Category Archives: EZPZ Video Game Party Latest News

Our Sleeper Hit Game | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

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If you’ve read one of posts from a few weeks ago, you know the games that are the most requested. But one older game we sometimes slyly suggest often ends up being one of the most played games of the party.

A first-person shooter perhaps, like Halo, Call of Duty, The Division, Star Wars Battlefront? Nope.

Maybe a sports game? WWE2016 (kinda sports-related, I know), FIFA, NHL? Guess again.

One of the old Nintendo go-to games like Super Smash Bros, Sonic, or the classic Wii Sports? Strike three.

It’s a game from 2010 that we didn’t even know about until relatively recently.

It’s Blur for the Xbox 360.Blur - EZPZ Video Game Parties

If you’ve played it, you know why it’s a big hit in our Mobile Game Theater. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s intense competition. It’s Need For Speed + Spy Hunter.

First off, the tracks are crazy challenging. From San Francisco to New York and other locales, you’ll be busy enough just navigating through these joints.

You can choose all different kinds of cars for your race. Dodge Challengers, Ford Focuses, Audis, Volkswagens, even Land Rovers!

Then you have “power-ups” at your disposal. You can throw down some lightning on the leader to slow him up a bit, you can drop a mine to wreck your friend who’s tailgating you (kinda wish I had that in my own car!), you can even put up a shield to give you brief protection from all that stuff. All this stuff makes for a fun and exciting session of racing.

So if you’re having a Video Game Party with us soon, don’t be surprised if we throw Blur on one of the TVs. And don’t be surprised if racing down the Embarcadero throwing down mines for your friends to run over.

Kids at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey playing Blur
Kids at Shoreline Community Church in Monterey playing Blur

Party of Five | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

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As most of you are aware, EZPZ began bringing Video Game Parties to Central Coast families in January of this year. We’ve been blessed with a steady increase of wonderful customers, but until recently we’ve never had more than 2 parties in a day or more than 3 in a weekend. We broke that barrier with a 3-party day and 5 on the weekend earlier this month!

Making that weekend even more challenging was the fact that we had just returned from visiting family in Hawaii late the night before! We had to get up (relatively) early to clean up the game truck, charge up the controllers and make sure everything was in tip-top shape for our crazy-busy day.

Our first party was Kyle in Salinas. He and his friends from his baseball team spent a lot of time playing MLB The Show and some shooters like Black Ops III. It was really windy that day too, but it didn’t keep some of the boys from enjoying the sunshine while playing Black Ops II.

Next up was Juan in Hollister. We were a little concerned at first because there wasn’t much space in front of his family’s house, but the neighbors were great and allowed us to partially block their driveway (and they were rewarded with some time playing Injustice!). Juan played a little bit of everything, including Giant Connect Four, one of our add-on games!

Wrapping up our big day was Andrew, also in Hollister. Andrew had just finished 8th grade and was celebrating his promotion to high school. He and his friends played a lot of Mortal Kombat XL and Black Ops III, and the ladies got plenty of Just Dance time in as well!

Saturday, the next day, we got to take a little  bit of a breather with one party on the schedule. Darian was celebrating his 9th birthday in North Salinas. The kids enjoyed Halo and Black Ops, and the parents got in the act, playing Mario Kart on one of our outside TVs.

Wrapping up the weekend on Sunday was Elijah, also in Salinas. He and his friends split their time playing shooters and Madden and playing on a HUGE inflatable slide in their front lawn!

Two of that weekend’s parties came to us by way of referral, for which we’re extremely grateful! Any of our wonderful past customers can earn a free 2-hour game party when they refer 5 weekend game parties to us! If you want more information on our referral program, please contact us.

We’re so happy to have such a busy weekend! We look forward to having many more like these in the near future! And don’t worry…no matter how busy we get, we’ll treat you like you’re the only customer of the day.

