there is a whole range of styles you can choose to decorate to within the racing genre. From the casual Nascar theme to the elegant Monaco Grand Prix theme, there’s sure to be a balance that fits with your guests. No matter how fancy you choose to make it, be sure to have lots of great racing games. Mario Kart for the Wii is a title that just about anyone can pick up and play and have a great time. Racing simulators can be a great addition as well. Paired with such titles as Gran Turismo 5, this is the most accurate and visually pleasing way to race. Since Gran Turismo is a realistic simulator game though, some less experienced drivers might find it a little tough to adjust to the blistering speeds of real racing.
10. Nerd Theme
Bust out your pocket protectors and bone up on your Star Wars trivia for this one. There are many different ways you can go as far as décor goes, but the most important thing to remember is the video games, the staple of every socially awkward teenager. Be sure to load your event room with all of the classic arcade games such as Ms. Pac Man and Gallaga, along with some of the newer games for different systems. Just about any game will fit the theme, but you should probably stick to ones that lend themselves better to multiplayer gameplay so as to include more people.
Hopefully, this list gives you some good ideas as to how you can incorporate video games into your next big event. Remember, these games aren’t just for kids anymore, and they just might be what you need to make your party a winner.