The Sims' Nostalgic Launch

January 7, 2003, 12:00 AM EST

At the Sims Online launch party at the Altman Building, Largent Studios designed and built a Saturday Night Fever-esque dance floor in front of a DJ booth. Go-go dancer platforms flanked the sides of the DJ booth.

Sims Online launch event Altman Building Tuesday, 12.17.02, 9 PM to 12 AM
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There are few things more fun and nostalgia-inducing for twentysomethings than arcade-style video games, junk food and Twister. To celebrate the release of the Sims Online—the Web version of the immensely popular computer game—event producers created a real, life-sized Sims holiday house party at the Altman Building, complete with a host of enticements to make the crowd feel festive and young again. The event was produced by Robin Chandler, publicity manager for California-based Electronic Arts/Maxis, and Michelle Cortright, director of event production at Harrison & Shriftman.

The event was decked out with a kitschy array of pop culture decor for its guests, which included a raft of socialite hosts—Nicky and Paris Hilton, Amanda Hearst and Elisabeth Kieselstein-Cord—and a guest roster of hipsters, fashionistas and club kids. “It was a sitcom Americana theme,” says Chandler, who chose decor elements—like lava lamps, disco balls and Ms. Pac Man and Donkey Kong arcade games—symbolic of the decades represented in the Sims games. A fabulous Saturday Night Fever-esque dance floor (designed and built by Largent Studios) filled the middle of the room, and go-go dancers in sexy Santa costumes (from New York's Unique Entertainment) shimmied on both sides of DJ Mark Ronson, who spun on a platform behind the dance floor.

Next Level Floral Design decorated the entrance to the Altman with fresh Christmas trees spray-painted pink and silver, and faux snow was scattered on and around the trees for a fun, wintry look. Bubble machine-generated bubbles floated above the trees at the end of the entryway, where caterwaiters dressed in black slacks and white muscle tees greeted guests with sour apple and pomegranate cosmos. (For a hilarious frat-party touch, caterwaiters also passed Jell-O shots in paper cups). Retro-modern lounge furniture from Modprop dotted the room, and other amusements included a Twister set-up, a pool table and a strolling Santa and Polaroid photographer who took snapshots of guests. And if that wasn't enough, guests could always retreat to the corners of the room to play Sims Online.

Olivier Cheng Catering & Events designed serving trays decorated with fake grass and Barbie dolls, tiny spinning disco balls and even one made out of the Life board game to match the kitschy menu, which included Triscuits with Cheez Wiz, pigs in blankets and mini Twinkies with Jack Daniels cream.

Suzanne Ito

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