I've got three kids (the boy kind). I have come to terms with the fact there are video games in my future. Actually, in my now. Mario Kart seems to be everywhere. Groan. But everything in moderation, no? So, when I heard about something called 'video game truck parties' or 'mobile game theaters', I paid attention ... especially considering I have two winter babies requiring weatherproof birthday party options. The appeal (in case it eludes you, like moi)? They're together, shoulder to shoulder, facing down a wall of unfettered screen time ... in some cases joined up simultaneously on the same game. For 120 minutes, they'll barely look each other in the eye, but they'll be comrades, dance champions, gamers.
Here's how it works. You book a 30-foot trailer to show up in front of your house. Before it's due to arrive, you do cake & ice cream in the garage or driveway, and have the kids play a raucous round of kick-the-can in the yard while they await the truck's arrival like you do your sitter on date night. It rolls up, complete with at least four flatscreens, dozens of games (multiplayer types are the focus), seating for 16-20 and an onboard host. The kiddos climb in and bliss out. You retreat to your CLEAN, QUIET house for the next two hours. Mess. stays. outside.
Other things you should know: These parties are recommended for kids who can manage a video game, so generally 6 and up. Most of the companies give price breaks for booking Mon-Thur. All are climate-controlled and capable of accommodating, rain or shine. They do NOT need to plug into your home in any way, as they operate on generators. Finally, they offer a wide variety of games for all ages, but if you know you don't want the kids playing violent ones, tell them in advance so you don't have an onsite showdown with your little guest of honor.
Rolling Video Games of New England
These guys can claim the lowest price prize. $249 Mon-Thur, $329 Fri-Sun for a 2-hour party. They also have a mobile bus instead of a trailer if that's more your style.
We've heard good things about this Shelton-based mom-and-pop operation, including the price being just $285 for 2 hrs.
Game Truck Middlebury
You'll pay a little more for the this one as it's a franchise option, but they think you'll appreciate the difference.
$325 for 2 hours, Mon-Thur; $375 for 2 hours, Fri-Sun.
Games 2 U
Another nationwide company, parties are $339 and up, but they can accommodate up to 24 gamers with their trailers -- 16 inside and 8 on outside screens.
This is the souped up, New York-based version of the experience. $448 for 2 hours, and you get 12 screens (versus 4), 15 individual gaming chairs with sound and rumble (as opposed to a bench or couch).
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