December 31st is all about the party. Break out the noisemakers and bubbly and let the fun and games begin. Looking for New Year’s Eve party ideas to level up your celebration? Here’s one that brings back the good old days when you were hooked to your old-school console or Game Boy, a fixture at your local video game arcade, or hunched over your computer (with its MS-DOS OS). Yeah, we’re talking about a retro video game party theme for New Year’s Eve!

Read on for retro video game party decorations, food ideas, and more. Remember, even if the kids know nothing about these games, they’ll want to know more after the party!

Decorate for a Retro Video Game Party with a New Year’s Eve Tree

Pink Pac-Man tree New Year's Eve decoration
Pac-Man-inspired New Year’s Eve tree decorating theme by Mark Laferney

Master crafter Mark Laferney of Slumbering Alligator gobbled up his daily dose of power pellets and created DIY ornaments for a Pac-Man-inspired (and ghosts) tree. Check out this step-by-step guide for his ornaments and tree topper:

Pac-Man Ornaments

Pac-man ornament on a New Year's Eve party tree

Supplies:

  • Yellow Perler Beads
  • Small Round Perler Pegboard
  • Pointed Tweezers
  • Wax Paper or Perler Fusion Ironing Paper
  • Iron
Step 1 Pac-Man video game party tree ornament

#1: Using tweezers, place a yellow Perler bead directly in center of round pegboard. Add another bead directly under the first one.

Step two Pac-Man video game party tree ornament

#2: Using the first two beads as a guide, create the mouth by making the less than (<) symbol.

Step 3 Pac-Man video game party tree ornament

#3: Connect the mouth by outlining the entire circle of the pegboard.

Step 4 Pac-Man video game party tree ornament

#4: Fill in with yellow beads. Fuse together following instructions provided by Perler.

Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde 8-bit Ornaments

Pac-Man ghost on a New Year's Eve party tree

Supplies:

  • Black, Blue, Orange, Pink, Red, and White Perler Beads
  • Small Square Perler Pegboard
  • Pointed Tweezers
  • Wax Paper or Perler Fusion Ironing Paper
  • Iron
Step 1 Inky video game party tree ornament

#1: Using tweezers, place four Perler beads (The color depends on the ghost. Mark uses Inky as the example.) on the top center of square pegboard. Add six more under that row, four directly under the first row and two on each end.

Step 2 Inky video game party tree ornament

#2: For the next row, place the first bead directly to the left of above row. Then, place two white beads, two blue beads, two more white beads and another blue behind that.

Step 3 Inky video game party tree ornament

#3: Start the fourth row directly under the third row. Row goes blue, white, black, two blue, white, black and lastly, blue.

Step 4 Inky video game party tree ornament

#4: For the fifth, sixth, and seventh row, add eight blue beads to each row.

Step 5 Inky video game party tree ornament

#5: To finish the ghost, add four blue beads to the bottom. Place one, skip one, place one, skip two, add one, skip one, add one.

Iron on a Pac-Man ghost ornament for a New Year's Eve Christmas tree

#6: Use an iron to fuse Perler beads together, following the Perler heating instructions. Make sure to heat the front and back.

Pac-Man Tree Topper

Pac-Man tree topper for a video game party centerpiece

Supplies:

  • Blue Paper Straws
  • Cardboard Scrap
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue/Gun
  • Perler Bead Pac-Man Ornament
Cut a circle for the video game party tree topper

#1: Cut a small circle out of a piece of scrap cardboard. The small round Perler pegboard used to make the Pac-Man ornaments works great as a template.

Glue four paper straws

#2: Hot glue four paper straws onto the circle at noon, three, six and nine.

Glue four more straws on the previous four

#3: Glue four more straws in the center of previous four.

Add more straws to the centers

#4: Add more straws in the new centers.

Create a full circle of straws

#5: Continue adding straws to the new centers until full.

Glue another layer on top of the first circle of straws

#6: Glue a top layer of straws between each straw on the bottom layer.

Affix a Pac-Man ornament to the center

#7: Create a Pac-Man ornament using Perler beads. For this one, fill in mouth area with black Perler beads. Hot glue onto the center of the tree topper.

Pac-Man DIY ornaments and tree topper images and instructions by Mark Laferney.

Mark used a pink artificial Christmas tree (as tribute to Miss Pac-Man and her ribbon). Here are a few other tree recommendations you might want to go for, depending on your game of choice.

