The Sprite Engine
proudly carrying the Vice City torch since 2008

Alex will not barf

Vice City at Convergence 2008

Post Mortem
After a two year absence, Vice City returned to celebrate Convergence's 10 year anniversary. Although Vice City is and has always been a video game themed party, there were a number of changes to the party this year.

We're not your goddamn babysitter
This year Vice City introduced a new policy aimed at negilgant parents - kids under 16 years of age may play for half an hour, after which they may not return unless they are accompanied by a parent. This rule had to be enforced quite often, but the effects of the rule were worthwhile and noticable. Vice City still welcomed many underrage visitors in 2008, but those underrage visitors didn't overwhelm the party like they have in the past. Instead, during daylight hours there was a pleasant mix of both adults and children.


We still kicked the kids out when we started serving alcohol, of course.

Stop hogging the game!
I also introduced the 30 minute rule this year. Adults were allowed to stay at the party for longer than 30 minutes, but they still had to switch game systems every 30 minutes even if they were the only person in the room. I rarely had to enforce this rule, but the few times that I did I was glad that the rule was in effect. It allowed more casual game players a chance to drop in and play a game or two without having to wait hours for one guy to decide he's done with a specific game system.

Standing room only
With the exception of the Typing of the Dead game, all of the games were set up to be played while standing. Chairs were removed from the room, and people that tried sitting on the floor were politely asked to stand while watching/playing. This allowed us to squeeze a total of six systems into a single hotel room, one of which was a massive projector-based 4 player MAME console. The standing room only policy also discouraged people from camping the same system for hours on end.

I also made three 13" TV + console stands that encouraged people to stand while playing. These were wildly successful, allowing more systems to fit into the hotel room while discouraging gamers from blocking out space while sitting on the floor. If I run the party again next year I'll be making at least two more of these stands.

Game selection
2008 was the first year that Vice City did not honor requests to swap out video games. Instead, the games were left in their game systems for about 2 hours, after which I would swap them out with a new game cartridge. This created less hassle for the party host on duty, but I had a hidden motive behind making this policy.

Tanktread GuyWhen choosing games for the game systems, I favored games that were fun, simple to play, and (most importantly) discouraged long play sessions. The shorter games encouraged people to swap out and take turns and discouraged long term game system camping. That's why Mario Brothers was available for play and Final Fantasy wasn't.

I also tried to favor classic games that people might not have had a chance to play before. This year visitors to Vice City had a chance to play Warp & Warp, Donkey Kong 3, Bible Adventures, Frog Bog, Lock and Chase, Bosconian, Toki, Tetris Attack, Super Puzzle Fighter, and the original Mario Brothers.

Going it alone
I was the only person running and the only person financing Vice City 2008. This was a foolish, foolish idea. If I didn't have so many great friends that were willing to pitch in at the party I never would have made it through the weekend. Even with their help, I was burnt out by the time I left the hotel on Monday afternoon.Luigi

Vice city needs at least three people to run it. During the party hours just one of those three people need to be present at any given time, but during setup and teardown at least three able bodied people are needed to move the massive amount of equipment and furniture that Vice City requires to and from the hotel.

Money is also an issue. $700 is bearable when split three ways, but not when a person has to pay the entire amount alone.

return to top

As promised, here are the financial numbers for Vice City 2008. The expense column covers fees, consumables, and other forms of non-permanent items. The capital colum covers items that can be reused from year to year.

room rental
bed removal
box fans (5)
access control
direct donations
video game stands (3)
video game tip jar (revenue)
Hardy beer
drink garnish
speed pours
bar tip jar (revenue)
masking/duct tape
speaker wire
Space Armada board
garbage cans
garbage bags
net cost for Vice City 2008

Expenses for Vice City 2008 were slightly higher due to the atypical four day convention. For a typical three day con the expenses should be about $160 less.

The negative numbers on the expense sheet represent tips that generous party guests left at either the room's tip jar or the bar's tip jar.

return to top

Vice City 2008 was too big for me to accomplish on my own! I'd like to thank everyone that helped with the party, including:

Joe, for helping with setup, teardown, and providing some fantastic snacks for the volunteers at the party.

Laurie and a 8 pack of Surly Beer, for the inspiration for the lovely Space Armada interactive velcro board and the loan of the Intellivision system for the party.

Laurie and Ian, for hosting 6 glorious years of Vice City. If it weren't for them Vice City would have never graced the poolside of Convergence, and that would be a damn shame.

Green Koopa

Erin, for serving up some tasty drinks at the Vice City bar.

Matt, for picking up some party host shifts during the convention.

Scott, for bouncing the underrage drink seekers and keeping me sane by watching the party room while I took a few breathers.

Josh, for helping me tear down the room and load up the pickup truck Monday morning.

My lovely wife Emily, for serving some excellent drinks at the bar, for helping with both setting up and tearing down the party, for coming up with the video game stand design idea, and for supporting me and my Vice City shennagins throughout the year.

return to top

I focused all of my awesome art skills into a flier design project for the 2008 convention. In case you missed the fliers in the hotel, I've uploaded them to the web for your viewing pleasure. Print your favorites off and stick them on the walls of your basement for your very own Vice City experience!

return to top