TRINITY — The kids were packed into the trailer.
Hunched around four TV screens, they played Madden NFL 10 and other video games. Outside, others played sets on Guitar Hero and a long line formed for the laser tag.
Andy Allshouse brought the games for last weekend's grand opening of Generations Christian Church, and when the festivities were over, he packed everything into his mobile unit and was ready to roll to the next party.
"It is pretty sick that there's all that stuff on the go," said Odessa resident Tiffany Morgan, 18. "I mean, he had a lot of stuff to do in just the trailer and parking lot."
The mobile unit is part of the Tampa Bay franchise of Games2U, an entertainment and theater experience on wheels that brings video games and outdoor laser tag to enhance birthday parties and other events. Allshouse, who lives in New Port Richey, has the only running franchise in the Tampa Bay area.
"With little kids, it makes them like a rock star," he said. "They get … their friends and have the trailer come by, and we open the doors, the lasers come out and there's music and the kids are just blown away. That kid's friends will be talking about his birthday party until his next birthday party."
Allshouse, 35, has taken the trailer with Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and the portable laser tag equipment as far north as Hudson, as far south as St. Petersburg, over to Brandon.
"I had been looking for different opportunities for a long time and when I came across it," Allshouse said. "I thought it was unique and all I did was see if (this) market could support it. So far, so good."
Allshouse has been running this franchise since December and says he mostly goes to birthday parties and church youth group events, but can handle tailgating, too, since there is a satellite TV hookup on the trailer. But for now, he's mostly wowed kids (and parents).
He also has plans to head over to USF's campus for upcoming events.
"That's the cool thing about it," Allshouse said. "We have tons of games that anyone can play, that's age and content appropriate and the games appeal to the young kids to even young adults."
When Allshouse first got started, he thought laser tag would be something everyone did while waiting to play the newest video games on the market. He was surprised to see how eager people were to run around and shoot at each other with beams.
"What's nice about it is that it can give kids something to do outside, as well as inside," said Patti Templeton, minister of outreach at Generations Christian Church, where Games2U was set up last weekend. "And then the laser tag, we had the perfect setting in the parking lot for that with the trees and other cover.
"You can tell it's something very popular with any kids, and I think some of the older kids, too, that will be in our youth groups."
And sure enough, at this church event, Allshouse had kids as young as 7 and as old as 18 lining up to see what the trailer with flashing lights and loud music had to offer.
"I think its really awesome," 15-year-old Tarpon Springs resident Jonathan Ruales said during a song set on Guitar Hero. "I've never seen anything like this, so that makes it really rad because it gives things you go to things to do. The way it's set up is really sick."
Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 544-1771.