Thinking of having a get-together this weekend? Consider organizing it around some game-playing action. With the rise of family gaming and the release of party games that take advantage of new console motion controllers, it's now easier than ever to build a party around gaming, and these tips and guidelines will help you throw a party that everyone will enjoy.Pre-Party Prep
1. Choose games that have group appeal; that means being as fun to watch as to play.
Between the stalwart party game favorites and the release of all these new motion-controllers, there are plenty of options to suit your personal preference.
Dancing games: Dance Central (Kinect) and Just Dance 2 (Wii) are the top of the heap here, mostly because they let the players feel like dancing kings and queens, to the delight and horror of onlookers.
Sports games: Wii Sports rules for ease of play alone. Tennis and Bowling are two options that are easy to pick up, easy to play and have quick sessions, making it ideal for larger groups.
Music games: Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero are all available for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3, and they are all loads of fun. However, they also all require purchasing peripherals which don't typically see much use outside of party events like this one.
Trivia games: You Don't Know Jack (Wii, Xbox, PS3, Nintendo DS, Windows), everyone's favorite snarky trivia challenge, is back, and it's better than ever. We loved it in the 90's, and are eagerly awaiting our copy's arrival on our doorstep.
2. Invite Your Friends
Invite your friends over with these cutesy customizable printed invitations, or go nostalgic with Polaroid note cards.
If you're into saving paper, you can coordinate schedules using meeting scheduling services like ScheduleOnce.
3. Organize Your Space
First, make sure your gaming area can accommodate the play. For example, the Kinect requires a significant amount of space -- that's going to mean some furniture rearrangement.
To keep the players comfy, check out these cool low-profile gaming chairs by San Franciscos's Upwell. For spectators, there is a huge variety of bean bags, loungers, squishy cubes and floor cushions, all for very reasonable prices.
On the Day
4. Sort food and drinks
Whether it's Pac Man cookie cutters or Space Invaders ice cubes, theming is the name of the, er, game.
These game-themed drinks from the Girls Are Geeks blog are based on Alan Wake, Mass Effect and Fallout 3. If you're feeling a bit more generally geeky, here are 10 drinks themed around Star Trek.
On the gastronomic front, TechEBlog offers up some 8-bit nibbles. A preview: Skittles = pixels!
5. During gameplay, change it up
Keep a timer if you need people to switch in and out of game playing sessions, and keep the spectators' enjoyment in mind by having some other games on hand, in case people get bored waiting for their turn. There are a lot of new electronic games that build on nostalgic classics, like this Connect Four-ish version of Tetris.
6. Relax and have some fun!
You've worked hard to organize and host that party, so remember to sit back and enjoy your friends, food and fun.
Have you ever hosted a game-based or geek-themed party? Have any tips to share? Let us know!
(Party image: Flickr member smileham licensed for use under Creative Commons)