CSUMB & EZPZ – A Great Team! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


As a local business, we’re not only compelled to support local youth and sports, we’re absolutely happy to do it when circumstances allow. So when I met Greg Bistline, the director of development at CSUMB, at a recent Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce mixer, I was excited at his suggestion of bringing our Mobile Game Theater to an Otters sporting event.

True to his word, Greg contacted me the next day, and we arranged for a meeting with Kirby Garry, CSUMB’s athletic director. I wish most of my business meetings were as enjoyable as this was. With my background in sports broadcasting, the three of us had a good time discussing CSUMB’s sports program (and sports in general).

The fruition of our meeting takes place this Sunday, April 23rd, where we (EZPZ) will bring our Mobile Game Theater to the Otters’ baseball stadium for kids (and “kids of all ages”) to enjoy before the Otters take on the Seawolves of Sonoma State (having grown up in Rohnert Park, I’m used to Sonoma State’s mascot being the Cossacks…I guess that’s not in vogue anymore). Pony League players are especially welcome.

We’ll be there from 10am to about noon, and CSUMB takes the field at about 11am. Come for the video games, stay for some great collegiate baseball!

CSUMB’s baseball diamond is part of the Otter Sports Complex, off 2nd Avenue between Imjin Parkway and Lightfighter Drive. Please note that parking permits are required at all times. Automated ticket machines are located throughout campus. For more information, visit the CSUMB Athletics website or CSUMB’s Parking Services page.

Game Trucks & Pizza Parlors…a Great Combo! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

EZPZ Video Game Party & Pizza
Image credit wis.pr

We absolutely love our Central Coast community, but when many of the homes in this area were built, they didn’t exactly have our Mobile Game Theater in mind! Being a region steeped in both the military and agricultural sectors of business, homes in this area were generally built smaller as the residents didn’t need much room.

This often presents a problem for EZPZ’s potential customers: smaller homes mean little or no room to accommodate our Mobile Game Theater, which requires at least 55 feet for both the truck and trailer to maneuver and park. 

So what can our curb space-challenged customers do?

We’ve had several birthday parties at local pizza parlors! It makes for a great “combo” (see what we did there?). Food and entertainment are all there; all the parents have to deal with is cake and decorations!

Not every pizza place is ideal for our game truck, though. A lot of shopping centers don’t have much room for us to maneuver our game truck and therefore can’t host our video game parties. But we’re always willing to check out any suggestions you may have!

For your convenience, here is a list of pizza places we’ve either been to or have spoken with the management about our Mobile Game Theater. In no special order:

Pizza Factory – 926 South Main Street, Salinas – 831-758-3227

We have a had a couple of great parties here. Let Marcus, the manager, know that we’re coming when you reserve your pizza party.

Angelina’s Pizzeria – 22736 Portola Drive, Salinas – (831) 484-1164

Located across Highway 68 from Toro Park, Angelina’s has a little dirt lot nearby where our Mobile Game Theater can park. Note: Angelina’s is generally open after 4pm.

Mountain Mike’s Pizza – Hartnell Plaza Shopping Center, 931 W Alisal St, Salinas – (831) 424-4540

The Hartnell Plaza Shopping Center has plenty of parking, and while it’s unfortunate that the grocery store there doesn’t currently have a tenant, it makes for a convenient place for us to park our game truck. Nice folks there as well.

Round Table Pizza in Marina – 3120 Del Monte Blvd, Marina –  (831) 384-7227

We haven’t done a party here yet but have spoken to the management. They’re open to having our game truck there, but will likely ask you to either buy a 1-day insurance policy or to sign a liability waiver. Our game truck will fit nicely in their back parking lot near the door that opens to the party room.

Straw Hat Pizza – 1053 1st St, Gilroy – (408) 842-2745

Real nice folks here. Reserve your party, let them know we’re coming, and they’ll block off an area adjacent to one of their entrances for us to park.

Do you know of a place – pizza or otherwise – that is able and willing to having EZPZ’s Mobile Game Theater at their establishment? Let us know! Call us at (831) 200-EZPZ…we’d love to expand our roster of great places to host a Game Party/Pizza Party combination!

Of Barbecue, Tacos & Extra Time | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


We get it.

Like us, you’re hard-working parents. Trying to do the best for your kids. Trying to make your dollar stretch as much as possible. You want to extend the fun that your kids are having.

We get it.

