Events and the Influence of Video Games, Books, and Movies


What do events, movies, books, and video games have in common?

Planners have long taken inspiration from movies, books, or trending video games to inspire their event designs – everything from décor and color palettes to food and beverage, venues, and more. For example, consider a Great Gatsby-inspired cocktail party, a Pokémon Go-based teambuilding event, or a Bridgerton-style awards gala. 

But look beyond the surface, those themes, powerful stories, and immersive designs found in video games, books, and movies, can become the foundation of an innovative event design. Trending pop culture references set the tone for an entire event experience. And once defined, the direction drives all planning decisions.  

Let’s look at the influence of these four concepts from video games, books, and movies and how we can use them in our event design process.

Telling a Story

The hallmark of a memorable film, novel, or video game is the theme – the central idea that integrates everything together and the heart of the story that helps audiences connect better. 

When it comes to events, there are two primary reasons to use themes:

  1. The planning team. For planners and organizers, a theme serves as a road map throughout the entire process. It’s easier to make decisions knowing how they align with an overall theme. 
  2. The attendees. Your guests can relate better to the main story and become more emotionally invested in the experience you’re creating.

Well-known author and blogger Seth Godin has said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories that you tell.”

Great stories are the cornerstone of every great event. Incorporating a powerful theme within your event creates an atmosphere to connect with audiences in new ways for them to learn something, change behavior, or embrace a new technique.

Creating—and Activating—Emotional Connections

Think of memorable and moving moments that stick with us for a long time, like good versus evil battles in the Star Wars saga or the powerful love story in the movie Titanic.

These memorable moments stimulate different areas of our brain to work together, which provokes an emotional response. Good stories make us feel something as we experience them — excitement, anger, sadness, empathy, or enthusiasm. And our emotional reaction means we feel something, which helps create a connection.

Because humans are wired for empathy, an engaging event theme has the incredible ability to connect people on a deep, emotional level. Emotional connections draw the audience in; they make them feel something and intrigued to find out more. It brings us together as we feel empathy for one another, laugh together and relate to someone else.

Emotional connections are meaningful because they can be a powerful driver in decision-making that events often facilitate, such as:

  • Do I trust and respect you?
  • Will I buy from you?
  • Do I support this change?

Allowing for Immersive Experiences

Minecraft, Fortnite, Grand Theft Auto, and Super Mario Bros. are among the best-selling video games of all time. Part of their popularity is because it transports players into unique, immersive experiences where they can experience entirely new worlds.

Where else could you be challenged to build whatever you want by breaking and placing blocks like Minecraft? Or travel between medieval, space, superhero, pirate, and more worlds in Fortnite? Duel as two Italian twin brother plumbers to exterminate creatures from the sewers?

The creativity in the worlds featured in these games has shifted event expectations. Today’s attendees expect an immersive event experience that inspires and enlightens them (with proof they can share on social). 

Done right, an immersive experience transforms an ordinary event into an unforgettable experience and makes engaging with a brand feel natural.


Providing Opportunities to Interact

Entertainment platforms, especially video games, allow people of all backgrounds and beliefs to connect. When people are reading, watching a movie, or playing a game, they often take on a perspective that might be unfamiliar to them, which helps to broaden perspectives and ultimately build new communities by connecting people who may otherwise have never met.

Events have long provided opportunities for people to make new connections, develop new relationships, and expand their community. However, the ongoing influence of video games, books, and movies continues to reinforce the importance of events in facilitating those connections on an ongoing basis. 

Especially post-pandemic, event attendees crave the ability to interact and network with each other before, during, and after the event. Event organizers can look at the longevity of gaming communities and book and movie clubs as inspiration for ways to keep their community-engaged year-round.


Pop culture, especially video games, books, and movies, has long played an important role in event design and will continue to do so moving forward. 

For help in bringing your event design ideas to life, technology like Allseated VISION can help planners visualize how to create an event that gets the attention and delivers on attendees’ expectations today.