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Games2U takes the work out of planning parties and events

November 1, 2009 by by Lakeland Parenting Examiner

Games2U - Lakeland

Games2U is available for private parties, school events, and more.

Forget the pinata for your next birthday party.

Instead, jump into the latest addition to the party scene: a Games2u truck.

"We take the party atmosphere to the party," said Leonard Filipkowski, owner of the new Games2u franchise in Lakeland. "It's the next generation of bouncy houses."

Texas-based Games2u specializes in social events like birthday parties and has more than 80 franchises across the nation, three of which are in Florida.

The concept is simple: a 24-foot-long Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van rolls up to the party, retrofitted with five flat screen televisions, connected to three Xbox 360 and Nintento Wii gaming systems.

Each television is connected to a focused surround sound audio system that won't distract other players from their game.

From there, up to 20 kids -or adults- can play, supervised by two to three employees.

"We show up and do everything in the driveway," said Filipkowski. "The parents don't have to do anything."

For larger gatherings, Games2u offers a portable laser tag system, which can occupy another 20 people.

Another possible addition to the party is a giant hamster ball in which participants can roll around.

Filipkowski saw a piece about the company on a news program and then heard about it from friends.

Filipkowski, 46, worked for Publix before leaving to start the franchise. Without being specific, Filipkowski said his initial investment was ''well into the six figures.''

Filipkowski said companies like this are part of the video game movement and compares it to a mobile version of LAN centers (places people go to play online computer games together).

Although Filipkowski knew the risks involved with starting a business, he said the idea is novel enough to make it.

"It's difficult to start a business in trying times," he said. "But it was new enough that it should prove to be a winner."

Prices for an event range from $199 for the video games to $349 for both the games and the laser tag.

"Compared to other types of parties it's not too expensive," he said. "And it's new, fresh and exciting."

Since the franchise opened in late September, Filipkowski has seen a good response.

In the last month, the company has put on about 18 parties.

"Most of the feedback has been great," he said.

The Lakeland Highlands Baseball Park recently reserved Filipkowski's Games2u truck for the fall festival.

"I saw it on a television show and said, 'Wow, that's something different,' " said Steve Ousley, vice president of the park.

According to Ousley, the event was a big hit.

"It was a big success. The biggest thing was the laser tag," he said. "We are looking forward to next year."

Ousley said the concept is great.

"It's not just your run-of-the-mill thing," he said.