Often we’re asked if our video game party can be extended, but when we inform our customers of the $99 per hour price, some of our well-meaning customers go into bargaining mode. Always polite, they try to talk us down to a lower rate, or want to exchange an hour for a plate of food. Once in a while, someone will say “but we’re recommending you to all our guests/friends/family”, a semi-veiled threat that they won’t recommend us if we don’t comply.

We get it. 

But what these well-intentioned folks don’t realize (or they do but press on anyway) is that we have operating costs, just like any other business. An extra hour means our generator is an extra hour closer to having to be either rebuilt or replaced…no cheap feat. An extra hour means more fuel that we’ll have to buy. An extra hour means more wear-and-tear on our equipment, upholstery, heating/cooling system, etc. Food doesn’t pay for our insurance, advertising, upkeep, storage, utilities, payroll, and so on.

Would these folks approach, say, a plumber the same way? “Hey, I know we only hired you to fix that leak in the kitchen, but would you stay a little longer and unplug our bathroom sink? We’ll give you pizza!”

Or an attorney? “Thanks for drafting our wills for us. Can you advise us on a real estate purchase? At half your hourly rate? We’ll tell all our friends about you!”

Again, we get it. We enjoy making your kids happy too. But if you’re inclined to barter for extra time, we’d kindly appreciate the same courtesy you’d show other business professionals.

Another Year, Another Step to Pre-Teens | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


For what seemed like the longest time, my son and his friends had their birthday parties at the exact same place: Jump N Around. Back then, they were next to where Del Monte Gardens (the old roller skating rink) stood in Monterey; they’ve since moved next to Costco in Sand City. Seemingly every party was there. With a dozen or so classmates at any given time, we wore that place out.

But eventually, all the kids got too big/old to go to Jump N Around. Then the parties diversified…somewhat. They’d either be at the bowling alley (Monterey Lanes), Water City Skating, which took up Del Monte Garden’s would-be clientele after they closed their doors, or a park or beach if the weather cooperated. Once in a while, we’d go out to Salinas for a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

About 14 months ago, I wanted to do something different for my son’s birthday. I had heard of game trucks (namely Games2U, which I had seen advertised on the Big Island) and looked to see who was close to us. No one, really. The only company that showed up in my Google searching was GameTruck in San Jose (It turned out that Let’s Party Salinas had a game truck, but didn’t show up in my Googling for some reason). Seeing the need for a different choice for kid’s birthday parties, I investigated the different game truck makers/franchisors, found one I liked, and brought EZPZ’s mobile game theater home to Marina just before Christmas.

One year later, and I’m glad I went ahead and did this. I’ve met just the best, friendliest families. I don’t think I’ve had one bad party or customer experience! The biggest challenge has been getting the word out about EZPZ, as it’s still a new concept in this area, let alone Northern California. My son is now a full-fledged teenager who helps his old man out with the family business when he can. Jump N Around, Chuck E. Cheese and similar venues are great, but when your little ones aren’t so little anymore, I hope you’ll think about giving them a Mobile Video Game Party! Regardless, all the best to you and our wonderful Central Coast neighbors in 2017!

One Reason We Play Multiplayer Games Only | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


In virtually every Video Game Party I’ve done so far, a young guest asks if they can play a game in single-player (or story) mode. And almost always, I have to say no. I have an easy “go-to” excuse: that playing in story mode monopolizes a whole TV and game system for that one guest; multiplayer mode allows other kids to play instead of wait. But sometimes it’s a small party, so that excuse doesn’t work…but I still have to decline most of the time.

The reason is, especially if the game in question is rated M for “Mature” by the ESRB, is this: in story mode, there’s likely to be more adult content. In Call of Duty: Black Ops III, there’s all kinds of F-bombs and other strong language. In the latest Grand Theft Auto installment (GTA V, which is not part of our inventory), one of the playable characters has “relations” with a fellow drug user in his trailer right before killing her boyfriend. As in past GTA games, the playable character is able to go to a strip club as well as patronize prostitutes as well. Needless to say, as a business that caters to families, we don’t want this content to be accessed by underage kids during one of our parties.

Thankfully, the vast majority of these otherwise adult-oriented games don’t include content meant for more mature users while in Multiplayer mode. For example, in Black Ops III, multiplayer mode is just each player trying to shoot each other, with little if any blood. Zombie mode in Black Ops III is a little more intense but again, no f-bombs and no strippers. Perhaps this makes us prudes; so be it. We strive to make our parties fun for everyone; multiplayer mode enhances the “party” aspect of our events by having our guests interact with each other in a fun, positive way.

