Life for teens now is far different than it was when I was my daughters’ age. Online bullying, the challenges that come with getting a driver’s license (we never had to worry about texting while driving) and all the things kids need to know before entering junior high (a phone in your pocket but no backpacks?) are just a few examples of how technology has changed the adolescent landscape.
Entertainment is vastly different as well. I see college students taking time to travel the globe with a group of friends in addition to high school graduates taking a “gap year” to find their true calling. Prior to graduation, kids find all types of avenues to express themselves with hobbies, school clubs and sports and many of these are far more intense than was offered when I was a kid. But nothing is more amazing (and surprising) than hearing about kids creating their own home-spun tournaments.
Madison’s friends regularly participate in video game tournaments. Sometimes it’s an all day thing at someone’s house while other times it’s a battle or two on the Nintendo Switch in-between pep band activities. She’s often asked if she can host one but I’ve always been hesitant. As I mentioned in our article about movie night with our BenQ MH530FHD digital projector, our home isn’t designed for entertaining more than a few people at a time. When we upgraded to the new BenQ MH535FHD projector, Madison and Scott discussed hooking the Switch up to it and setting it up in the driveway. We realized she COULD host a video game tournament with limited foot traffic in the house and you can too!
What You Need to Host a Video Game Tournament
A digital projector. You’ll want a projector that is sturdy enough to withstand the chaos that comes with a bunch of people cheering on their favorite competitors! The BenQ MH535FHD is our current unit of choice. You can hook up a gaming system as well as auxiliary audio. As a bonus, the control panel is right on top and easy to get to. Not only is that important when you’re trying to keep to a tournament schedule, but it’s also dark outside so having a panel that’s easy to reach and see is pretty helpful.
A quality portable speaker. We’ve found that the noise level relating to said competition makes it hard to hear the audio unless you connect a portable speaker to amplify it. Anything will do, we’ve used a Vizio Crave Go Speaker as well as a Sony Party Speaker that we usually have set up in the play room.
Gaming system. The kids around here participate using a Nintendo Switch which is ideal since it’s portable. An XBox or other system would also work, but aren’t as easy to pick up and move outdoors.
HDMI cable. You may have one from your gaming system but you’ll likely need to pick one up to be able to properly connect your gaming system to your BenQ projector if you don’t want to take down your TV to use it.
Extension cords. Unless you have a power source in the middle of your driveway (which I know you don’t), you’ll need an extension cord to get power from your home to your projector and speaker system. Since you’ll have multiple devices that require power, you’ll also need a power strip. You could purchase a long extension cord that has a power strips built in, but unless you plan on doing this regularly (which you might), you’re probably best saving that money and utilizing just a regular computer station power strip along with a drop cord from your garage.
A screen. Or in our case, a garage door. If you don’t have one of those or it isn’t white/off white, you can hang a sheet and achieve the same results. Regardless what option you use, the BenQ HM525FHD has a couple adjustment options that allow you to align the projection nicely with the screen.
Seating options. Ask guests to bring a bag chair but provide plenty of picnic quilts and blankets for people to get comfy on. Tournaments aren’t short so you’ll want to make sure people are comfortable while playing but even more comfortable when they’re in-between turns. Seriously, you want people to enjoy the entire experience, not just the game play.
Snacks. Ask everyone to bring a bag of chips. Pick up a case of water at Costco or Sam’s Club so you know everyone is staying hydrated. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your bathroom is clean because people will need to use it.
A dry erase board or poster board. Keep things organized by setting up brackets before you begin. Add names to a hat and draw randomly if you haven’t played before. If you have, then you can use prior results as the basis for setting up the new brackets. This helps everyone knows who plays which other competitor and in what order. It keeps things moving quickly and prevents arguments about who gets to go next and against who.
Friends. Invite people who know how to win humbly and lose gracefully.
A rain-free evening, after dark. You won’t have much luck seeing the screen if you’ve set it up outside during the day. Oh, and rain is never a friend of electronics so have a backup plan in case rain is in the forecast!
Once you’ve gathered everything you need, give it a test run-through before inviting anyone over. You want to make sure you’ve worked out all the bugs ahead of time. After you’ve confirmed the BenQ projector and components are all working properly, plan the night and send the invitations. If it’s a real hit, you may find yourself wanting to up your game by incorporating a second screen and system. You can reduce the image to make room for a second next to it or set it up on another surface of your home. No matter what you do, just remember that it’s all about the experience, the opportunities to bond with family and friends and the fun for all!
Which game would you play at your first tournament?