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A Simple Guide to Hosting a Game Event

By Jorge Figueiredo - November 27th, 2008

Brawl!

Shaun hosts a regular small gathering of gamers at his place most Fridays. It’s a show-up-if-you-want event. These are great because if you’re looking for some competition from like-minded gamers, you can just head on over and hang out with him and whoever to do some quality gaming (although this shouldn’t be taken as an open invitation for everyone to show up – Ed.). Since the crowd is never too big, everyone gets a turn, and two-player matches are the order of the day.

I tend to host larger gatherings far less frequently. I invite people that don’t normally come out to Shaun’s gatherings, resulting in a much larger turnout. While changing the dynamics in terms of games enjoyed, the increased diversity really allows for some interesting gaming experiences.

Since moving into my new place, and what with having a new baby last year, I didn’t have time to host anything until fairly recently. Also, I was concerned about waking the baby, as the baby’s room is right above the TV.

Now that the kiddo is a bit older and sleeps like a log, I thought that I would host a gaming evening at our place to have some fun and to see if the little one would remain in Snoozeville. And it was a success! In typical Game Day fashion, there was much gaming and much eating of gaming-related food (samosas and pizza, among other things).

As to be expected, there was also a fair amount of fun banter, such as when we were playing Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2. We were in the midst of a four-player brawl and I was unsuccessfully trying to pull off a new character’s special move:

Chris: Are you picking that guy again, Jorge?

Jorge: I will keep choosing Towa until I pull off his special move!

Shaun: Maybe his special move is to always die first.

All: (laughter)

Between this and Shaun’s overuse of the term “savage beating” (he has some issues), it sounds like fun, eh? So, here’s some things to consider if you want to host your own game event:

The System

It’s tough to have a game day without a system (board game days excluded), so that’s pretty much a given. Having a decent-sized television is also a plus. You should also make sure you have enough controllers. Whether this involves you having enough on your own, or asking your friends to bring theirs, it’s a big deal to keep as many people involved as possible. If you have friends bring their controllers (BYOC for short) be sure to have some way of identifying which controller should go home with which friend.

Also, if you’re having a PC LAN party, you should have a machine (and router) that can handle the load.

Seating

In the past, it was important to have enough seating for at least the people playing. But with the introduction of the Wii, this is no longer the case. In fact, most of the time the players will be standing (seriously: swinging a lightsabre around is no fun if your butt is parked on the sofa). Spectators can sit or stand. And there’s always the floor, so I suppose it would be more accurate to say that that you need to have enough space for all of your attendees. With bigger gatherings, some guests may end up hanging out elsewhere in the house. Kitchens are popular for some reason – could it be because that’s where the beer is?

Games

It’s important to have a few different kinds of games for people to play. As a rule, I usually have one or two fighting games and a puzzle game handy. Driving games are also good. You want to make sure to be able to cater to the tastes of everyone. Not everyone may like a particular game, but if you include them by having a game that they would like, then you’ll be doing your job as a good host. Who knows, someone may realize that they like a game they otherwise wouldn’t have played!

Snacks

This is important. Contrary to what most people (IE: non-gamers) might think, gaming is a great way to socialize. The people playing can be trash-talking each other, surely, but the spectators don’t always have to be paying attention to the action. They can be busy catching up with each other, or making new friends. It’s an all-around good time that can be enhanced by the presence of food.

Junk food is always on the menu. However, having some healthy snacks to offset these can help your guests not feel sluggish when they leave. Nothing is worse than feeling like crap after a fun day at a friend’s place playing games. Plus, healthy food helps you live longer. If you live longer, you’ll be able to play more games. Who says every circle has to be a vicious one?

The Time

Find a time that’s suitable to everyone. Try not to make it too early in the morning. Also, try not to make it too late at night. If you start it in the late afternoon and run it later on, people can come and go. If you have limited space, this could be to your advantage. Also, if you start it in the late afternoon, you can all have dinner together. Whether it’s pizza, or a potluck, it just makes it a much nicer experience.

Elbow Grease

If you’re going to be hosting, you’d better make sure that you’ve cleaned your place up. Nothing is worse than people finding your underwear lying around, or dust bunnies that actually hang out under the sofa and bite your ankles from time to time. Make sure to clean your bathroom and air out your place (before and after the game event). Distractions are distractions, whether they are dirt or odours.

As additional preparation, you may want to unlock as much extra content in your games as possible to get the most out of multi-player experience from them. Certainly you can unlock things together, but you might end up spending too much time on one game and alienating people that may not necessarily be into it.

The side bonus is that you could become much better at that game. I find that this happens with me. I’ll get a new game, unlock the hell out of it, and then everyone hates me for being too good at the game. Of course, if you are too good at the game, it’s usually better to accept some handicaps, or better still, sit back and watch your friends having fun. This is fun in and of itself.

That’s my guide to get you started. I’m sure most of it is obvious, but I thought I would share my point of view.

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    4 responses so far:
  2. Re: BYOC. Inside the battery panel is a good place to write your name. There’s enough space to write clearly (depending on the controller), and it’s well hidden so it doesn’t mar the surface of the controller.

    Only the Wii nunchuck attachments don’t have a battery panel. So I’m open to suggestions for that.

  3. Posted on Nov 28, 2008

    Great tip, Chris! As I recall that’s exactly what you did.

    For the nunchuck, you can use masking tape to creat a “flag” around the wire by the plug end. And you can write your name on said flag.

  4. You can dip them in cologne so you know which ones are yours by the smell.

  5. Posted on Nov 29, 2008

    Jorge’s idea is my new favorite!

    I don’t know how often you guys get together if it would be worth it, but you can also buy the different covered jelly sleeves to put over the controller. Although when I play my wii I usually end up taking it off the wii mote and leaving it on the nunchuck. But that would still work.

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