Last night Global Communications Club hosted a video game fundraiser to contribute towards Relay for Life. Initially the idea was to focus on the game Rock Band, where teams could sign up to take part in a virtual battle of the bands. Good in concept, maybe not so much so in execution. So it changed, and became a Just Dance tournament. Were teams could get together and shake it to out dance other teams. Again, good on paper, but hard to execute. So we looked at Mario Kart. An easily accessible game that almost everybody from their three year old nephew to grandmother knows how to play. Would be perfect, but it was missing the one element that the other two ideas shared. Teams. Togetherness. Co-operative. Community.
Smash Bros. brawlin'
Players in the tournament were selected through a ticket system, ensuring randomness throughout. Even the course selection was done through a card system to make sure there were no ringers selecting their favorite tracks. Initially feared as a way to make the game more restricted, it was received with open arms, and the friendly competitive spirt emerged. It was intense, stressful, exciting, honest pure fun. Win or lose, there wasn't a smile-less face in the crowd.
Phones were out, but only to take pictures of somebody making a fool of themselves dancing. Or capturing video of their friend getting hit with a blue shell, then a red shell, then a pow block, and finally a lightning bolt to drop from first place all the way to tenth. People were engrossed in the evening and putting worries aside for a few hours. And really, isn't that what entertainment is supposed to do anyway? Video games can bring people together, and thats exactly what happened.
The final four...
That was the essence we were trying to capture. Video games by nature are community driven. Whether it's playing together in a room, sharing tips and secrets, working together to unlock characters, or just telling your friends how you beat the level wayyyy different from everybody else. Games are communal, and thus the idea of the Video Game Cafe was born.
Mario Kart tournament would be the tent pole, but we would also have several other games on hand just so people can come, hang out, play games together, snack on some treats, and have a good time. The games were selected and off we went.
Smash Bros. had 4 players in constant rotation all night. Wii Sports and a small group of competitive people that were really into it. Just dance sat all alone until 3 brave girls gave it go. By the end of the night it had the largest gathering of people around it. Anybody that came with a Nintendo 3DS had migrated to the center of the cafe to street pass and play one another. Community.
The final four were set, and they drew a large crowd. People screamed. They laughed. They cheered. It was an epic conclusion to an awesome evening. People, hung out, had some homemade baked goods, and spent their time having fun with friends and their favorite hobby. Community.