What would be your perfect playoff experience? Chances are you’ve already enjoyed something that almost qualified for that title. For many of us, some of the best playoff experiences have happened inside the rink surrounded by thousands of fellow fans. The electricity in the air was magical! Alternatively, your previous perfect playoff experience may have been at a great sports bar, with heaping plates of wings and a tense crowd ready to release explosive cheers at the word ‘”GOAL!”
Each year we have a chance to improve on the past. You can’t control if your favourite team will win this year, but there are many other things you can control. With that in mind, I’m going to set the scene and take you through my perfect playoff experience.
Go big (screen) or go home
It’s something of a cliché, and totally self-indulgent, but to do this right I’d host the playoffs in my very own man-cave (if I’m going to fantasize about the perfect experience, I might as well go all out). The main display for this playoff gathering would be a 50″ to 60″ 4K OLED screen. I know some people might be thinking “but Kurtis, you could get something bigger like an 84″ LED Ultra HDTV!” Bigger can certainly be better, and if I was going for the “theatre at home” thing then I might choose something really big. However, for my space, and my playoff party, I want the room to be a little smaller and more intimate: the right TV has to fit that space. Besides, I don’t think it is the size that matters as much to me as the 4k resolution I will get from the television I select. There’s something about a crisp clear display, particularly for hockey games, that enables you to become fully immersed in the game (you can almost feel the chill of the ice on your skin). A 4k screen will make all the difference. The auditory experience will not be underrated either. The TV has to be backed up by an amazing surround sound system. This is especially important come playoff time, where everything from the sharp blast of the referee’s whistle to the reaction of the crowd to each blistering check along the boards, adds to the immersion.
Let’s get this party started
My perfect playoff performance begins well before the drop of the puck. The party starts a few hours before the main show and every good gathering requires an assortment of cold refreshments. Regardless of the space available there’s a range of dedicated bar fridges to do the job. Some are small and affordable, like this Black & Decker. However, for my needs I’d rather go with something like this 4.6 cubic foot Frigidaire: it’s the perfect size and has a transparent door allowing me to choose my next drink, before I open the door.
With that taken care of, it’s time for some pre-game entertainment. For an ultimate playoff experience, my man-cave would be equipped with an assortment of table games like foosball, a pool table … maybe even an arcade cabinet (or two). Since the sky’s the limit here, I’ll take one of each. Also, I’ve always wanted an old fashioned popcorn maker, like the ones you find at pop up carnivals, or town fairs. There is nothing better for providing that smell of fresh popcorn in the air.
Pre-game I’d be operating the BBQ (like this BBQTek 6 burner) serving up burgers and hotdogs. Some of my guests would be gathered around the big TV and enjoying NHL 15 on the PS4 to whet the appetite for the real thing. For everyone shooting pool or playing a game of Street Fighter on the arcade cabinet, a second TV is showing pre-game coverage. It would be something a little smaller, like this Insignia 24inch 1080p LED, mounted high in a corner, making sure everyone gets a good view.
Are you not entertained?
By the time the first period kicks off, everyone would have either eaten, or have something on their plate and have their beverage of choice in hand. As far as the game goes, I envision two teams that are equally fired up so there’s some lively play from the drop of the puck; the opposition capitalizes on some penalties and scores two early on my favourite team; but, of course, my team rallies back and we end the first period tied.
Intermission means it’s time for me to fire up the PS4 to demonstrate my gaming proficiency. With time considerations, a first-person shooter would be a good option. I might choose the recent standout Battlefield Hardline, with its focus on cops and robbers and team based multiplayer. Instead I might prefer Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Though, with its addition of 4 player split screen “couch co-op,” perhaps more people would enjoy if I played Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, instead.
When the second intermission arrives I would introduce the party to one of the newest games available: something I think might blow some minds. It could be a game like zombie survivor Dying Light, with its breathtaking night sequences and beautiful free running navigation, or Evolve with its asymmetrical 5 man multiplayer and horrifying gigantic monsters. Or maybe I’d pop in Bloodborne and really drop some jaws. It’s easy to get sucked into these titles, even with a hockey playoff game on the line, but thanks to the multiple TVs someone will have an eye watching for the beginning of the third period.
Third period and the pressure builds and bam, it’s in the net. Five minutes later, we get an insurance goal, but they quickly get one back. This back and forth frenzied action is the reason why I needed the 4k television. Less than two minutes to go, the other team manages a clean breakaway. Eyes widen, lungs inhale, they shoot … GLOVE SAVE! Everyone goes nuts. Time runs out, we take the win. After some post game showboating and high fives, the evening continues with some post-game interviews and highlights, followed by some more gaming or streaming some Netflix from the PS4 console.
Now that’s what I call a party
So there you have it, a perfect playoff experience, or at least my perfect playoff experience. A combination of some good company and great home entertainment products, with a healthy dose of gaming on the side makes for a fun evening. With the playoff season in mind, maybe it’s time you start asking yourself, what’s your perfect playoff experience?