February 22, 2012

Mobile GameDen an arcade in a trailer

Jason and Wendy Brines are taking mobile gaming devices to a whole new level.

Jason and Wendy Brines are taking mobile gaming devices to a whole new level.

The Benton couple last year turned a 36-foot gooseneck trailer, formerly used to haul a race car, into a traveling video-game arcade called the Mobile GameDen.

Up to 22 people can play inside the trailer at one time. When games are mounted on the outside of the trailer as well, the number goes up to 30.

“It’s been very well received everywhere we’ve gone," Jason Brines said.

So far, that includes the Kansas State Fair, private parties, corporate events and fundraisers. The trailer will be parked at this year’s Wichita River Festival.

The Brines got the idea from similar trailers operating in Texas and on the coasts. There’s at least one company selling franchises.

The Brines figured they could put one together on their own. Then, if they succeed, they can be the ones selling franchises.

They installed six 55-inch high-definition screens and hundreds of video games for players to choose from. Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and "point-of-view" simulated shooting games are among the most popular with teens and adults, Mario Kart and Madagascar Kartz with younger children.

The setup allows up to 16 people to compete against one another in games, "which is a blast," Jason Brines said.

The trailer also offers satellite TV and music, along with a few older arcade-style games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

“We keep finding things to do to make it better," Brines said.

The trailer, equipped with heating and air conditioning, can run on its own generator or from power provided on site.

The Mobile GameDen can be rented by the hour or day for parties and other events. Some nonprofits have used it for fundraisers.

“We basically tell people it’s their party – how do you want (to use) it?" Brines said.

One game store rented Mobile GameDen for the release of a new game, allowing customers a place to preview the game before buying. That experience illustrated the apparently insatiable appetite for video games.

“They had several hundred people waiting in line," Brines said.

Both the Brines have other jobs – Wendy as a paralegal and Jason as a safety officer for a manufacturer. Ultimately, their goal is to work on their own schedules and spend more time with their blended family of five children.

Meantime, the Mobile GameDen allows them to teach their kids about running a business and – just maybe – look cool.

“In the eyes of our teens, it keeps us relevant," Jason Brines said.

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