Over the years, we have been purchasing some of the newer video game consoles like Wii, XBox 360, Playstation 3, etc., for Christmas and birthdays for our family to enjoy. They’ve become a part of our everyday lives. Gwen’s favorite games are Portal and Minecraft and Raiden’s favorite games are Little Big Planet, Skate 2, and he also likes Minecraft.
Recently, my husband and I began collecting some of the older game consoles as well, like NES and Nintendo 64. They’re very affordable to purchase now and searching for them has become a new hobby or quest. Our kids like to play these older consoles and games, too. These games are light-hearted and not as complicated as some of the newer platform games.
A couple of weeks ago, with an arcade-party theme in mind for Gwen’s 10th birthday, I started stalking our local thrift store (Hospice of Amador County Thrift Store) for color televisions to play the older consoles and was able to purchase four. I found them to be good quality televisions and VERY affordable. We already owned two flat screens for the newer consoles like XBox 360 and Playstation 3 and had an older (heavy) color television for the NES from Gwen’s room. My oldest daughter, Brandi, lent us her smaller flat screen for the Playstation 2. That’s a total of eight televisions! I’m sure we will be a bit frightened of the electric bill when it arrives.
To create the atmosphere of this party arcade, we shut the blinds and tried to make things as dark as possible in our living room. It was a bit difficult as the party was scheduled for the brightest part of the day and in June. A few days before the party, I found some video game art from the internet (like desktop wallpaper images of Mario and Luigi, Guitar Hero, Portal, etc). I saved the images to an SD card and had Staples make black-and-white posters. We framed these posters and displayed them in our “living room arcade”. To further the experience of an arcade, Brandi brought over a “big ball of lite” and Gwen created a playlist of video game-themed music.
For Gwen’s party this past Sunday, we had 10 different consoles available to guests including NES (with Super Mario and Duck Hunt), Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, the original XBox, Playstation 2, XBox 360 with Kinect, Playstation 3, Wii, and a plug-and-play of Pac-Man. Some of the games included Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers, Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, SIMS, Medal of Honor, Halo, Road Rage, Red Dead Revolver, Black Ops, Portal 2, Dance Central, Kinect Party, and on and on and on. Also available were hand-held systems like, DS, DSi, PSP, and 3DS. With all of the consoles going at one time, we really didn’t need any music, as it already sounded like an arcade straight from the 80’s. The best part, you didn’t need quarters! There was a game console for everyone. Given the age of our guests, a lot of them had never played these consoles before but enjoyed the simplicity and fun of them all.
To even it out a bit for guests that just weren’t into video game systems, we had some other games available in our garage like ping-pong, table hockey, and Giant Jenga provided by Brandi!
Some of our guests came as their favorite video game characters, which was optional. We had Mario AND Luigi (the Stolz Sisters), Princess Peach, Ghost and Captain Price from Modern Warfare 3, and a turret from Portal (the birthday girl herself).
Gwen wanted a “discouragement redirection cube” (from the game Portal) pinata. Guess what?! You can’t purchase this anywhere, so I had to DIY this pinata. To do this, I took a straight-on picture of the cube when Gwen was playing the game and had it printed at 9-x-9-inches which fit on the front/back of a bulk oatmeal box. I followed this tutorial and just added the picture of the cube. She loved it!
Last but not least, Gwen wanted the cake from Portal as HER birthday cake. We took a picture of it to our local bakery in Savemart and not only did they nail it, but they also made cupcakes to match! Gwen isn’t a fan of cherries, so we found some red gumballs and placed them on the cake instead of the cherries. The goodies taste as good as they look! For the cake and two dozen matching cupcakes, it was less than $30!
This was a fun party for all and well worth the time and effort! “Best Party Evah!” exclaimed the birthday girl.