The GameTruck Experience

The rain was whipping horribly as darkness descended on lower Manhattan. On the face, the pelting rain felt like tornado-spewed hail, biting into the pores. The clothes were soaked within a minute.

Jorge Jimenez and I stood near the Williamsburg Bridge, waiting for the GameTruck, a party rental service that brings videogames to you. The vehicle, we were told, was filled with games, large monitors, consoles, and couches. It would be over 50 feet long. It was supposed to have arrived for our inspection and general merriment during the previous week. But the new truck was coming off the assembly line in Indiana. It didn’t make it to New York City in time.

But then through the maelstrom that was beginning to flood the streets, we could see the truck’s headlights in the distance. It had been delayed again due to tunnel traffic, so anticipation had risen. Jimenez had come from New Jerseyto view the wonder. I had only walked two blocks down to Delancey Street to witness the marvels inside.

Once we were within, the door was shut and for a moment, we were in darkness. White lights came on, and then, a cool, red neon piping that ran like molding along the wall near the ceiling. The innards were huge, like a vast tunnel of gaming. Nearby was a wall of games from which to choose. Most of these were Nintendo offerings for kids: we were told the primary demographic for these party trucks is between 8 and 12. But there were a few M-rated games displayed, and there can be more when the truck is rented by adults.

The GameTruck company has various franchisees around the country. There is no franchise in New York City or on Long Island. The closest is in New Jersey and in Connecticut. Owner/operator Ken Levy had driven the vehicle in especially for us to peruse. Jorge and I sat down on the black couch to play a couple of games of NHL 12, both of which were defensive battles, both of which I lost by one goal, one of which where the goal was disputed, but then allowed. It was all great fun, and I imagined it would have been much greater fun with the hoots and howls of 16 or more adults having a LAN party with Halo or Call of Duty. We wanted to stay longer and indulge for hours. But the GameTruck had to return toNew Jerseyall too quickly.

And there we were again, smacked by the merciless rain and wind. But as we ran to shelter, we still kept the feelings of good-time-induced adrenaline, even as the wind sweeping off the East River picked up to gale force.

-Harold Goldberg

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