Party ideas for a geeky gamer's 30th!
November 12, 2009 9:08 AM   Subscribe

My husband is turning 30 next month, and because his birthday typically gets overshadowed by the holidays, I am throwing him a BIG surprise party at our house. I am trying to come up with a loose theme that I can tie into the cake/cupcakes, decorations, and some little scavenger hunt hint cards I am going to leave for him. Some of my ideas have been pretty lame, so I'm turning to the hive mind for ideas!

My husband is an electrical engineer and a gamer. He used to be really into World of Warcraft, so I had been planning to do a bit of a WoW theme (quest completion "question mark" cupcake toppers, relabeling beer bottles as beer from the game with stats & all, using WoW colors & fonts in banners and crap), but he really hasn't been into it lately and one of our friends who also plays w/ him thinks the idea is a little dated. He's not really into any ONE game right now, I think he's playing about 3 or 4 at the moment, and they're not ones I know much about (I have played WoW on and off, so I felt like I could do a decent job with that theme).

Other things he likes are the typical gamer/geek themes ... robots, pirates & ninjas, sarcastic humor, and beer (in an interest in brewing way, not in a bud lite chugging fact, one of his surprise birthday presents is being sent to brew some beer). He also really likes moose, but that's a kind of lame party theme in and of itself.

So what can/should I do? I want to do something kind of fun and different. I am crafty and really enjoy projects like creating unique decorations/favors and want this party to be really memorable for him. It has to be child friendly as there will be family as well as friends there, and I also do not want to spend TOO much. I've budgeted several hundred for the party, but a lot of that is going for food and drink. I want things I can make by hand, with no more than a couple hundred for supplies.
posted by tastybrains to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
You could do an 'evolution of gaming' theme, starting with Pac Man and Asteroids (or similar), Super Mario, etc., building up to whatever he's playing now.
posted by brambory at 9:19 AM on November 12, 2009

Pirates vs Ninjas is a great nerd party theme. You can do pirate rubber ducks versus ninja rubber ducks.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:21 AM on November 12, 2009

I like the X versus Y approach b/c it lends itself to team games! Each cupcake can have a secret sticker on the bottom - so for pirates v. ninjas some cupcakes have a pirate sticker and some have a ninja sticker - and whichever sticker your cupcake has means you're on that team for the duration of the party. You could also have "early games" versus "recent games" - pac man, asteroids, early mario and oregon trail people versus new 3-D mario, lego batman, and other kid-friendly but modern game characters. This idea is nice b/c each person could take on a persona for the evening - maybe you make identifying stuff for the person to wear, or tell each person they have a cool gaming power or something that goes with their character...
posted by lorrer at 9:26 AM on November 12, 2009

In addition to whatever theme you choose, you could have a beer tasting!
See if people can name & tell the difference between high-end and cheaper
beers, and hand out tons of cheap, silly (game-related?) prizes to the
posted by cymru_j at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2009

Why not just do "retro video games" - Pac Man, 8-bit Mario, etc.
posted by radioamy at 10:46 AM on November 12, 2009

A couple of weeks ago my wife sent me an e-mail asking what I wanted to do for my birthday. I sarcastically replied with a quote from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: "I want to go on an overnight drunk, and in ten days I'm going to set out to find the shark that killed my friend."

I came home the night after my birthday to find our house decorated like the Belafonte. There were port holes all over the walls with scenes from the movie outside (research turtles, dolphins with cameras, a jaguar shark, a submarine, etc). People were dressed in red caps and in blue jumpsuits. In our bedroom she had my suit prepared for me to change into (complete with my own red cap and decorative medals). We already have a three-legged dog, so she was renamed Cody for the night. There was a Zissou Flag cake. The soundtrack from the movie was on the iPod. All that was missing were Glocks for everyone (well, not the interns, they can share one). It was a total surprise.

So, I don't know, ask him early what he wants to do, and whatever he says, fuckin' run with it man.

i married the right woman
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:56 AM on November 12, 2009 [6 favorites]

You could make the theme him... For example, has he lived in different cities? You could have items from each city represented, special foods, etc. You could have a few things game related too. Just have it center on what makes him him and his life experiences.
posted by fyrebelley at 1:10 PM on November 12, 2009

Check out the website Think Geek for all sorts of ideas in terms of geekiness.

What style of games does he like? What are the few games he's playing right now? I'm a gamer nerd and can maybe help you find a common link with them.

You can never go wrong with zombies (a la "Left 4 Dead 2?")...
posted by metalheart at 2:07 PM on November 12, 2009

Furthering what others have mentioned above. For my 30th I held a "Let's LAN-Party like it's 1999" party. The idea was to recreate the kind of lan parties that I used to have at university and given that basically everyone had computers or laptops that could run games of that age there were a lot of people who could attend and join in.

Other fun geeky 30th's I've witness have been things like a Logan's Run themed party where people have to come in their respective colours and so on.
posted by AbsoluteDestiny at 8:58 AM on November 13, 2009

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