Green Christmas Trees

The Super Mario Brothers figures
The super duo: Luigi and Mario

These are a good choice for games that use forests or fields as settings. Think Legend of Zelda (1986), Final Fantasy (1987), or Super Mario Brothers (1985).

Use a green christmas tree to decorate for your video game party

Try a green tree with super cool lighting like a tree with Color Blast technology. It lets you program your multi-color light effects and settings. Just like a video game, don’t you think?

Shown here is the Color Blast Balsam Spruce tree

Pink or Red Christmas Trees

A little girl playing video games at a video game party
You as a kid except with a souped up version of your old controller.

Think Princess Peach, Princess Zelda (now a sword-wielding toughie), and just about every other retro video game heroine—whether they wore pink or needed saving!

A pink tree adds a feminine touch to your video game party decorations

Girl got game, too! Any pink Christmas tree will do but why not go for one that shines—just like your favorite video game heroine. A red tree is a great choice, too.  

Shown here is the Rose All Day Tree

Black Christmas Trees

Two guys playing against each other at a video game party
Maybe you’ll never grow out of it, and that’s not a bad thing.

If you were into space or fighting games, or a mix of both, then a black tree is always a good idea. Light it up and you’re one step closer to shooting alien insects and saving the galaxy.

A black Christmas tree gives an illusion of outer space for your video game party decorations

There are tons of games to choose from that go well with a black Christmas tree. Top of mind (for us, at least) is Castlevania (1986), Batman: The Video Game (1989), Double Dragon (1987), and Contra (1987), to name a few. Repeat, as your decorating mantra, the Konami code: “Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Left-Right-B-A-Select-Start!”

Shown here is the Pitch Black Pine tree

Power Up Your Video Game Party with Gaming Grub and Potions

We scoured the Internet for unique finger food ideas and formidable cocktails that fit right into the gaming theme—and for some, the New Year drinking tradition. If you’re partying with minors, make sure to mix up some mocktails, instead. Here they are, in no particular order:

Fire Flower Veggie Appetizers by Rosanna Pansino

Don’t forget the veggies! These appetizers by Rosanna Pansino on YouTube are as fun and colorful as they are healthy. They’re inspired by Super Mario’s Fire Flower. Guests can grab quick bites to get energized. It might not give them 100 lives but it will give them a 1-Up, at least until it’s time to do the countdown.

The Smashed Bandicoot by the 8-bit Bar on The Killer Bits

If you haven’t checked out The Killer Bits YouTube channel yet, you’re missing out. The guy behind the 8-bit Gaming Bar created this drink as a fruity tribute to everyone’s favorite bandicoot: Crash. Downing one or two will have you saying “Ooga-booga!” (or whatever it is Aku Aku says). Watch the video for a walkthrough.

Space Invaders-inspired Cookies by Meaghan of The Decorated Cookie

Space invader cookies by the decorated cookie
Image source: The Decorated Cookie

Invading your phone or computer screen (and soon, your oven) are these munchies from The Decorated Cookie. We think they’re adorable! We love how she created cookies for each type of invader. Check out the recipe on her blog.

Health Potion Cocktail by The Absurdisan

So many games and most of them have a health potion—or a version of it. Full or partial in Diablo 1; a red one made from shrooms and chu jelly to restore Link’s hearts; Resident Evil 1’s first aid box (We rejoiced every single time we saw one), to name a few. The Absurdisan’s awesome cocktail version contains energy-boosting ingredients. Watch the video to find out how to make it.

Pac-Man Atari Cake by Claudia’s Cakes

Image source: Claudia’s Cakes
Claudia’s Cakes whipped up an amazing cake version of Pac-Man on Atari. The clincher: controller, included. Check out her blog post for more photos. Let them eat cake!

Turn Up the Chiptunes

A group of friends having fun at a video game party

What’s a video game party without 8-bit beats? We checked Spotify for playlists that’ll have people on the dance floor—or at least give the right aural vibe while you’re wiping out the bad guys.

By Various Artists
By Video Game Players

More New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

Cheers! to Game of Thrones
Party on Westeros-style. By Jennifer Perkins

In case you’re looking for other cool ways to decorate for New Year’s Eve, check out these other party ideas:

We at Treetopia hope these Video Game party ideas help you kick off 2020 with a sonic boom. Game over, 2019!

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