EZPZ’s 7 Most Requested Games | Salinas/Hollister/Santa Cruz Game Truck Blog

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Here we are, nearing our 5th month of bringing our Mobile Game Theater to Central Coast families and schools, so we thought we’d let you in on some insights as to what our young (and young at heart) customers have been requesting! Without further ado, here are EZPZ’s 7 Most Requested Video Games!

Salinas Monterey Hollister Santa Cruz Game Truck

7. Mario Kart

Mario Kart makes our list mainly because it’s a great game for the non-gamers! The controls are fairly simple, and the game is pretty straightforward. Go fast! Don’t run over any banana peels! Mario Kart is great for our kids in early elementary school as well as parents and grandparents who just want to join in the fun!

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6. NBA 2K16

Let’s face it, this game may not have made the list if it wasn’t for a certain Bay Area team, with their MOST certain MVP point guard, on the threshold of winning their second consecutive NBA title (as of this writing). I would’ve thought that our customers would be fighting over who gets to be Steph Curry, but they’ve been pretty good about taking turns! Now, if they’d just learn not to try to make half-court shots EVERY time down the court…

Salinas Monterey Hollister Santa Cruz Game Truck

5. Just Dance 2016

Our second Nintendo title on our list, Just Dance is mostly a hit with the girls, though it’s GREAT to see the boys show off their moves too! Our last party up near Watsonville also had some moms AND grandmas dancing away as well!

Salinas Monterey Hollister Santa Cruz Game Truck

4. Halo

XBox’s venerable franchise is still a favorite for kids and grownups alike. And unlike most of our other games, Halo can be played with more than 4 players via system link! We had a birthday party near Toro Park last weekend where Halo was being played on 3 of our 7 screens at once! TONS of smack talk being thrown down!

Salinas Monterey Hollister Santa Cruz Game Truck

3. Minecraft

I’ll admit it. Even though I consider myself a gamer, have been for eons…I just don’t get Minecraft. I’m glad kids love it, it’s GREAT for our family-friendly atmosphere…my son’s school even has an elective in Minecraft (they cover school subjects while doing so, like art and geography). Just not my cup of tea. Now I feel old.

Salinas Monterey Hollister Santa Cruz Game Truck

2. Madden 16

Baseball may be America’s pastime, but football is America’s passion. Kids and dads alike love to head to the virtual gridiron! Often our game truck erupts with top-of-the-lungs SCREAMING after a long touchdown pass or a great interception!

And now…our current most popular title:

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  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III

The latest installment of the CoD franchise, Black Ops III is a terrific first-person shooter. Even though it’s rated M for mature, its multiplayer mode is relatively tame, especially compared to story mode. I had two parties this weekend where the parents asked that this game not be played…it’s the only time where kids get sad in a game truck! Once they start playing one of our other great titles, they’re happy again. 🙂

Some of our honorable mentions would include WWE 2016, Star Wars Battlefront, Super Smash Brothers, Mortal Kombat XL and Street Fighter V.

With new games coming down the pike like Doom and The Division, this list will surely need to be updated! Check back with us in a few months!

What’s The FAQ, Jack? | Salinas & Monterey’s Game Truck Blog

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So now that we have a few months of active business under our belts, we’re getting the gist of what our customers like, and what they’re most curious about! So this blog entry is a compilation of the most frequently asked questions I get (not to be confused with our FAQ page that addresses things like company policies, reservation requirements, etc).

“How did you come up with this great business idea?”
I wish it was my idea! Honestly, game trucks have been around for a while; they’re just new to the Central Coast. There’s a franchise called GameTruck that began in 2006 in Arizona…to my knowledge, they’re the first to come up with this unique service. Today there are a few different game truck manufacturers/franchisors throughout the country. Our truck was built (and briefly operated) by Rockin Rollin Video Game Parties in North Carolina. Their owners, Dana and Ed Gainer, are the most honest and down-to-earth of the whole bunch, build a GREAT game truck, and we’re honored to be associated with them.

“Why did you decide to go into the game truck business?”
It was really seeing a need in our community that wasn’t being completely fulfilled. I have a 12-year old son, and he and his group of friends pretty much do the same things over and over for their birthdays: roller skating at Water City in Marina, bowling at Monterey Lanes, pizza and a movie, etc. It used to be Jump-n-Around in Sand City before they got too big.

