In case you are planning ahead for a good time, once you can gather your friends and all play together in one place, I thought I'd answer the age old question, what happens at a Gamers Fun Truck party? From beginning to end, here's how we try to make sure you have the best party experience.
The night before parties, we update all of the game consoles that require it. That doesn't mean those wild and crazy video game companies won't release updates again the next morning. Anyone who plays video games knows that can happen. But we watch for big updates that will take hours to complete, and we make sure those are done before a weekend of parties begins.
Our Crew (driver and assistance) will pick up the truck and trailer at least an hour before the first party of the day, to ensure they have lots of time to drive, park, stabilize, set up and get the party started on time. They will make sure they have all the updated consoles, games, cleaning supplies and phone. We schedule one hour between most parties, which is usually enough time to pack up, drive and set up for the next party. Unless they are driving from Okotoks to Auburn Bay!
Once the crew arrives at the party location, they consult with the customer about the best parking location. They will suggest a spot they think is best based on space, angles and level ground. They will also do their best to accommodate the customer's requests. Of course, it is always best if the guests can walk straight from the front door of the house into the trailer!
After the truck is parked, the driver will stabilize the trailer in the front and back so the kids don't get dizzy from the bouncing. And the assistant will get the power and heat going inside the trailer, and start up the gaming consoles. They will pre-load the most popular games for the age group, or the games requested by the customer. When everything is ready to go, they will bring the guests to out to the trailer and get the party started!
Although we are operating in basically a big, black box on wheels, it is usually quite comfortable inside. We have a propane heater which warms things up nicely in the winter, and air conditioning to cool things off in the summer. Our crew monitors the temperature in the trailer, and adjusts as things change. The number of guests, and the time of day can make a big difference in the temperature inside the trailer.
There is a long, comfortable, padded bench in the trailer positioned right in front of our 9 big screen TVs. Guests can choose online or offline games, XBox, Switch, PS 4 and WiiU consoles, and many multiplayer games. The crew will help them decide on games, change games for them, help them re-group for game changes, and even challenge them to a game! Their goal is to make sure everyone at the party has a great time, and gets to play at least one game of their choice. The guest of honour, of course, always gets first choice. With the extra TV's in the trailer, we can have 2 guests playing VR at the same time, while other can watch or join in with regular controllers.
The fun continues for 2 hours! The kids usually yell excitedly at each other, jump up and down with excitement, laugh, and enjoy besting our Game Masters at their favourite games. Then, with a couple of time reminders, the crew will say goodbye to your guests, and watch that they exit the trailer safely and get to the front door of your home. Then the cleaning begins. Every controller is wiped with a disinfectant wipe, as is the bench, and door handles. Everything is tidied and reorganized. The trailer is double checked for items left behind. Stabilizers are removed and the crew is on their way to the next party! Pass the hand sanitizer, please!
If anything, like traffic, mechanical or technical issues, or weather, should cause a party to not run smoothly, or be delayed, you can rest assured that our crew will be doing all they can to rectify the situation, and give you two hours of happy gaming time. They really are the best Game Masters, and they want nothing more than to make each and every party the best party ever.
That's what a Gamers Fun Truck party is like. We hope to see you once it is safe to party once again.
Right now, most of us are limiting our socializing, and spending most of our time at home. We have had lots of cancellations because of social distancing, and it leaves me feeling sad for all the kids who don't get to have their birthday parties as planned. It also makes me think of all the other reasons people may not be able to throw a big birthday party for their child. Although they will not have the Gamers Fun Truck pull up in front of their house, and all their friends arrive to share in the fun and excitement, there are still ways to make birthdays special in a time when big parties and events are not possible.
1. Decorate! Make this a family activity, maybe even including the birthday child in the fun of it. Find unused party items you've saved, even if they are all different colours and themes. If you don't have any leftover decorations handy, make chain streamers out of colored paper, newspaper, magazine pages. Be creative and find things around your home to use to make the birthday space feel special.
