Suppose you want to throw a party — birthday or otherwise — for kids. What are you doing and where are you going to celebrate?
More than 50 different activities or celebration destinations were suggested by readers of the Tulsa World Scene Facebook page.
Splash pad. Pool. Park. Roller skating rink. Trampoline park. Bowling alley. Bounce House or Bounce U. Main Event Entertainment. Incredible Pizza Co. Big Splash. Movie theater. Frozen desserts. My Little Dollhouse. Paint parties. Chuck E. Cheese.
But the most common response would lead you to believe there’s no place like home.
Home was far and away the most mentioned of preferred party spots.
And, sometimes, a party on wheels pulls up in front of your home.
Video game party trucks are a “thing.”
One of them is the Game On Party Truck, which, on a hot day this year, was booked for a party at a Berryhill residence.
Equipped with interior and exterior video screens, the truck (a 32-foot trailer) can accommodate as many as 24 players at a time, including 16 inside the vehicle.
Kids with active thumbs were busy playing Xbox 360 games while operators Jocelyn Guzman and Genaro Blake gave a tour to visitors. Never mind video game technology. It was suggested to Guzman and Blake that the truck’s best piece of technology is air conditioning. Almost simultaneously, they answered “yes!”
“I wouldn’t even call it an air conditioner, but climate control because we can throw parties in the dead of winter,” Blake said, referencing heating equipment that can keep the truck “nice and cozy” when necessary.
Because players can stay inside the truck and because the temperature can be adjusted, Guzman said party hosts can book the truck without worrying about weather.
“In the month of May, you know how it rained pretty much throughout the month? We had a bunch of parties,” Blake said, adding that people called about truck availability because their party plans had gotten rained out. “The worst that can happen is we have some wet footprints on the ground, but that’s about it.”
The Game On Party Truck isn’t the lone vehicle of its kind. Mobile Game Trucks is another option in the Tulsa area.
Guzman is a former Game On Party Truck client. She rented the truck for a party last year and said the children had a great time. She asked the owner if he would be interested in selling the truck. Now it’s a family business, and they have three boys — none older than 10 — who lend a hand.
“The kids normally help us,” Guzman said. “We wanted to teach the kids to help run a business. Being so young, they are learning how to treat the customer right and how to do customer service and public relations, handing out cards and pamphlets and all that.”
Said Blake: “They are the ones who teach us how to set up the games. They already know them, so every now and then we will bring the kids along and they sit with the (party) kids. (They say) ‘You need to log in, you want to do this.’ They already know how to operate every game in here.”
Blake said the first thing on the to-do list is to check with parents about which games they will allow their kids to play. The truck is equipped with more than 50 games. “Minecraft” is the most popular game for males, followed by “Call of Duty,” fighting games and sports games, according to Blake. Girl-friendly games and games for small children are available for partiers.
Mentioning online games and other types of games, Blake said you tend to picture gamers as isolated people who focus on a computer. But, amid a truck full of gamers, he said: “Take a look at this. These kids are a community. They are playing with each other. They are talking about the games. They are having a good time together. It’s actually great community fun. It’s family fun. It’s bringing everybody together. We have had parties where the dads jump in, and now the dads and the kids are making teams for different games. Everybody joins in.”
Paul Ruskoski, an 11-year-old who attends Monte Cassino, plays mostly sports games. Citing a comfortable couch and “a bunch of TVs,” he described the party truck as really cool.
“I enjoy how those little moments where they are having fun,” Guzman said. “I see their smiles. So it is fun for us. It doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like we are part of the party.”