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The Best Home Birthday Party for Kids: Video Game Tournament

Updated on July 10, 2011

Good Cheap Fun

Birthdays are one of the most highly anticipated days of the year for children. It can be a challenge to come up with fun, creative and affordable ideas every year. One party idea that meets all three standards is a video game tournament party. There is little cost or preparation involved and your little video game enthusiast will love it.


  • Invitations and birthday cake
  • Two game consoles and controllers; each hooked up to a TV and ready to go
  • Two different video games (borrow, rent or use your own)
  • Poster board to display the tournament brackets
  • party snacks and drinks
  • a giant candy bar for each guest
  • 1st and 2nd place prizes
  • Optional: a third video game station and gaming magazines

Video game controller invitation
Video game controller invitation | Source


For a creative invitation, draw a game controller and copy. Have your child help you cut out the invitations and add color. If crafty projects aren't for you then the standard store bought invitations work just a well. After all, you will probably be the only one impressed with the clever game controller idea-it won't matter to the kids! Another option is free online printable invitations.

After the invitations are sent and the cake is ordered, you will need to draw the tournament brackets on the poster board. Choose the two games for the tournament. I prepared the tournament brackets with eight guests. All eight guests are listed under each game. The first round starts with two players on game A and two players on game B. On your brackets, make sure that you have four different players for game A and B.

Choose the games and obtain the gaming systems needed. My son and his friends decided on the games for the tournament. Between all of his friends, they arranged for the games and an extra gaming system to be in place for the party. All I had to do was to arrange for another TV to be downstairs.

Next, prepare the prizes. I went to our local game store and bought a $25.00 gift card for the 1st place winner and made a large candy basket for 2nd place. Each guest received a giant candy bar at the end of the tournament. Depending on the number of invited guests, the cost of all prizes can be well under $50.00.

Write in each guest's name under both games.
Write in each guest's name under both games. | Source
Fill in the winner slots as the tournament progresses.
Fill in the winner slots as the tournament progresses. | Source

The Tournament

Start round one with four players. Two players are on game A and two players are on game B. As the games are played, fill in the name of the winner on the tournament bracket. The winners move to the next round. When a player loses on one game, they still have a chance to advance in the tournament by playing the other game. For example, if Jacob loses to Matt in the first round of the tournament playing Jedi Outcast, he still has a chance to play an opponent in Sonic Riders.

If you end up with an uneven number of guests at the party you have several options to fill the empty spot. An adult can fill in, the guests can draw straws to see who gets the extra turn or simply give it to the birthday child.

While guests are waiting for their turn they can enjoy the snacks and drinks. You can also provide a third video game to play, back issues of gaming magazines to look through or simple indoor activities like hackey-sack or Nerf basketball. If you really want to amp up the excitement, create a Minute to Win It station. At our party, the kids enjoyed watching the tournament progress so the wait time was not an issue.

The tournament will eventually progress to only two players. For the championship game you will need to toss a coin to choose which game will be played. Then the two finalists will play the best two out of three games.


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    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco

      We just went to a boy's bday party where they had a video game truck come. It had 6 flat screen tvs inside and a bunch of games for the kids. The kids played for about 2 hours, then they ran around a played for the rest of the party. They all loved it!