Video games went mobile years ago in handheld devices, so is it any wonder that game room arcades are growing wheels and making house calls around Long Island?
This year, two arcades on wheels have been making the rounds of Long Island birthday parties, bar and bat mitzvah parties and other private events.
In March, GameStreet Inc., owned by Rob and Dawn Gainer of Farmingville, began parking its video-game filled trailer in local driveways. The 20-foot unit is loaded with game systems hooked up to oversize high-definition screens - enough to entertain up to 20 players at once.
Gamin' Ride, a Huntington-based unit of a national franchise run by Charles and Erica Fruscione, formerly of Huntington, and Kevin and Stacy Brown of Centerport, started providing entertainment for parties last month. Besides interior gaming stations, its trailer has exterior panels that pop up to reveal two more screens.
GameStreet was a recent hit at one Long Island home.
Sylvia Gill of Mount Sinai hired the company to entertain at a ninth birthday party for her son, Christopher, whom she described as a "video game freak."
"It was awesome - they had every game that I like," says Christopher. With 25 of his pals, he played his faves: Call of Duty, Halo 3 and MarioKart.
While many boys are attracted to the whiz-bang aspect of video games, girls and older players enjoy the experience, too, says Rob Gainer of GameStreet. The trailer has entertained at kids' parties and gatherings for adults, too.
Although the particulars vary on each trailer, expect lots of bells and whistles when you get onboard.
"There's lots of lights flashing, lot of sounds, and the walls are plush-carpeted to give you that theater experience," says Charles Fruscione, of Gamin' Ride.
About the trailers
A custom-made, heated and air-conditioned 20-foot trailer contains five screens. Inside are 12 gaming chairs with built-in sound-sensitive lights that flash in sync with music and game effects.
GAMES: Mario games, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Harry Potter, Halo and Call of Duty.
TRAVELS TO: Anywhere on Long Island (and beyond).
COST: $449 for a two-hour party (or $349 an hour).
INFO: 800-557-9028, gamestreetparty.com
A 38-foot Mobile Video Game Entertainment Theater was an attraction at last month's Long Island Festival in Huntington and the Oyster Festival in Oyster Bay. Seats vibrate in sync with the game, scent canisters emit a cut- grass smell when you play Madden NFL.
NUMBER OF SIMULTANEOUS PLAYERS: 24 (16 inside, 8 outside)
CONSOLES: Wii, Xbox and PlayStation 3
GAMES: More than 70 games in its catalog, including all the Mario games and newer releases such as Just Dance 2, NBA 2K 11 and Madden NFL.
TRAVELS TO: Nassau and Suffolk counties only.
COST: $399 for a two-hour party ($449 bookings after Nov. 30).
INFO: 516-680-1877, gaminride.com
A 30-foot mobile gaming theater containing 12 32-inch screens, 16 game chairs with "sound and rumble" effects and 12 consoles, including the new Xbox Kinect.
CONSOLES: Xbox, Wii
GAMES: Primarily Xbox and Wii games such as Halo, Reach and Call of Duty/Modern Warfare 2.
TRAVELS TO: Nassau and western Suffolk counties.
COST: $399 for a two-hour party.
INFO: 877-654-4FUN, arcade2go.com