GameTruck, a national video-game party franchise, rolls into Omaha today.
Inside the brightly decorated trailer are four 50-inch flat-screen TVs, each hooked up to Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii gaming systems.
Or, in other words, heaven for kids. And for parents throwing a birthday party, there's no mess to clean up or children to herd.
“We pull right up, get the kids on board and handle all of it,” said GameTruck Omaha manager Brian Kaiser. “We try to make it as easy as possible.”
Founded in 2006 by former video game developer Scott Novis of Tempe, Ariz., GameTruck has franchises in 64 markets across the country — and one in Nigeria — and was awarded a patent for its mobile gaming system in 2011. The company is available not only for children's parties but also for corporate, school and community events.
GameTruck is essentially a self-contained party on wheels. The climate-controlled game trailer contains seating for 16, along with pretty much every multiplayer video game on the market.
“You kind of feel like a rock star when you pull up to the party,” Kaiser said.
The Omaha GameTruck franchise is owned by Brad Taylor of Des Moines. He's been operating a GameTruck in Des Moines since 2009. The new truck and trailer, which will be available in the Omaha area and Lincoln, cost “well into six figures.”
The GameTruck franchise fees cost from $19,500 to $89,500, depending on the territory's population. In addition, GameTruck charges a monthly royalty fee plus other marketing and support fees.
“You get a base set of games and components when you buy the franchise, but we want to have each TV loaded,” Taylor said.
He said GameTruck party prices for parents are comparable to other options, like movies, pizza places, bounce houses and gyms. More information is at www.gametruckparty.com.
Each two-hour party is operated by a “game coach,” who sets up equipment, officiates games and makes sure everyone has a good time.
“Sometimes we hook up all four systems so 16 people can play the same game at once,” Taylor said. “Sometimes the kids want to play 15-on-1 against the game coach.”
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The GameTruck rolled slowly up to our house as the children stood waiting for a surprise. They had no idea what was in store for them and were thrilled to discover the ultimate video game party truck stopped in front of our house.
As a gamer mom, this ranks as one of the best parties ever. A GameTruck experience is one unlike any other. Everything is completely taken care of for you. The children play inside the truck the entire time, under supervision and adults are free to join in and play or hang out outside. Snacks and drinks were provided outside the truck and children were free to come and go as they pleased. They only went inside to use the restroom and they were back at the games.
Before the children step into the truck I was invited inside to preview the game selection. At my request, all games above the ESRB rating of E for Everyone were removed. A few exceptions were allowed and then I invited the other moms into the truck to confirm that any game still remaining was acceptable for their child to play. GameTruck abides by the parents’ standards and will only allow approved games to be played by the children. This standard helps set parents at ease.
Since the games showing were approved by all the parents in attendance, the children were then invited onto the truck to start the fun. Four giant screens awaited the children with a long couch to play on. Sixteen comfortably fits inside and plays four at a time.
The GameTruck that arrived for our party was equipped with Xbox 360, Wii, and one PlayStation gaming system. If you are an Xbox 360 avid gamer like our family, gamertags are allowed to be used on the truck to continue on with your favorite game or to simply increase your gamer score. Just remember to take your gamertag with you when the fun is done.
Skylanders Giants was the popular game of choice and many children had never played before, including my own children. The biggest wow factor after seeing four screens in a row was the drawer full of Skylander characters.
Children are taken care of with the party manager who sets up every game and controllers. Surprisingly the children were very patient waiting for their game to begin. If you have ever experienced a ruined disk at the tune of $50-$60, it is nice to know party manager handles everything for you while your games are safely tucked away inside.
The truck is completely air conditioned, which is important in the Arizona summers. Additionally, they have two windows we opened because the weather was incredibly beautiful this time of year. As the sun set, the soft glow of the rope lights made for quite a sight in front of our house.
The back of the vehicle had a ramp, allowing wheelchairs to also access the fun. They seriously thought of everything when the truck was designed.
The party lasted for two hours and every time someone needed help or wanted to switch a game, the Party Manager handled it all beautifully. At our party the majority of the parents also played with the children. The only thing that would make it even sweeter is two trucks: one just for the children and one just for the adults. Now that would make an even sweeter party.
As each child left, they were handed a game to take home and enjoy that would work on an iPad, iPhone, or an Android device.
The Party Manager put away all the gaming systems, locked the doors and the truck rolled quietly away in the night as my boys waved. We gathered the leftover snacks and drinks and headed inside. No clean up and everyone had fun. It was only in those moments that the silence began again and I realized the last two hours were filled with four consoles, noise, laughter, but most of all smiles. Definitely the best party ever.
After the party was over and everyone went home my boys tackled me with the tightest hugs I have ever felt. As a mom of boys this totally spoke their love language and they were beyond thrilled. They are already planning to have the party truck return for their birthday.
GameTruck is definitely a way to be known as the coolest mom on the block or perhaps just the title of “Best Mom Ever” from your kiddos might suffice.
GameTruck Can Come to Your Area!
To find out if the Game Truck can come to your town, visit their website and then call for pricing.
Enter to win
One winner is going to get their chance to win a Game Truck experience. You must reside in one of the areas or close to one of the areas listed on the locations page and the party must be on a weekday. Use the Rafflecopter form to enter this giveaway. New to Rafflecopter? Watch this 45-second video on how to enter!
Our family received a Game Truck party for two hours. All opinions and photographs are my own.
Mobile video game theater raises money through ‘Month of Giving’ in July
(Tempe, Ariz.)—GameTruck Licensing, LLC will donate $15,010 to Make-A-Wish as a result of their “Month of Giving” in July. Throughout the month of July, GameTruck celebrated their Month of Giving by donating $15 for every event booked, with a $350 donation cap for each participating franchise owner and/or trailer.
“Aligning with Make-A-Wish earlier this year was an exciting step for our organization, and we are happy to say our first system-wide fundraising effort was a huge success,” said Scott Novis, founder and CEO of GameTruck. “The results for our first Month of Giving exceeded our expectations and we hope to increase our donation each year as we repeat the Month of Giving.”
GameTruck named Make-A-Wish their charity of choice earlier this year and is now a proud sponsor of Make-A-Wish and its mission to enrich the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. GameTruck—a patented mobile video game theater concept featuring flat-screen HDTVs, comfortable seating, a high-quality sound system and the latest video game consoles—and its franchise owners will participate in more than 500 Make-A-Wish chapter events throughout the year.
GameTruck offers a premier party experience for both children and adults in an interactive, multiplayer environment that accommodates 16 or more players. Self-powered, climate-controlled GameTruck trailers are outfitted with comfortable seating, four to as many as eight flat-screen HDTVs, enhanced sound systems, more than three dozen of the latest multiplayer video games and all the major video game consoles (XBOX360®, Nintendo Wii™ and Playstation®3). A GameCoach manages each event, promoting fair, interactive play. Since it was founded in 2006, GameTruck has grown to 60 franchisees operating 80 GameTruck rigs in 150 territories across 23 states and Lagos, Nigeria. GameTruck expects to add 30 new franchisees and 60 new territories in 2012 alone, with long-range projections for 200 to 250 units covering the U.S. and Canada. GameTruck is the owner of U.S. Pat. No. 8,029,368 issued October 4, 2011
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 212,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; nearly 14,000 in 2011 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.