I had heard about game trucks before – I think there was a Games2U truck on the Big Island of Hawaii, where we once lived – and so I called a game truck business in San Jose. They didn’t return my message. It was then that I realized that a game truck would be a great fit right in here on the Central Coast! This was last August…we drove our game truck from North Carolina back home in December. Here we are in early May, with 4 months under our belt already!

“So your son must really love your new business, right?”
Well, yes and no. I put him to work! The floor of the game truck needs to swept, the controllers need to be sanitized, the TVs need to be unfingerprinted, the seats need to be cleaned and Armor-Alled, and so on. If I need to learn about a new game, then he gets to play with me. 🙂

“Are you a gamer? You must play all the time!”
Yes, I am a gamer, I’d play all day if I could. But…I hardly play anymore! There’s no time! All the things that come with running a business, like planning, bookkeeping, marketing, networking, social media, blogging, maintenance…I have less time for gaming!

“What’s behind that door (the one in the back)?”
I try to come up with something different each time I’m asked this. My office. The bathroom. The members-only club. The kitchen. Truth be told, it’s just a back door. 🙂  I was once asked “is there a downstairs?”

If you have a question that isn’t answered here or on our “real” FAQ page, contact us and ask away!

Making School Fundraisers EZPZ!

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As word gets out about our Video Game Parties, more folks are realizing the fundraising potential that EZPZ Video Game Parties provides to our Central Coast schools.

As of this writing, two local schools are taking advantage of our commitment to our awesome community: Monterey Bay Christian School in Seaside, where we donated a 2-hour Mobile Game Party to their silent auction held in March, and Sacred Heart Parish School in Hollister, who will be providing a Mobile Game Party to the students who are the best walkathon participants next month!

In both cases, we’ve also created promo codes for customers to use when booking their own parties. When the codes are used, we donate 10% of our proceeds back to the school (codes are MBCS and SHPS, respectively).

If your school or non-profit is looking for fundraising ideas, give us a call! We’re happy to do festivals, after-prom parties, sober grad parties, and so on! We just need room for our truck and trailer (about 55 feet) on relatively level and stable ground.

As a father of a middle schooler, I know it’s not easy having to help your kiddo sell all those candy bars, magazine subscriptions, Christmas decorations…the list seems endless. To do that on top of keeping up with homework, chores, the usual busyness of the week is a tall order for students and their parents! Let EZPZ help make it easier for your school community! Call or email us today, and we’ll explore the possibilities!

The Best Day | EZPZ Video Game Party Blog

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Kids, especially the ones celebrating their birthdays, are understandably excited when our Mobile Game Theater pulls up to their Central Coast home. A couple hours (or more) of button mashing with their friends and relatives (without parents limiting their playing time) is pretty much guaranteed fun.

Interestingly, and humblingly (not a real word, I know), two of my recent birthday kids said this:

This is the best day of my life.”

Note there’s no exclamation point. These kids said this not in a moment of exuberance and excitement, but what I perceived as a statement of fact. I find this to be quite humbling.

It’s easy for those of us who own and run video game truck businesses to see every party as just another of hundreds of other events we work. We’re appreciative of each and every customer (well, MOST of us are…there are jerks in every cross-section of people and ours is no exception), but when a birthday kid makes what seems like a genuine statement like this, not only should I take notice, I have to take notice.

Perhaps the birthday kid has had a rough go at it in their short time in this life. Pressure to keep grades up, bullying, family strife, peer pressure…who knows. As the dad of a 12-year old, I know my son is dealing with a lot and needs to blow off steam now and then.

If I can alleviate some of that birthday kid’s pressure with a couple hours of fun with friends, then my business is more than just booking parties, marketing and bookkeeping. It’s a little bit of catharsis, an oasis in a dry land of science projects, chores and soccer practice.

