Chances are, at one time or another, you have encouraged your
child to get off the couch, put down the video game controller and
go outside and play. But while no one wants to raise a couch
potato, video games can have their benefits. Not only are they a
great form of exercise for the brain, today's video games now
encourage players to get up and get moving.
Do you have a gamer in your life? If so, a gaming-themed
birthday party just might be the perfect idea. And when it comes to
a game party, it doesn't matter whether you are a boy or a girl or
what age the guest of honor is….the simple fact is that everyone
loves to play.
Before you run out to the store to pick up invitations, sit down
with the birthday child and come up with a theme based on the games
that will be played. Work off a theme, whether its sports, dance or
a particular video game character. In terms of decorations, colors
can run from red and yellow to blue and black. Fill the party room
with balloons and streamers. Also, consider stopping by a local
video game store and ask the clerk for any extra posters or signs
you might be able to put up on the wall.
As partygoers arrive, set up an "athlete's" table where everyone
can receive their video game team assignments. Consider outfitting
each team in their own color and possibly personalized, therefore
serving as a fun take home gift. Once everyone has checked in, set
up a large tournament board which can list each team and event and
the order of team play. Perhaps the first 2 teams compete and the
winner plays the winner of the next two teams in that event. Of
course, don't forget to take pictures of all the teams, which can
then easily be sent home as a goody bag memento or enclosed in the
thank you notes.
Not sure if you have own enough games to keep your guests busy?
Scatter hand held games throughout the room to keep gamers busy
when they aren't involved in the tournament. No matter the game,
make sure to award winners with theme inspired prizes, such as a
Super Mario doll for the younger ones or a gift card to a local
video game rental facility.
If you plan to take the party out of the home, consider
scheduling it on a weekday afternoon after school, since party
packages are often cheaper during the week. A party outside the
home can go far in offering partygoers the chance to play a bunch
of games they just can't find at their local video game store. "We
serve as a test floor for a number of video game companies, so we
offer a ton of unique games that you are not going to find anywhere
else," explains Michael Hernbrott, General Manager of Rink Side
Sports in Gurnee. "There is a little bit of something for
"It's nice to get the kids off of the couch in their living room
and out with their friends to play their favorite video games,"
explains Adrian Castaneda, VP of Operations at Game Pazzo in
Downers Grove, Chicago's largest game center. "We have a wide
variety of games for all sorts of different crowds and party
Once at your destination, the clank of video game tokens will be
enough to get these gamers excited for the afternoon ahead. At
Hollywood Park in Crestwood, party attendees receive at least 20
tokens each, along with other package features such as admission to
the bumper cars, rock wall or mini-golf. Worried about keeping
everything organized? A party host or hostess will be on hand to
show everyone the ropes.
It's also important to keep track of the games that will be
played at these centers to ensure nothing is too violent or
inappropriate for young eyes. At Game Pazzo in Downers Grove,
parents can pick out video games ahead of time that partygoers will
be able to play during the center's two hour birthday party
packages. "We can customize any party," explains Castaneda. "For a
sports themed party, we can set up the video stations with games
such as bowling or car racing. If the child is into music, they can
take advantage of many of our Wii or Xbox 360 dance games, or
better yet, use our full size Rock Band stage and 120 inch
Pizza and soft drinks are an easy option for these no nonsense
gamers, but why not get creative? Wrap chocolate shapes of hockey
pucks or baseballs for a sports themed gamer party. No matter what,
a gaming themed birthday party will keep them moving, and talking
long after the game is over.
"As a parent myself, I remember going to these so-called
birthday places and there was always too much downtime for the
kids," concludes Hernbrott, whose facility offers everything from
video games to laser tag. "I'm so proud that we have a place that
offers so many different things to do under one roof to ensure we
keep the kids on the move."
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