2. Food! Order (or make) a special meal. Maybe you order the birthday child's favourite meal, or maybe you make it at home. Make sure its something they love, and don't get all the time. Set the table with fancy dishes and napkins. Sugar the rim of fancy glasses, and fill them with slushy made in your blender with ice and juice, or chocolate milk. (If you sugar the rim of regular glasses, your kids will think its amazing!)
3. Cake! Nothing new here, just make a cake, or the birthday child's favorite dessert. My kids always liked to help with the baking, because then they could lick the bowl after. You don't have to be a cake master, just make something that tastes delicious and it will be perfect.
4. Fun! So, no Gamers Fun Truck, or trampoline place, or even friends coming over. You can still have fun! Play board games, make music, watch a movie, play video games with the kids, make a craft, dance, sing, dress up, anything that your kids love to do. We used to have pajama parties. Everyone put on their favourite pajamas early in the evening, and each time it would be one child's turn to choose. They got to pick the music we listened to, they got to choose a craft, a game, a movie, the snack food. It was really fun and made the child who was choosing feel really special.
5. Presents! Have each member of the family wrap up something for the birthday child, so it feels like they have a few things to open. These could be gifts you've ordered online, dollar store items, or things you've made for them. Another way to change their perspective a bit is to sit down at your computer with the birthday child, or whole family, and ask them to help you choose a charity to make a donation. Maybe its a society that provides birthday parties to less fortunate kids, or maybe its a local charity helping people get what they need during this crisis. Its a great opportunity to talk about how they are feeling about the situation, and who might have bigger needs than theirs.
Whatever you do to celebrate those birthdays during social distancing, I hope you find ways to make it special. Share your ideas int he comments! I know our kids will remember these birthdays that were unlike any other.
This is our favourite time of year here at Gamers Fun Truck! The snow and cold weather (that can make our jobs a little more challenging) has gone. The roads are clear and things are warming up outside, and its time to clean out and air out the winter mustiness from our trailers. Kids can come in and play without worrying about jackets or boots. And the sun is shining!
One of the things we love about this time of year is all the fun Gamers Fun Truck events coming up. School carnivals are always exciting and busy! Stampeders Fanfest and pre-game Fan Zones are one of our favourites, we love to challenge football fans to some Madden or NHL. June is packed with birthday parties, sports team events and end of school celebrations! And the July brings Stampede breakfasts and barbecues! Throw in summer weddings and rolling up to entertain at summer camps, and all of us at Gamers Fun Truck are excited about the upcoming months!
Look for the Gamers Fun Truck at events all over the city this Spring and Summer, and come in for a game or two!
We started Gamers Fun Truck 3 years ago, because we have 3 boys and we thought they would love to have their birthday parties in a video game truck. They were, of course, our invaluable consultants when it came to designing and building the trucks. And they also have worked in the trucks from the beginning. We have all learned a lot along the way, but there is one thing that I didn’t realize about video games, that running this business has taught me. Video games are a great equalizer.
Letting kids play video games gets a bad rap these days. I think parents can all agree, there needs to be some limits, and physical activity should never be replaced with on-screen time. However, there is something about video games that make them, in one way, different than other activities. Everyone can play them. And everyone can play them together.
Over the last three years, we’ve helped kids include their friend in a wheelchair in their party. We allowed kids with physical limitations have a birthday party that all their friends enjoyed. We’ve seen kids on the spectrum play along side their friends of every personality type and ability level. Shy kids play quietly sitting back, while in the same game an excited one jumps up and down and shouts at the screen. And they all have smiles on their faces.
We also see people of every background, age and gender play together. Video games equalize the differences. Adults play with teens and teens play with younger kids. Guests in the trucks switch games, meet and connect with new people, and they instantly have something in common with those new people…the game they all like to play. Players help each other learn new games, challenge each other on their favourite games, and laugh together while playing silly games.
Imagine a birthday party at a gymnastics centre, bowling alley or swimming pool. Those are great parties, super fun, our kids have had them and been to them and they loved each one. But there are some kids who can’t participate. With a party in a video game truck like Gamers Fun Truck, everyone can play. Anyone can find a game they like, compete or cooperate in a virtual world, and anyone can win! It isn’t something we thought of 3 years ago when we started, but it is definitely one of the coolest parts of what we do.