Not every kid is under such pressure, I realize. I’m not saying a game party is anything more than it is: a service I provide. However, if a birthday kid says something like it’s the best day of their life, then I’ll make doubly sure that they’re not disappointed.

Squeezing Out The Bad Guys

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As mentioned elsewhere here on our site, the game truck industry is plagued by one or more affiliate marketing companies, based back east but using toll free numbers and wording on their websites that make it SOUND like their local (like San Francisco Game Trucks dot com), that attempt to book parties at 1.5 to 2 times greater than what most game truck companies charge, then attempt to book a local game truck at their usual rate…of course the marketing company keeps the difference. Often, the marketing company doesn’t find any game truck company who wants to work with them, so no party gets booked. The day of the birthday party comes, no game truck comes, and the poor parents are left scrambling, trying to find out what happened. This has happened dozens of times across the country, but thankfully it hasn’t happened here on the Central Coast (at least that we know of), despite the fact that these sites do sometimes show up when you Google terms like “Monterey Game Truck”.

The good news is that our SEO (search engine optimization) efforts are paying off and these jokers are starting to get squeezed off the first page of Google. Now, usually when you use a search engine like Google to look for a local Mobile Game Theater (or game truck), you’ll see EZPZ and another game truck business up in San Jose at the top of the search results. The 3rd parties/affiliate marketers are starting to be relegated to the second page of Google results (most people won’t go past the first page).

That being said, we can’t emphasize this enough: Please watch out for these 3rd parties. They go by names like Rush Cube, Mega Fun Game Trucks, and so on. To our Santa Cruz neighbors: you’ll probably see San Francisco Game Trucks dot com come up in your search engine results for Santa Cruz Game Trucks. They are an affiliate marketer.

When in doubt, check and see if they have a local address and phone number. If you call them and sounds like you’ve reached a call center, you’re probably dealing with a 3rd party.

Affiliate marketers aren’t all bad; most provide a valuable service to companies with whom they’ve established a relationship. The nefarious companies leeching off our industry (as well as others) often take the customer’s money first, THEN attempt to reach out to local companies. They have yet to attempt to contact us (though we usually don’t answer calls from toll-free or out-of-state numbers); we will not have anything to do with them.

You can help us squeeze these companies off the first page of search engine results by clicking on our site (or other legitimate sites) when you Google “Salinas Game Truck” or “Santa Cruz Game Trailer”. Engaging with us on social media helps too! Lastly, if we’ve been fortunate to have you as a customer recently, please consider leaving a review for us! These actions may seem self-serving, but they send signals to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other data aggregators   that EZPZ Video Game Parties is a real local business.

What IS a Video Game Truck, Anyway?

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Since EZPZ is pretty much the only “game” in town (pun completely intended), it follows that not a lot of people here in the 831 know about Mobile Game Theaters (MGT), or Game Trucks, or Game Trailers. Allow me to explain a little more in depth.

In its most basic form, the MGT starts off as just a trailer…in fact, some people think I’m hauling an expensive car (not unlike the trailers you see in Pacific Grove, Carmel or Pebble Beach during Concours d’Elegance). Instead, the trailer is customized to contain stadium-style seating (comfortable, not those uncomfortable metal bleachers) and all of the accoutrements to house the gaming action.

It’s hard to say when the current trend of video game trucks/MGTs began. One operation began in 2006 and is now a national franchisor. 10 years later, there are now MGTs throughout the US, Canada…even Nigeria! We’re proud to be one of the near-100 game truck owners who got their start from Dana and Ed Gainer of North Carolina, who not only design and build video game trailers, but still do parties and events with their MGT. The Gainers not only make a darn good MGT, they genuinely care about the businesses (and owners) they help launch.EZPZ Video Game Party in Action

Regarding our Mobile Game Theater, it is 32 feet long and contains a total of 7 flatscreen televisions; 5 on the inside and 2 on the outside. The two outside are ideal for games that require movement, like dancing games or “instrument” games like Guitar Hero. One of the TVs inside is called the Action Station, which again can be used for motion-type games. The other 4 TVs are suited for multiplayer games like Halo, Super Smash Bros, Call of Duty Black Ops III, and Madden 16.

