Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Florissant man brings the party to customers' doors with mobile video-game arcade

By Ned Hunter Published: February 19, 2014

It may just be the perfect mobile man cave.

Then again, it's likely the perfect mobile kids' birthday party palace, girls' playroom and military competition headquarters.

At its core, though, Rocky Mountain Gamerz is a video gaming trailer meant for anyone who likes to play video games with a group of friends - and prefers the convenience of a straight-to-your-door arcade. Tom Engel of Florissant got the idea for his mobile gaming trailer when he saw a similar but smaller model in 2012 while vacationing in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. When he returned to Colorado, he spent about $55,000 to purchase and upgrade a used trailer that already had some gaming equipment.

In December, he launched his party-on-wheels business, which he believes is the only one of its kind in the Pikes Peak region.

The heart of the business is the 26-foot long gaming trailer, which has four flat-screen TVs and seating for 16 people inside, and two TVs outside that allow an additional eight people to play games at the same time.

Specifically, Engel's trailer is equipped with three Nintendo Wii's, five Microsoft Xboxes and four Sony PlayStations that offer customers a combined 300-plus games. The entire system is linked together, so 24 people can compete in multi-player games that include "Halo," "Call of Duty" and others.

"The military guys love the tournaments where we bracket people and whoever wins moves on," Engel said.

Engel charges $85 an hour with a two-hour minimum. His first job was a birthday party in December in Castle Rock.

"At birthday parties the pizzas get cold because the kids never go back inside," Engel said.

Engel's trailer has its own generator, so it does not draw power from customers homes and businesses.

Engle's 10-year-old daughter, Makayla, fills in as a player when needed. While she's learned how to play more video games than most kids her age, Makayla also has learned "how hard it would be, trying to get to run a business."

Makayla changes the video game cartridges, helps troubleshoot computer and other problems. Her job also has increased her social skills. More importantly, learning how to run a video game business has taught her how to interact with others.

"I am a shy person, and the business has taught me not to be shy around people," she said. "There is no reason to be shy."

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Contact Ned Hunter: 636-0275

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