One Year in the Books! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


One year ago today I was driving westward from North Carolina with my newly acquired game truck, my college buddy Forest along for the ride. We stopped in Tennessee the first night; about this time I was white-knuckle driving across Oklahoma. We were blessed with great weather pretty much the whole time – despite it being December and just missing some pretty nasty ice storms the week before – but the famous winds of Oklahoma were knocking us around pretty good, and the tractor-trailers whizzing past us on Interstate 40 weren’t helping either.

Our game truck taking a rest somewhere in Tennessee.

We stopped in Oklahoma City, our hotel next to a Dave and Buster’s. Seemed odd to go to a place that had video games, seeing that we had a game truck, but dinner and an adult beverage beckoned. The winds weren’t only in Oklahoma, we got slapped around as we went across the Texas panhandle and the large arroyo in eastern New Mexico. Snow flurries greeted us as we approached Albuquerque, our next stop for food and sleep.

Sub-freezing temperatures on a sunny New Mexico morning saw us off (my friend Forest, having not traveled much in the winter, was less than enthused about the cold). We ran into snowy but not undrivable conditions as we went through beautiful Flagstaff and made our way through Kingman, following part of the old Route 66 as we arrived in Barstow, happy that we were back in the Golden State.

Only a half-day trip away now, we drove through the Mojave desert, going through Bakersfield and the Central Valley, getting a taste of I-5 before getting on Hwy 49 towards Paso Robles, and then finally on 101 into Monterey County.

Since then, our year has been one of excitement and learning. We’ve been blessed with TERRIFIC customers, all of whom have been kind, patient and generous. Some of my fellow game truck owners occasionally complain about how they’ve had to throw kids (and some parents!) out of their truck for misbehaving. I have yet to even come close to doing that! Central Coast kids and their families are the best.

Even though a year has passed, EZPZ and our Mobile Game Theater is still a new concept in the Salinas/Monterey area, so we’ll be trying to remedy that with radio/TV ads and more appearances at big local events. In the meantime, if you’re a past customer, please let your kids’ friends know about us! Most of all, thanks for being part of our first year’s success!

Welcome Our New Game Coaches! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


It’s hard to believe that about a year ago, I set the wheels in motion to start a little business called EZPZ Video Game Parties! It was a whirlwind to begin with: various legal/business filings, financing, insurance, market research, yada yada. The year has been a wonderful one, albeit a balancing act between the business and my “day” job. This is the busy season of said job, and it’s also a busy birthday season…so last month I began the search for employees to hold down the fort while I’m off working elsewhere. So meet EZPZ’s newest team members!

David lives in Salinas but is a native of the great state of Michigan. He has plenty of experience in customer service and, fittingly, is an avid gamer. He’ll take care of the heavy lifting in my absence: driving the Mobile Game Theater to your event, making sure everything is running great and that your guests are having an awesome time.

Kat is from Seaside and currently attending Monterey Peninsula College (MPC). She knows console games inside and out and loves working with kids. She’ll be David’s co-pilot, helping him navigate and identify hazards and obstacles when the trailer needs to back up.

Both are dedicated to making sure your birthday kid and their guests have a great time, playing the best multiplayer games and keeping memories that will hopefully last a lifetime!

They’ll be in touch with me in case anything comes up, but we’ll take extra measures to help mitigate any issues that may arise.

I’m grateful to be in a situation where EZPZ is quickly becoming a well-known option for birthday parties, fundraisers and other events, which makes it possible to hire wonderful folks like Kat & David!

Staying Connected to the Central Coast | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck


As mentioned in my bio on our About page, I still often work in sports broadcasting as a graphic operator. This time of year is very busy, as I’m part of a crew that works college football for Fox Sports (usually on FS1). While I’m happy to be working with this excellent crew, there are a couple of disadvantages while trying to run EZPZ Video Game Parties.

The first is probably obvious: if I’m away on the weekends, it makes it hard to keep the business running! Perhaps you’ve noticed very little availability on our reservations page; this usually means that I’m out of town. The good news is that I’ll have some employees soon  who will keep things running while I’m gone.

The other disadvantage isn’t as obvious. I just noticed today that the more I’m away, the less connected I feel to the community, especially the business community. When I’m home, I’m in frequent communication with chambers of commerce, schools, customers, media, vendors, and so on. When I’m on the road, most of that interaction is sidelined…if anything, I send a hastily-typed email saying I’ll contact them on Monday, with apologies.

