WAILUA HOMESTEADS — During weddings and neighborhood parties, kids have to be entertained and supervised. Joe and Christina Tydingco have a business that provides both.
Game On Kauai, the island’s only mobile gaming trailer, provides a new party experience geared towards kids.
“It’s something different for Kauai,” said Christina, 37. “The kids don’t have that much here, so we figured we’d bring something that the kids would actually enjoy doing.”
Inside a renovated, furnished and air-conditioned 7-by-16-foot trailer are three 40-inch TVs and three game consoles (two Xbox One systems and one Playstation 4). It’s also equipped with surround sound and LED lighting.
In other words, a video game player’s safe haven.
“It was actually just a plain shell trailer when we got it,” said Joe, 36. “I brought it in from Seattle and we built the inside ourselves. It took us about a month and a half to put everything inside, then we were ready for our first party.”
The idea for Game On Kauai began in the fall of 2015 when Joe’s cousins and friends on the Mainland sent him pictures of a game trailer in which kids could play video games at house parties or weddings.
“I thought this was a great idea, you know, because Kauai doesn’t have something like this for kids,” he said. “I figured that we could go out and do our own to bring it over here.”
Game On Kauai was ready to host its first party in January 2016.
Christina, who is a full-time Realtor, said their side business has received a lot of positive feedback — not just from kids, but from adults as well.
“There’s been a lot of feedback from parents. They’re like, ‘Wow, they get to sit and relax and get to enjoy going to the party as well,’” she said. “It works really well because weddings are more for adults, so it keeps the kids contained and they love it. No mess, no decorating, the parents don’t have to clean up anything. A lot of reactions have been that we got a pot of gold.”
The idea behind the trailer was to provide something different for local kids. Not every kid likes going to the beach every day or playing outside, so this allows those types of kids to socialize in a new way.
Kauai Police Activities League is interested “for some kids who weren’t into outdoor (activities) and sports, but they wanted to get them to socialize with other kids,” Christina said. “It’s nice to see.”
Joe, who works for a vacation rental business, calls himself the neighborhood’s favorite uncle. That’s because their four kids and all their friends like to come over and play video games in the trailer during their free time.
“It happens all the time,” he said. “The reaction is awesome. The kids love it and enjoy it.”
The trailer also brings a lot of attention to those who drive by and see it parked outside the family home.
“I open it up and let them check it,” he said. “ People walk around the neighborhoods too, so there’s always good feedback on it.”
But when it’s time for an event or party, Joe and Christina latch the trailer onto the back of their pickup and drive where they’re needed.
“It’s a party rental, so whenever there’s gigs or festivals or events we go,” Christina said. “We go out to corporations or hotels and resorts, so it works really well.”
One challenge the couple faced was figuring out what size the trailer should be, as some roads and neighborhoods in Kauai aren’t as large as on the Mainland.
“We weren’t sure how a big trailer would benefit us because of all the side streets on Kauai, so we kept it a little smaller and easier to maneuver, especially in the smaller subdivisions,” Christina said.
The trailer can be rented for $399 for three hours, and $500 for four hours on Fridays through Sunday. Monday through Thursday is $299 for two hours and $399 for three hours.
Game On Kauai has been used for baby showers, weddings, Project Grad at high schools, Waimea Town Celebration, Coconut Festival, First Saturday in Kapaa and even at Kauai Beach Resort for guests.
Christina said they usually do a few gigs a month.
“I think this is a great idea,” she said. “I’m all about doing something different.”