GAME presents Game Swinging

GAME presents Game Swinging

I know the majority of you are Stateside, so I just thought I’d fill you in with what shenanigans gamers are up to downunder. Video game retailer chain GAME hosted the first Game Swinging event in Sydney recently, hosted by ex-Frag Doll, Ashley Jenkins aka Jinx. Think “speed dating but with the added ingredient of games”. It can sound eye-boggling. Luckily we caught up with GAME Managing Director Paul Yardley to talk Game Swinging.

Basically, you turn up with a game you want to trade. Participants are herded into a purgatory area called the “Loading Bar”. There, the participants are picked by Cupid to play at one of the game stations on the “Trading Floor”, and play a game with a potential mate. Couplings can play for a maximum of 10 minutes. However, if a couple wants to play together for a longer period, they can do so in the privacy of the “High Scorers’ Suite” for a maximum of 10 more minutes.

If swingers want to trade the game or the partner before the ten minutes expires, then all they need to do is hold up the Trade Paddle. Cupid will then pick a new partner or a new game station for them. This could make for some potentially awkward moments – and funny ones for onlookers.

So how did GAME find the inspiration to come up with the idea to play perfect match with gamers? Yardley explains how the idea was conceived.

“We’re a pretty youngish company, most of us are pretty young. We’re just chatting through what gamers like to do and what we could do to make gaming a bit more of an event. A bit more fun,” he revealed. “ Two things struck us: one was that gamers love to trade and with the amount of big games out this year its more important than ever to push a bit of trading and get the best money for those games.”

“Trading is about not committing to any one game, so we looked at what happens to our customers were and it strikes that 18 to 25 year olds are pretty uncommitted when it comes to the opposite sex,” continued Yardley. “You combine the two and you have game swinging. The idea being that you trade your games, you trade your partners and have a great night doing it as well.”

Game Swinging comes hot on the heels of massively popular events and hangouts that cater specifically to gamer culture in Australia. The emergence of gang-buster parties like Insert Coin and the the Mana Bars , the celebrated cocktail gaming bars have been a huge successes with gamers. So how did the gaming community respond to Game Swinging when registrations opened for the event?

“I don’t have the numbers at hand but we were vastly over subscribed, so three to four times than what we could fit. I’m a bit sad we couldn’t fit everyone who wanted to,” he explained, and he could not say how many invitations sent out to the people who registered.

Gamers wanting to participate in the event had to register their interest on the site first, although registration does not guarantee an invite. The invitations are complimentary, the drinks and food are up to the punter to purchase at the bar.Yardley said that the event is aimed at guys and girls, from 18 to 35, who have a love for for games and was keen to meet a potential someone or someones. Whether the event catered to different sexual orientation preferences was a grey area.
Reading the rules on the Game Swinging website, the event excluded gamers interested in same sex relationships. Yardley cleared the air.
“Yeah, look it’s open to everyone, everyone over the age of 18 anyway. And so gay,straight, whatever, bi are more than welcome to turn up,” he clarified. “I guess if we get a massive response from that community, we’ll look at doing a specific one for that community, but we’ll get this one out of the way first. If the demand is there we’ll do one, absolutely.”

As outlined in the terms, by registering “You consent to GAME performing any background checks about you as may be reasonably required to determine your suitability to participate in an Event”. It is an interesting line, what sort of background checks did GAME conduct? Certainly not police background checks or “anything like that” Yardley jovially assured. He went on to explain that checks were instrumental to make sure that everyone would have a brilliant time.

“We have a chat with them about what they played before to make sure they understand what gaming is about and what the event is about,” Yardley explained. “And that they’re not going to turn up and be disappointed – that’s what we were trying to do. We were looking for people who were up for a bit of a laugh and didn’t take themselves too seriously.

“We don’t want people who would turn up and end looking at themselves and going “errr what am I doing here”. Its all having a bit of fun really. That line came out of the lawyers, and to make sure we have people turn up at the event who are into it.”

After tonight, two more Game Swinging events are planned early next year, one in Melbourne on 2, February and another in Brisbane, at a date to be announced.

“Yeah absolutely. We’re hoping the initial event is a great success on Thursday,” Yardley concluded. “So if it all goes off and everyone loves it then we’ll definitely look at doing it again.”

Note: Portions of this post come from Jenna Pitcher is an Editor for the website, as well as Contributing Editor to SideQuesting.