Minecraft has exploded recently to cross the realm from cult hit to worldwide phenomenon. From an outsiders’ perspective looking in, the game’s success seems a little puzzling. How can an indie game with such basic graphics succeed in a world full of HD graphics and $100 million budgets? In preparing for this article I put in quite a few hours of gameplay. Though I didn’t get sucked in the way most of the kids that come through, I do have a much better appreciation for what the game offers and why it brings them so much enjoyment.
We recently had the pleasure of hosting a couple of awesome Minecraft themed birthday parties at our arcade and I thought I would share some of the great decorating ideas that were utilized as well as a few others I have thought of or found since.
Cube/square shaped food is the name of the game here. Anything that can easily be cut into stable cube shapes will work well for this. Rice Crispy Treats are a great option for making a variety of different elements in the game. Brownies or cake cut into cubes makes great dirt and you can add green icing for a little grass on top as well. One mom even made water cubes out of blue Jello Jigglers.
Watermelon is another great food option that is both party friendly, and fits in perfectly with the theme of the game. Sliced, whole, cubed, or in candy form all work well.
Here are a few other ideas for food that you may want to consider:
- Pretzel sticks are a perfect match for sticks within the game. You can then dip them in orange-colored white chocolate to make a torch.
- Bundles of Twizzlers can be used to create TNT.
- Red Pop Rocks make the perfect red stone substitute.
- Baby carrots and apples can be used as…well carrots and apples which are both Minecraft staples.
- Cubes of white cheese can represent ghasts or snow while yellow cheese can be gold or yellow wool. String Cheese is also a great choice for the string found in the game.
- Assorted rock candy or rock shaped candy can be a fun easy way to represent different minerals.
If you are having the party around lunch or dinner time, you probably want something a little more substantial to eat. While most of the foods crafted and eaten in the game are not all that party-friendly, (or kid-friendly for that matter) I think the best way to go is to stick with the square/cube theme and provide square-cut deep-dish pizza, or mini sandwiches cut into little squares. A full list of the food items found in the game can be found on the Minecraft Wiki Page.
There are not quite as many options for drinks as there are for food, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of room for creativity. Creepers are one of the more unpleasant yet iconic parts of the Minecraft game. The creatures look similar to a four-legged walking cactus with its signature black pixelated scowl that strikes terror into the heart of every player. This same look can be achieved with a little electrical tape and your favorite green bottled beverage. Simply remove the label from the bottle and arrange squares of electrical tape until you have a creeper staring back at you. One of the parties opted to use a yellow sports drink in order to create slime as seen in the picture below.
Another fun way to put your mark on the drink selection is to design custom drink labels. You can purchase waterproof printable labels from several places around the web. If you are already a master of Photoshop, then you will have no problem creating the perfect design to complement your water bottles and assorted beverages. If you are like most of the rest of us, there are many great designs already available from places like Etsy with ready-made designs for you to print yourself. Check out this great custom juice box from a recent Minecraft party at the arcade
When it comes to decorations, it is easy to get carried away in a hurry. There are some simple decorations that can go a long way though. Old cardboard boxes can be covered in paper to resemble some of the elements in the game. You can either decorate these yourself or buy custom Minecraft wrapping paper that is already good to go. There are also ready-made cardboard Minecraft masks available for purchase.
Other fun accessories that can be utilized are pixelated tools from the game, most notably the pickax, but also, the sword, shovel, and sword. Each of these can be made out of cardboard but are also available for purchase online.
What would a Minecraft party be without plenty of Minecraft games? It is currently available on both the PC and Xbox 360 and will be released on the new Xbox One as well. The console version of the game is the better option for a party since it allows for up to 4 players to join in on a single game station. For our last Minecraft themed party we had 6 TVs set up with Minecraft for the Xbox 360 which could accommodate up to 24 guests.
Another fun game that ties the activities in with the food would be to have “jellybean crafting.” Jelly Belly offers several different combinations of flavors that can be combined with other flavors to create something completely different. There is a list of popular combinations on the Jelly Belly website. While not the healthiest activity, it is a great way to provide something fun that adds a game to snack time.
Goodie bags are always an important part of any birthday party as they are the last thing the guests experience on their way home. This doesn’t mean that you need to go too crazy or spend a lot of money in order to have something fun and memorable.
Creepers are the easiest do it yourself option for decorating the bags other than buying something premade. Just take a simple green bag and some black construction paper. Cut the black construction paper into strips and then little squares and then glue them onto the bag as shown below.
The contents of the goodie bags don’t necessarily have to tie in with the rest of the theme but can include many of the candies listed above such as jelly watermelon, rock candy, rock shaped candy, rice crispy treats, etc. You can also splurge and buy pre-made trinkets and toys that are branded with Minecraft logos.
As crazy as it sounds, there is an entire music genre dedicated a bit of Minecraft parody songs. We have put together a song list of fun titles available on Youtube that all have their own music videos set in the Minecraft universe. You can take a look at our playlist here and add to it as you please. What we typically do for parties like this is to pull up our Youtube playlist through the Xbox 360 or PS3 displayed on a 55” TV and then play the music through our DJ sound system.
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the details that go into making a Minecraft themed party. Just remember to have fun with it and make sure that the birthday boy/girls’ fun is your top priority and the details will work themselves out.