Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What I Made Wednesday {Lord of the Rings/Minecraft Birthday Party}

Ever since Kiddo was born, we've always had his birthday party at the house, put on by Super Hubby and me, and always themed to the max. When Kiddo got to be a little older, we took birthday-themed parties to a whole new level. Each party we created whisked the party guests to an imaginary world, depending on the theme. To get a glimpse of the lengths we go to create these imaginary worlds, just check out Kiddo's birthday party from last year, click here.

For every party we made it easy for the kids to really get into the theme. Kiddo has always been into imaginative play and he befriended many kids of the same nature, so you can imagine how cool it was to don a Jedi uniform and pretend you were mastering Jedi skills like at the Star Wars party. Or, how about donning a pirate's sash, eye patch, and bandana as they scavaged the yard looking for doubloons at the pirate party. There has been a spy party, Ninja party, I can go on and on. As wonderful as this was, we knew it would come to an end once Kiddo turned a certain age. That age was 11. Kiddo still likes imaginative play, but he was inviting kids that perhaps could not appreciate getting into the spirit of things and dressing up and pretending to be in another world just wasn't going to go over as a huge hit.
The various adventure locations on the map.

So, how do you have a Lord of the Rings birthday party, create a special world, and get 11-year olds to be willing participants? You create a virtual world where they adventure into a video game, all together as a Fellowship, and complete an adventure Minecraft-style!

Super Hubby has his own computer consulting firm so it didn't take that much effort to procure 8 computers, and all the other hardware we needed to make this work. To see how we prepped for the party, click posts here and here to get caught up. Now, on to the party itself!

The explanation of this party is beyond my comprehension so if you're really interested in replicating this party, please e-mail me directly and Super Hubby will give you all the technical details. Here's our To-Do list for the party from a technical level. Techies should get it.

Dense Forest
Time Portal
Upgrade Beds, chests
Fix mountain pass – stairs out, bridges
Minas Tirith – scavenger hunt
Update syntax of notes
Texture pack
Setup laptops

spawn-animals – false
view-distance- 9(far)
Add my username to ops.txt to become operator
Test move command, etc

On a more understandable level, imagine 8 party guests, brought in to the party as Elves, following the calling indicated by the party invitation, see it here. Each has their own computer and mouse already awaiting their arrival. Each guest sits at the computer and designates their own avatar in the virtual world where adventure awaits. Thanks to a server, each guest is in the same world, at the same time. They see each other. They must work together, as a Fellowship, to complete the adventure. Contrary to Minecraft, this adventure requires no mining or crafting. It is purely an adventure.

At designated areas, there are notes dispersed to our adventurers to help them along their journey. Because I didn't want our guests to be glued to a monitor for the entire party, we had designated stops along the way during the adventure. For instance, when they left Hobbiton, they were to all meet at the Prancing Pony in Bree. There, the elves left their computers and came upstairs to partake in meaty snacks only a Hobbit could love: salami, cheese, crackers, olives, pickles, and ham. To quench their thirst, we served Butter Beer. (I know, it's a Harry Potter thing but it was such a big hit last year, we had to repeat it).

  I purchased iced coffee glasses at the Dollar Store and embellished the glasses with border stickers. Believe it or not, I've washed these glasses in the dishwasher and the stickers have stayed put!

Back to the adventure, and through the portal, our Elves returned to their posts and continued on. They stopped at a cave; another opportunity to take a break from the computer screens. We served them Lembas Bread at that point.

Before the big battle, they reached the Castle in Gondolin. Here, I used our dining room and made a royal spread consisting of very Lord of the Rings-inspired foods like potatoes, steak on a stick, chicken kabobs, more Lembas Bread, corn on the cob, and, of course, more Butter Beer. During the feast, we found some great riddles we had the kids try to figure out during dinner. Great fun!

Finally, the kids went back to their adventure for the climactic end - the big battle. They all had to work together to defeat the enemy. Afterwards, they headed to Minas Tirith for a scavenger hunt. Each floor, 5 total, had at least 4 artifacts in chests which the birthday guests could find. It was a free for all at Minas Tirith.

This 5-hour party was so cool and I know I'm not doing it any justice in describing it in my non-techie way. Everyone had a blast, it was unique, and memorable, and we still created a world, just in a virtual sort of way. So cool! Great job, Super Hubby!

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