How to throw a Classic Game Party

I recently read AJ Glasser’s feature over at wherein she breaks down how to throw a gamer party. That’s all fine and good if you like playing new games, but what about all the other games? What about the TurboGrafx and the Super Nintendos?

Luckily, I have you covered. Having just thrown a classic gaming party this past weekend (before the article was published, coincidentally) I felt I would share some tips on how to throw a gaming party that covers all the bases.

STEP 1: PREPARATION – Games, Games, Games.

It is very important to note that I take a very different stance when  it comes to my game nights as compared to the AJ Glasser’s advice in her article. Having just one game predetermined at the outset would get pretty bland, so I go for the opposite line of thinking; overwhelm the bastards.

I start my prep several days in advance of the night (which is always a Saturday, third Saturday of every month actually). I take all of my games out of there shelving and I arrange them alphabetically (which they are already anyway) and by system. I determine which games are game night appropriate. Example: Contra for the Nintendo Entertainment System is a definite YES, where as Earthbound for the SNES is a definite NO. It’s pretty easy, actually. I just leave all my RPGs behind, along with anything newer that N64, and by that I mean PS1 (all I have are RPGs  mostly), PS2, X Box, 360, Gamecube and Wii. I take down the Dreamcast, however for two reasons: It fucking rules and there is always someone who wants to play Marvel Vs. Capcom 2.

After all the games have been picked I put them into paper boxes, paper box lids, envelope boxes, and plastic bins and haul them to the dining room table. Done.

STEP 2: PREPARATION – Peripherals as far as the eye can see

The second part of the preparation phase is to go through my peripheral shelves and basically dump them into paper boxes (three, to be exact). Included in the motley crew of controller mayhem are all manner of first party, third party, turbo, four-way, light gun, arcade stick and power glove. These I keep up stairs until the night of the game room, mainly they will be sitting on a low coffee table and my one year old daughter has grabby little hands.

STEP 3 – Television foreging

It is very important that you get as many TVs as you can for a gaming party of this magnitude. Ideally what you want is one TV per system, which I almost had this past Saturday, but a couple lender TVs didn’t end up working out. I pulled one TV from my wife and my bedroom, three from my game room plus the one in our living room, totaling five. With your TVs in place, it time for a step that can get tricky.

STEP 4: Powering the bitch

Five TVs, eight consoles, and one Rygar styled MAME cabinet. That’s alot of juice, especially since the Sega battleship takes up three outlets on it’s own. Using a variety of power strips, surge protectors, and extension cords I make this work using all four outlets in the main living space of our apartment. A good tip is to go to the dollar store and buy the cheapo extension cables, leave them coiled up and use them to patch those big AC adapters (you know, the ones that block the two adjoining outlets on a power strip) so you can fill all the spaces on each power bar. I have it worked out so only one power strip goes into each outlet, thereby lessening the chance of tripping a fuse.

STEP 5: The night before – Gettin’ the hook up

With all of your games, peripherals, TVs, and electrical diagrams in place, it’s time to hook it all up. Typically I unhook all my systems the night before and wrap it all up by console, so I am not untying knots when I go to get it all set up. This also make the process of setting all the consoles up go a lot faster, and if you have friends helping you, it keeps them from getting confused.

Step 6: Game day – Let ‘er rip

In hours before my guests begin arriving I double check all the connections and make sure that all the cylinders are firing. I arrange everything, move the furniture, set up extra chairs and TV stands, and I slap up some vintage posters up on the walls for that rad atmosphere it provides. Then I pop a game into each system, turn everything on and relish in the glory of video games. Viva game night, bitches!


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