Truck full of games? Yeah, they’re real!
When I was a kid I had two consistent fantasies growing up. One was; acquire superpowers and perhaps becoming a less lame version of El Dorado. Two; living in a truck full of videogames. As time passed, it became painfully clear that was I not going to be a member of the Superfriends but, I still held out hope for my truck full of games.
Last week, Harold Goldberg (gaming journalism Jedi Master and author of All Your Bases Are Belong to Us) invited me to check out a GameTruck that was being sent to New York City to be evaluated by us. GameTruck is a franchise that essential sends you a mobile gaming center in the form of a 50 foot trailer that’s decked out with videogames and big screens. From what I’m told this is a big hit for children’s parties and occasionally the nerdy corporate gig. It just so happened that NYC was hit with tropical storm like rain and winds that could lift a cow, but that was not stopping me. I was determined to see this damn truck, I had to. I would fight through waves of knife-wielding banditos in order to see a dream come true. Sadly, the worst thing that happened to me was stepping in an ankle deep puddle and almost losing my hat to the wind.
I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I was half-expecting a janky converted minivan with a couple of screens of Madden 12 being played; fortunately the monster that pulled up proved the contrary. An enormous trailer pulls up covered in crazy green decals after debating where to put the damn thing, the GameTruck gave us refuge from the storm.
Inside we were treated to a truly state of the art set-up. Neon green and red track lighting illuminated the inside of the surprising spacious trailer. I counted five HDTVs each hooked up with a Wii and Xbox 360. In one nook of the truck you had your Kinect station where you would be able to play motion games or wanted to get a session of Guitar Hero without hitting someone with plastic instrument or errant elbow. The coolest feature of the Game Truck is that the side panels can pop off and two TVs magically rise from behind the couch so games can be played from outside the truck. So far, I was impressed with a lot of design decisions mostly because that there is plenty of room for parties to walk around
Once we were able to soak everything in, we decided that some games needed to be played in order to properly evaluate the Game Truck. We walked over to the game wall and tried out NHL 12. We plopped down on the leather couch and had a couple of intense matches where I proved to be the victor. I was inside my dream, I could not be stopped.
My biggest concern is how the games would sound once you have a ton of kids screaming and hollering drown out the game noise. I guess, it’s a small sacrifice for the convenience of having a game party you don’t have to set up yourself.
You could easily cram about twenty or so screaming kids who are provided with plenty of options as far games are concerned. Since the GT is marketing as a kid friendly endeavor, parents can choose which games their younglings could be exposed to by simply going to the gamewall and removing the games they feel aren’t suitable for their party and the kids are none the wiser. Each GameTruck comes with a Game Coach to explain the basics to the non-gamers in the groups and takes care of all the set up pre and post game party. It was explained to us that Game Coaches pretty make sure that everyone gets to play and nothing craps out.
As I was playing, the Game Coach explained to us that the most popular games usually are Super Smash Brothers and pretty much any other fighting game. Each Game Truck comes with its own network setup so intense 8 on 8 Call of Duty or Halo LAN matches usual end up happening at some point during a party.
Normally, GameTrucks don’t make it out NYC but they are looking for a franchisee to take the risk. From what I heard from Kenneth, the owner of this particular truck, GameTrucks are huge in the suburbs and are a great end cap for a kid’s birthday party and build great word of mouth buzz. A NYC Game Truck would have a problem with just finding places to park. We had to set ours near a playground nearly blocking traffic. Prices vary depending on how many people are gaming, and how far the truck has to go but, completely reasonable for the most part.
All in all, my game truck experience was glowingly positive. It managed to match up with my ridiculous man-child fantasy and I think premise of a rolling LAN party is pretty ambitious. From a party goer stand point, you have a lot of game choices and unless you have like fifty people wanting to play at the same time, there’s something for everyone with little wait time. To be honest, I didn’t want to leave the truck once were settled in. Maybe it was the storm, but I really did not want to leave. I can only imagine a pack of kids feeling the same way once their time is up. That’s what they in the end, kids begging their parents for an extra hour. Cue the “CHA-CHING” sound! In case you’re wondering I did ask if I could live in the truck. Kenneth simply said no and I had to move on with my life. Fantasy ruined.
For more info on a GAMETRUCK, check out GAMETRUCKPARTY.COM and find a truck near you.
Thanks again to Kenneth Levey for letting us nerd out in his truck!