As part of its Windows 7 marketing strategy, Microsoft is teaming up with House Party, Inc. to sponsor Windows 7 Launch Parties. Ordinary folks from the US, UK, Canada, and eight other countries and Hong Kong could sign up to host a Windows 7 launch party sometime between October 22 and 29. In return for throwing a Windows 7 shindig, hosts are receiving a party pack, which includes Windows 7-themed party favors, decorations, and a Signature Edition of Windows 7 Ultimate.
Honestly, this is one of the wackiest, most misguided launch promotions I've seen. I'm a bona fide geek and IT professional, and even I couldn't get excited enough about an operating system to attend, let alone throw, a party for it. Yet, some people must be excited enough about Windows 7 to sign up for these parties (or at least sign up to get the free copy of Windows 7). House Party has closed registration and sent out all its party packs. According to their site, those signed up in the US should have received their packs by October 15th.
This got me thinking about what types of games and activities partygoers might actually partake in. So in true TechRepublic 10 Things style, I came up with the following list of Windows 7 launch party games.
- Pin the gadget on the Taskbar: Open a new gadget and have each party guest attempt to pin that gadget on the Windows 7 Taskbar while wearing a blindfold. They earn extra credit if they can pin the Recycle Bin to the Taskbar.
- Control Panel maze race: Ask guests to add a new user, reset the desktop wallpaper, install a new printer, or perform some other series of common tasks using only the Windows 7 Control Panel. The first one done wins.
- Windows 7 bingo: Create bingo cards using the six different Windows 7 versions as the value for each square.
- Microsoft charades: Guests act out their favorite Microsoft product, marketing catch phrase, or executive. "Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers..." Guess who?
- Device driver scavenger hunt: Divide the guests into teams and let them scour the Web for all the drivers needed to make the party's main Windows 7 machine work.
- UAC Drinking game: Each time a UAC prompt appears on the party's main Windows 7 machine, everyone takes a drink. This should be played continuously throughout the party. For extra points, hardcore parties could use a Windows Vista machine. (Thanks to Selena Frye and Mark Kaelin for this game idea.)
- Bug and security flaw treasure hunt: Divide the guests into teams and let them each spend 20 minutes searching for an undisclosed bug or security exploit. The real fun comes when you let guest decided whether to immediately post your findings on the Web or notify Microsoft.
- Windows white elephant gift exchange: Guests brings their least-favorite version of Windows and trade them during a traditional white elephant gift exchange/Yankee swap. Warning! Everyone is likely to bring their old version of Windows Me and just leave them at the host's house.
- Musical mice: Using only the sample music include with Windows 7, guest pass around a mouse until the host randomly stops the music. The guest left holding the mouse after each round is out. The last guest left standing wins the last trade in the Windows white elephant gift exchange, and thus avoids going home with a copy of Windows Me.
- Bobbing for Apples: Buy a handful of Apple iPod nanos and iPod shuffles. Put the devices in a large box or bucket filled with shredded paper, packing peanuts, or some other "filler". Have each guest bob for the prizes while wearing a blindfold. Yeah. I know this one is a bit on the expensive side, but honestly, it's about the only activity that would get me to show up at a party celebrating a computer OS. Thanks to Toni Bowers for suggesting this one.
These are just a few game ideas for the hip Windows 7 party host. (Wait, is that an oxymoron?) I'm sure our creative TechRepublic members can come with a few more. Let's hear them!
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. He was most recently Managing Editor for TechRepublic Pro. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.