We had a blast putting together this Retro Video Game Birthday Party. Turning 12 is kinda a big deal in our home. And like most tween boys… our son loves video games. Years ago Gandalf wanted a new DS, but it totally wasn’t in our budget. I’m not the kind of mom that wants to give her kid everything, but I was bummed I wasn’t able to buy him the gift he had been asking for months. As we were cleaning we came across my hubby’s old Game Boy. We decided to give him that instead. And you know what? He loved it!!! And he loved playing all the old games my husband enjoyed. Thankful for tender mercies moments where our son didn’t realize we were tight with money. And it laid the groundwork for this fun Video Game Party.
And a lot of his friends, who had never even heard of this gaming system, thought his Game Boy was pretty cool. One of my favorite memories was over hearing my son and his friends talk. His friend asked him where he got this cool Blue Pokemon game. My son proudly told him that it belonged to his dad. His friend said, “You know what this means, right? Your dad was cool!” to which my sons squealed and flapped his arms. (He does that when he’s excited)
It’s been at least 5 or 6 years since we have given him a Game Boy and all our boys still love to play games on it. We were really hoping to get one of those retro Nintendo systems for Christmas but that didn’t work out either. My hubby was able to buy a used DS for our son this year and let me tell you, that boy was thrilled! He even used some new birthday money to buy Zelda.
My boys (hubby included) love gaming together. And I love the idea of playing games for a bit, I mean, that’s what tween boys love to do. But I wanted his party to have an activity. And I wanted a chance for all the kids to be social and do something together. Tween/teen parties are a little trickier. And the last thing I want is for kids to be bored. And my house doesn’t have access to video games for more than 8 people. The gaming trucks are cool, but a little out of my budget.
The first game we played was “Guess Who I Am?” video game style. I placed cards with names like Link, Mario, Mega Man, Ash, Yoshi, etc, on their backs. By asking yes or no questions the kids had to figure out who they were. We gave our son a really hard one. It was a great way for school friends to meet scout friends. Plus they were able to eat some treats. With having a handful of boys over I need to make sure I had lots of snacks. I seriously can’t believe how much they eat.
Then I remembered one of my talents and loves: scavenger hunts! Scavenger Hunts are great because they are a ton of fun. And the more fun friends you have, the more fun you will have together. Plus there is some competition that most kids LOVE. I made a list of items the kids needed to get pictures of around the neighborhood. The list was fun and referenced different retro games. That was another part of the fun of scavenger hunts, being on your own. And with the kids being 12, and our neighborhood is pretty friendly, I thought this would be great. We love being at our kids parties. We like chaperoning but giving them space. I went over the rules and reminded them the buddy system and other safety tips. The rules were you couldn’t enter anyone’s house unless your parents normally let you go there. They had to stick together. And they could only go to houses they knew. We have a lot of church members in our neighborhood. And I made sure to tell my hubby to split the teams evenly so there was plenty of neighborhood kids on each team.
After the kids took off my husband told me this was the best party game ever. He did ride his bike around just to keep an eye on them. And it gave me time to run and grab some pizza. We had our party after school and during dinner time. I told them they could get creative with their lists of items. It’s always fun to see how people interpret things. They loved coming back and comparing the pictures they took. After pizza the kids took turns playing video games. We ended up not even serving the Game Boy cake because they boys said they were too full from all treats and pizza.
It always takes time to make decorations and treats but I love seeing my son’s excitement. And he has gotten so great about genuinely thanking me. He sees it’s work and lets me know that he loves it. When it comes to birthdays in our house typically we don’t really buy a lot of gifts. Some years we didn’t give them anything. But I do make their favorite dinner and cake. And I do plan fun parties. It’s one of the ways I show my kids I love them. The key for me is planning early. And with this party I need some help from my hubby. I use to watch my brother play video games but I needed some help remembering details. I was able to put this party together in a week. Planning out when to make the food and decor really helps me stay on task.
Making the sugar cookies has been so much fun. I usually put on a really girlie movie and have fun with it. I love the tips from this blog post. I make Grandma Jean’s cookie recipe and get to work with frosting. I was able to use a tulip cookie cutter and cut off the stem for the ghost shape. I love using cookie cutters for more than just one design. I love that the frosting hardens so I can stack them or bag them.
The rice Krispies were fun. I made sure to freeze them before covering them in chocolate in an effort to make it easier. I just used leftover fondant from the cake for the eyes. I stamped with a straw little circles for the Pac Man eyes and for the Mario Stars I just rolled them a bit first. Yay for not having to make black frosting!
The cake I like to do the morning of the party. I love this marshmallow fondant from How Does She. I make the cake earlier in the week, wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze them. I love using these beauties to keep them as level as possible. My 9×13 cake pan was curved and I wanted really strong angles. I posted about it in my local FB group and my neighbor and friend had one I can borrow. Trying to borrow things is a must when keeping the costs down. Which is another reason I make my own treats. (Even if that means they aren’t perfect)
I was really happy with the cake. I’m not really great at covering cakes with fondant. You may have seen my Instagram stories as I tried to do it. But I’m improving. And kids are always impressed. As a colorist I really enjoy creating colors with food coloring for my fondant and frosting’s. Obviously different than working with hair color but similar foundation. To make my grey color for the base of my Game Boy I just used black color with white fondant. It wasn’t the perfect color grey, but I was in a hurry. As I was creating the color for the screen. I added some yellow and black to my fondant. My original thought was yellow and blue (to make green) and then some black to make it darker. But the color was perfect grey. Which made sense after I thought about it. The underlining color in black is purple. By adding some yellow it help cancel out the undertones, making it a perfect grey. At this point I had already covered the cake. But learn from my mistake and your cake can look even more amazing!
I love using a food scraper to get clean lines. And I try to use any cookie cutters or stamps possible. I made the red buttons with a vanilla extract bottle cap. Don’t be afraid to get creative. To attach layers of fondant you can just use a little water. If the whole cake intimidates you just start with fondant shapes or elements. (I made this cake for his Percy Jackson Party two years ago!)
I think the paper ghost (cut with my amazing Silhouette) are probably my favorite decor items. But my son would tell you he loved the ‘ Princess Peach Rings’ the most. I also had Pac Man’s fruit candy and gold coins. I loved picking up some fun party wrapping paper to create a simple and colorful backdrop. The Mario Star Bunting was super simple to make. Remember if you are using twine for your banners to use this Tip of the Day. To make the drinks, or health and mana potion, I used blue Gatorade and Sprite and then Ruby Red Squirt. Some of the boys had fun mixing the potions together.
All in all it was an awesome Video Game Party! My son had a great time and I was so happy to see so many wonderful kids in his life. I am so thankful for great kids and families. And for a chance to throw parties so I can better get to know them better. I loved that my son invited girls. He told me it wouldn’t be fair if he didn’t. And I was happy a really great girl did come. And she did great holding her own with all those boys. She’s a fan of video games herself. And I love that he is friends with level headed girls.
Any excuse to party works in our home! You can check out some of my other fun birthday party ideas here. Our family loves birthday themes! I hope you found some helpful ideas to help you with your next party. I love the challenge of creating my own decor or treats. You don’t need to spend a fortune to have a fun party. Did I mention those number balloons were in the dollar spot at Target? And we were able to get our candy from Winco! Thanks so much for reading and supporting my blog. Click the button on the side to subscribe and get more fun ideas to bring your family closer together! And be sure to pin this post to spread some love!!!
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