Today I was running around, talking with the folks at the Monterey County Weekly, running other errands and talking with fellow business owners here in Marina. I’ve always known that participating in the community is vital to a local business, but I realized how little I’ve been doing that lately. Often I’ll shelve such activities with the excuse of being tired or jet-lagged. As a small business owner though, I can’t afford to allow those things to remain on the shelf.

Now that help is on the way in the form of employees, it’s my hope that these two “disadvantages” will evaporate and that EZPZ will continue to grow and thrive, literally bringing fun and games to kids throughout the Central Coast!

The Question That Stumped Me | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog


I know that in my last post, I went over several recent questions that customers have asked. But during last weekend’s wonderful event for middle and high schoolers at the Marina Teen Center, one young man locked me up with a question I hadn’t been asked before:

What’s your favorite game?

Me: Just out of the game truck’s inventory, or mine personally?

Kid: Both!

This was a new one! I hemmed and hawed, and I think I just randomly picked one for the truck (Madden) just to suffice. Usually, I’m asked what game am I currently going through, but not what my favorite is.

When it comes to a lot of things (games, music, food, etc), my tastes depend on “where” I am at the moment…mood, frame of mind, what’s going on around me. If the weather’s nice and I’m being more active, I’m more likely to want to eat more healthy. If I just want to chill, then I prefer listening to jazz. If I’m stressful, then a first-person shooter helps me release that pent-up energy. Point is, my “favorite” things depend on my environment at the time.

If, however, I’m really pressed to answer this young man’s question, here’s my answer (and apologies to him for not really answering him at the time):

EZPZ Owner Picks Red Dead Redemption as favorite game all-time

Rockstar’s spaghetti western version of Grand Theft Auto, released 6 (!) years ago, is still the game I go to over and over again. The gameplay is still fun, the characters (especially protagonist John Marston) are not typical two-dimensional virtual puppets, and the open-world environment is incredibly realistic from the bluish hue you’d expect in the morning/high noon to the reddish colors you would find at sunset in the Sonoran Desert. Rumors flare up now and then about a sequel, something that would make this old gamer actually go to a midnight release for.

NHL 2016

To be honest, no one has asked to play NHL in our Mobile Game Theater. As a hockey fan, I admit to being a little disappointed (especially since the Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks are about an hour away!). But if I’m being honest, this is my favorite game among our game truck inventory. However, this game is kicking my rear end! I’m too good for beginner mode, but the next level up (normal?) has been humbling me. I chalk it up to not having enough time to hone my skills, having to run a business and all. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it…

On the subject of sports games, we’ll be adding Madden 17 to our game menu this week, and we’ll be looking for NBA 2K17 in our mailbox in mid-September.

So there you have it, for whatever it’s worth, my favorite games both in the game truck and my personal collection. Subject to change. 🙂

From The Question Bag | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck


We get questions now and then than aren’t answered in our FAQ section but are certainly worth mentioning.

Do your prices depend on how many kids are at the party? Is there some kind of sliding scale?

A nice mom from Hollister asked this recently. The short answer is no, our pricing structure is fixed. There are a couple of reasons why we don’t adjust according to a head count: 1) Our expenses are the same, whether there’s just one kid or one hundred. Fuel, oil, maintenance, insurance, etc don’t change with the number of guests. 2) It’d be difficult to adjust the pricing “on the fly”. Imagine a parent says there will be 10 kids attending a party, and as the party progresses, 10 more show up. Keeping track of which kids are paid for and which ones aren’t, then charging the parent retroactively is too much of a headache.

Think of us like a taxi or limo…it costs the same no matter how many passengers there are. Except we’re stationary. 🙂

Can we have extra party time, but in exchange for food? How about just 30 minutes more?

Believe us, we understand wanting to stretch your dollar and get the most value for your hard-earned bucks. But as we mentioned above, fuel, oil, wear and tear on our generator, etc are costs we have to bear. We will have employees soon, so extra time means they have to be paid too.

Additional hours are available at $99/hour (no fractions thereof), and are only available if our schedule allows and upon owner’s approval.

Can I rent your add-on games separately?

This one, from a family in Salinas, caught us off guard! No one had asked this before.

If you didn’t already know, we offer 3 “add-on” non-video games that can be ordered with your Video Game Party for an additional $25 each or all 3 for $60 (as of this writing, subject to change).

Our answer ended up being a big YES! As long as our customers are willing to take responsibility for any loss or damage to the games, why not? However, for now this will only be available to folks within 30 minutes of Marina.

Got more questions for us? Hit us up at ezpzgameparty (at) gmail.com…we’ll be happy to answer them!

Treat The Gamer In Your Life To An Awesome Time!

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