Tuesday, 26 June 2012 09:53

Like, Totally Gnarly Times with Stella’s Lounge and GR Reads

Written by  Meaghan Minkus
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'80s Game Quest: Scavenger Hunt and Pub Crawl
Stella’s Lounge, Grand Rapids
July 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
stellasgr.com, (616) 742-4444

If you ever listened to Duran Duran’s latest hit on your boom box, inquired about the whereabouts of “the beef” or watched anything on Betamax, chances are you’ll dig this event. Stella’s Lounge is hosting an all-day Grand Rapids bar crawl in which teams race to complete 10 challenges, record the evidence on their smartphones and compete to become Grand Mega Champions (complete with a totally tubular trophy).

“I hope to surprise everyone with a few interesting twists,” said Event Organizer Garry Boyd. “There will be some human interaction at some of the checkpoints as well. Challenges will have to be overcome and information exchanged for the teams to move forward.”

The inspiration for the quest comes from a science-fiction novel published at the end of last year – Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. The book chronicles the life of high-schooler Wade Watt’s rise to online gaming fame in 2044, when the world and its global economy are in shambles. Watt, known as Parzival in the massive multiplayer simulation game OASIS, seeks three keys left behind by one of OASIS’ founders, James Halliday. Unfortunately, so is the rest of the gaming universe. Armed with his vast knowledge of ‘80s pop culture (Halliday’s favorite), Parzival and his allies conquer challenge after challenge (playing a perfect game of Pac-Man, quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail word for word, etc.) in an effort to find the keys, achieve invincibility and inherit OASIS.

Boyd calls his discovery of this book a “happy accident.”

“I was reading a review for the book in The Economist, and the next morning, there was a recommendation on my Kindle for it, so I took it as a sign that I needed to read it,” Boyd said. “The Grand Rapids Public Library approached us about doing an event for the book, since the storyline deals with the video game culture of the ‘80s and Stella’s Lounge actually has the original cabinet games mentioned in the book.”

While this quest won’t be quite as daunting as the one in the book, players will still have to be on their game. Boyd doesn’t give away a whole lot of surprises, but he does have some pointers for players.

“There won’t be anything too crazy, but some basic ‘Minute to Win It’ type challenges. You will have to use the camera on your phone to take and submit some photos. You should probably practice your 20-sided dice-rolling skills, and I know there will be extra points awarded for best costumes … Hint.”

If players get truly stuck, they can head back to Stella’s to purchase hints with a donation to the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.

“In the end, that’s why we’re doing this event; to promote the Library’s GR Reads program,” Boyd said. “Who knows? If everyone has a good time at the event, maybe we’ll be able to do something similar every year with the GR Reads program.”


Other Literary Events

Literary Humor: A Fresh Splash of Quirky, Several Pinches of Wit, A Strong Dash

Stuart Manor, Portage

July 18, 12 p.m.

pdl.lib.mi.us, (269) 329-4544

Join the Portage District Library in the beautiful, historic Stuart Manor for a teatime discussion about Shakespeare, Twain, Austen, Sedaris and other literary masters’ work in humor. All of these authors and more were adept at shading characters, plots and subplots with subtle shades of wit and irony to sustain not only their novels but their commentaries on the issues of their time and on the human condition.

Book Discussion – The Language of Flowers

Kent District Library – Comstock Park Branch

July 26, 7 p.m.

kdl.org, (616) 784-2007

On the fourth Thursday of every month, Kent District Library’s Comstock Park branch hosts a “no pressure” book discussion for all who are interested. (Snacks provided!) This month, the group will discuss The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s 2011 book about Victoria, a girl recently emancipated from the foster care system. Victoria finds the only way she can connect to the world and the people around her are through flowers and the Victorian tradition of their different, specific meanings.

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