Keys to Creating a Successful Video Game Contest

One of the best ways to get the most people involved with video games is to incorporate some type of competition. Most people are competitive by nature even if they tell you that they aren’t, so tapping into that can be a great way to encourage people to get involved. Through our experience in helping to organize all sorts of different competitions revolved around video games, we have found some good guidelines for what works…and what doesn’t. Outlined below are a few tips that will help ensure that your next party is a success.

1. Get organized early

One of the biggest problems we have encountered with putting together a competition (that we haven’t organized of course) is that halfway through, they realize that there isn’t going to be enough time for everyone to finish. So it is important to figure out in the early planning stages all of the details surrounding the event that you will be having. Some important things to consider are:

  • Length of the event
  • Time devoted to games within event
  • Number of contestants
  • Number of video game stations budgeted for

Once you know the basics of the event, then you can move forward and decide what games you want to use based on the calculated time constraints.

2. Choose games that are easy to learn (we call them event-friendly games)

Another potential pitfall you may encounter when planning a contest involves choosing the right games to fit the skill level of the group you want to involve. For example, you don’t want to try and teach a group of people that have never touched a video game how to compete in a Halo Reach tournament. There’s just not enough time. Games that the average non-gamer will not be able to learn within an event setting are typically termed “core” games.

The games that work best for most groups involve mini-games. Typically, the sports mini-games seem to offer the most options and are thus the most popular.

Once you have chosen the games that work best for your event, you will need to calculate how long it will take for each person to complete the game.  Be sure to take into account differences in skill level as well as transition times between players.

3. Make sure the point system works

here are many really good games that do not make good event competition games simply because of their scoring system. Some games do not allow you to see your score at the end of a round while others don’t create enough differentiation between the players to be meaningful. If you are having your teams compete across multiple games and combining the score, it is very important that the scoring systems between the games match up well. For instance, you do not want to directly add scores between games with scores averaging 20 points with those of another game averaging 20 million points. The higher average point value game would render the lower score meaningless. A way around this issue would be to keep the scores separate until the end and assign points based on how well each contestant did compared to everyone else on a given game and only then adding the points together.

4. Have a prize for the winner, but not necessarily an extravagant one

Having a prize to compete for can be a great way of encouraging more enthusiastic participation. However, if you make the prize too extravagant, you might be opening the door for your guests to be hypersensitive to even the slightest hint that something isn’t 100% fair between all of the contestants. Typically a simple trophy will be sufficient to get everyone interested without creating a monster.

There are many other things to consider during the planning process for a great video game contest. But if you follow the guidelines laid out in this article, you should be well on your way to a successful event. And remember, if you ever need any additional guidance, a friendly Game Plan Entertainment employee will be happy to help you put together the perfect competition.