Here’s an easy way to add a teambuilding element to a company picnic or conference this summer: Hire a mobile video game theater like those offered through Game Trucks (888.602.4263). The nationwide company’s fleet of climate-controlled units can accommodate as many as 16 players at a time and is outfitted with up to five flat-screen TVs linked to at least four Xbox 360s, three Wiis, and one Playstation. The company carries more than three dozen multiplayer games, including Rock Band, Halo, and Mario Kart.
“For teambuilding events, there are four main genres of games we recommend,” says project manager Tawnya Sawyer. “Sports, racing, rhythm, and first-person shooter games, specifically Halo.” Game Trucks operates more than 80 vehicles across 23 states. Their corporate client list includes PayPal, GoDaddy, and Intel.
The company claims that, beyond being just a fun time, playing video games with co-workers can have long-term benefits that translate to the workplace. “Recent studies show that multitasking, decision-making, and creativity are all increased through game play, so players are actually reaching a higher place in terms of communicating and trusting each other,” says Sawyer. “[Beyond free play] we also create programs that are specifically designed to increase cooperation, creativity, problem solving, trust-building, and communication.”
One example is a program created around Mario Kart called “Impaired Driver” that involves blindfolding the player holding the remote control while the rest of the group works together to communicate directions. Costs start from $300 per hour, with a two-hour minimum.
GameTruck pulls up; lets 16 players compete at a time
A unique twist on the standard party or special event recently arrived in Charlotte. Kisha Meekins, 37, and her husband Dwayne, 39, have made their home in Ballantyne with their children, Maxwell, 9 and Mason, 8, and they brought with them a bright green truck your kids may already know about.
The Meekins, and their new south Charlotte based business called GameTruck, can provide a birthday the kids will talk about for years. Keep your house clean and free of the chaos associated with parties, thanks to the Meekins family and their franchise.
Order some pizzas, throw in a cake, and let GameTruck take care of the rest.
“As my husband comes up on retirement from the Coast Guard, we were trying to figure out if there was something else we wanted to do,” said Kisha Meekins. “I had been a teacher for 12 years, and had never thought about owning my own business.”
When Kisha and Dwayne thought about where they wanted to retire, Charlotte was near the top of the list. Charlotte was an up-and-coming city with economical potential and family friendly communities.
Coming from Virginia, Meekins and her family thought Charlotte was the ideal place to relocate and start a new business.
“We’re a video-gaming family, and during the time we were deciding what we wanted to have for a business, our son decided he wanted to have a video-game birthday party,” she said.
In early 2011, Kisha and Dwayne did the research and found GameTruck. Almost immediately they knew that was the business for them.
“It’s not a high-maintenance business with a lot of overhead,” said Kisha Meekins, and that was a feature they loved.
Launched in November 2011, the GameTruck of Charlotte has made a name for itself.
A standard GameTruck party consists of two hours of play for ages 6 and up; 16 players can compete in the truck’s interior. Just like at home, GameTruck parents can look through the library and take out what they deem unacceptable for their kids. And Kisha or Dwayne supervise the parties. “We prompt a safe, cooperative video game play. We encourage the use of kind, supporting words. We’re all there to have fun,” said Kisha Meekins.
The GameTruck Company, with headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., wants to also cater to corporate events, charities and educational programs. One example is a space-based program where the solar system is stimulated in 3D in the GameTruck’s interior. This program is a fieldtrip for after-school programs or summer camps. Dwayne is still working and active in the Coast Guard in Virginia and commutes to Charlotte every weekend to help Kisha run the business. “There are a lot of different elements,” said Kisha Meekins. “We just started in November, there’s a lot that we hope to do, including working in the community as much as possible.”
Dana Blake is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Dana? Email her at email@example.com.
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, debuted in Warren in December 2011.
The owner of GameTruck is Ken Levey, who left a 25-year career in the stock market to open GameTruck. After 25 years as a trader, the business had changed so much that Levey decided to pursue new opportunities.
“The prospects weren’t so great in the stock market anymore so I decided to take my life into my own hands and become a business owner,” Levey said. “GameTruck is such a fun concept and that really appealed to me after years as a trader. We’ve done really well so far with birthday parties and corporate events, and we’re looking forward to adding some educational events for schools and daycares this summer.”
GameTruck offers a premier party experience for both children and adults in an interactive, multiplayer environment that accommodates 24 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. Expansion is underway in Canada and Trinidad and 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.