The stadium-style seating is double tiered, so there’s plenty of room (24 is about the max inside, 4 outside). Each TV has its own Yamaha high definition sound bar; there’s never any complaint about not being able to hear the game.

The trailer is kept fairly dark, though we keep an entertaining laser light show going throughout the trailer; between that, the TVs, and lighting above and below keeps the trailer safely illuminated.

Lastly, our trailer is climate-controlled. The temperatures don’t get very extreme here on the Monterey Peninsula, but we’re ready if they do, or if we have parties in the warmer Salinas Valley, San Benito or southern Santa Cruz/Santa Clara counties. In fact, as I’m writing this, I booked a party in Hollister…though I’m sure it won’t be as hot as the summer temps can get. 🙂

To see the trailer in action, please visit our Photos page as well as our Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. If you have any questions whatsoever, please contact us!

PS: We now have a quick video showing what a mobile video game party is…click here to go to our YouTube page to see it!

Resolving To Not Have New Year’s Resolution? Nah.

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Ask a group of people about their New Year’s resolutions. Undoubtedly some wag will answer “I resolve to not make any resolutions.” It’s as predictable as death and taxes. While I agree with the general notion that resolutions can be a way of setting oneself up for failure, there’s something to be said about careful goal  setting and, well, resolve.

Admittedly, I’m the worst at planning goals, much less following through with them…but I knew when I started the groundwork for starting EZPZ, I was going to have to break those old habits. Starting a business means good habits all around, including planning goals, schedules, marketing, and so on.

I’ve had plenty of well-meaning folks tell me that this business will take off, that once word gets out I’d be making money hand over fist. Wonderful words, though these will ring hollow if I can’t plan well and follow through with them.

To that end, I’m spending my first Saturday of 2016 pouring over event calendars in our Central Coast community, looking for appropriate happenings that can showcase EZPZ’s awesome video game truck! Don’t be surprised to see our Mobile Game Theater at local events, from festivals to 5k fun runs, from Big Sur to Santa Cruz; Monterey to Moss Landing! On that subject, if you’d like us to bring our “mega fun” game truck to your event, let us know before your date gets booked.

Whether you’re one to make resolutions, or the person who makes a resolution to not make resolutions, let us all make goal setting part of our routine. Wishing all of our neighbors on the Monterey Peninsula, Salinas Valley, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties nothing but health and success.

10 Years, and Still Learning Monterey County

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As I was pulling into the last few of the 5,500+ miles of my trip from Marina to North Carolina and back with our new Mobile Game Theater, my GPS had me take a route I hadn’t used before. Instead of coming up 101 and getting off at the Monterey Peninsula exit, Google Maps had me get off in Chualar and get on River Road which, as you probably know, eventually connects to Reservation Road and gets you to Marina.

Honestly, I was a little concerned. This way was unfamiliar to me, and I was worried about getting stuck in an area that would be difficult to maneuver out of (mind you, despite the cross-country trip, I’m still getting used to driving with a 32′ trailer behind me!)

What a treat it was! I caught a nice glimpse of Chualar, a town I never had been to before (other than passing through on 101), and after going past some farms, got treated to the Las Palmas neighborhood before going under Highway 68 and the home stretch to Marina. The weather was beautiful, so it was a nice (and new) way to come home. My family and I have lived in either Monterey, Seaside or Marina in our 10+ years here, so any time we can learn something new about the great area in which we live, it’s a good thing!

Those of us who live along Highway 1 don’t tend to have the towns in the southern part of the Salinas Valley foremost in our thoughts, but each one has a unique identity. Soledad, King City, Greenfield and yes, Chualar are integral members of our Central Coast community! We look forward to serving these great communities along with those on the Monterey Peninsula as well as Salinas and southern Santa Cruz County.

And no, I had no issues with driving the trailer while going this route. Once I got to where we keep our trailer…well, that’s a different story for another time. 🙂