Let The Games Begin: Level 2 by Ryan Burger

August 24, 2009 by Mobile Beat

Intensify the fun and boost your business to the next level of profit

In the July 2008 issue of Mobile Beat I wrote about the success my DJ company, BC Productions, was enjoying with our new video game-based entertainment service, which we are calling BCP Arcade. Well, it looks like this should be an annual series of articles, based on the tons of possible “features” that can be added. We have found that we were able to grow our business in additional areas by offering an alternative to carnival games, inflatable rides and casino nights. For a long time we’ve done game shows at after-proms, community festivals and other similar events, but we needed to offer something more to start getting a bigger share of the big budgets these events typically have. While disc jockeys were constantly marketing to these events to be the nighttime entertainment we have found that we are able to get in the door doing unique services like this and get paid more than the DJs, and do less work.

Total Immersion Mobile Entertainment

What our company does, as I described last year, is take the video game experience “to the next level.” It’s not just about setting up a PS2 with the cheap plastic guitars that come with Guitar Hero. We use professionally made and weighted wooden guitars, adding lighting, fog and a backdrop to make it look and feel like the players are actually at a concert. For DDR we use professional pads that are the same as or similar to what Dance Dance Revolution arcade games have. It’s all about having the latest games and dressing them up for a full-immersion experience.

This year we added to the show tremendously with new stations, new hardware and new angles on using the system. We upgraded from 32″ to 42″ plasma screens on Global Truss five-foot stands to increase the effect. We also added a Nintendo Wii station with a similar mounting, carpet-painted to look like a race track. Because of demand we have also added more DDR and Guitar Hero systems. (See our full inventory in the sidebar.)

We also were able to purchase at auction several other games for starting at around $50 each, up to $500 for some hotter, more recent arcade games. These full-size arcade games are brought in to help set the scene and also to allow more people to participate in the arcade experience at the same time. The games are rented out for as little as $100 each, but considering their cost, you have your money out of them almost immediately. To find these games, I recommend searching on Google for arcade auctions near you. SuperAuctions.Com and ArcadeGameSales.Com have multiple locations where they run auctions each year, but most of the opportunities to buy are at auctions done by regional companies you can find through searching.

While you can buy the games for what is already loaded into them, they have a standard called JAMMA that allows you to swap out the boards on many units and put in other games. Most games made from the mid ‘80s through the ‘90s were based on this standard. (For more information, check out Klov.Com and JammaBoards.Com.) JammaBoards.Com sells retro boards that have Ms. Pacman, Centipede, Donkey Kong and many other classics on just one board, so you can provide a selection of games in one cabinet-sort of like a jukebox for arcade games.

Video Game Chain Reaction

“After-prom” events have become a major part of our area’s high school dance and party scene, in some cases even eclipsing the prom in their level of entertainment. Our largest client for after-prom services recently expanded their contracted services by adding disc jockey music to their event. Last year the school was a $2,500 client with three video game stations and two game shows; this year they’re paying more for three video game stations, a game show and a DJ. This after-prom was promoted more heavily than the prom and had the attendance to match. Additionally, they had a community walk-through time where three other area high school committees checked out our services for next year’s after-proms. Since then we have followed up and booked a number of new events.

In 2008 we primarily marketed this new service to the high schools and a couple local community festivals, but in 2009 we turned it up as we pursued other potential clientele. Each of Iowa’s 99 counties holds a yearly fair, most of them in June and July. With July being a slower month than most for us, we decided we wanted to pursue the county fairs and some of the other city celebrations that are held. To dive into this potential market head-first we joined the Iowa Association of Fairs. We even exhibited at the association’s yearly expo, where we set up game show and arcade systems in a hospitality room. By having something unique in our room instead of just the standard fliers and munchies for the guests, we drew some interest in our unique offerings. Although it was only our first time exhibiting, we ended up contracting for five different events for a total amount of about 10 times our cost of exhibiting, We are set to make an even bigger impact next year.

Taking Aim at Success

A new face to BCP Arcade is coming online while this article is being penned. BCPArcade.Com is being revamped to dramatically demonstrate all the services we provide that aren’t directly DJ related. On this site you will find an easily updated, custom-designed, WordPress-driven blog system with a custom design showing the latest additions to our catalog of services, including rental jukeboxes, karaoke systems, airbrush tattoos and all the arcade stuff described above. Please check out BCPArcade.Com if you have an interest in taking your “down time” business to a higher level, check out our site.

Ryan Burger is the Owner/Publisher of ProDJ Publishing, including Mobile Beat and ProDJ.Com. He also helms one of Iowa’s most successful mobile entertainment and event production companies, BC Productions.
The BCP Arcade Inventory

Rockband Show
– 7.5′ x 10′ screen
– XBox 360 – Rockband Box Set
– 2000-lumen LCD projector
– 4 15′ USB extensions
– 2 powered speakers
– Set of PAR cans (LED preferred due to low power draw)
– Basic fogger, when allowed at facility
– Audio and video extension cables

Dance Dance Revolution Show
– 42″ plasma television with Marathon Professional case
– Playstation 2 – DDR (several editions)
– 2 Cobalt Flux Commercial School Pads (cobaltflux.com – see review in MB 115)
– Flood lights on basic chase along with strobes
– 1 powered speaker

DDR Show 2 (2009 Addition)
– 42″ Plasma Television with Marathon Professional Case
– Playstation 2 – DDR (several editions)
– iON Master Dance Pad (ddrgame.com – see review in MB 122)
– Flood lights on basic chase along with strobes
– 1 powered speaker

Guitar Hero Show
– 42″ plasma television with Marathon Professional case
– Playstation 2 – Guitar Hero (several editions)
– 2 Peavey AG Riffmaster Guitars (peavey.com – see review in MB#115)
– Riffmaster Power Station for sound (peavey.com – see review in MB#115)
– Flood lights on basic chase along with strobes (pull from available DJ gear)
– 8′ x 10′ backdrop with concert scene

Guitar Hero Show 2 (2009 Addition)
– 42″ plasma television with Marathon Professional case
– Playstation 2 – Guitar Hero (several additions)
– 1 Dreamgear BC Rich Warbeast (dreamgear.net – see review in MB 122)
– 1 Harris Musical Products Rock Axe (harrismusical.com – see review in MB 122)
– Riffmaster Power Station for sound
– Flood lights on basic chase along with strobes
– 8’x10′ backdrop with concert scene

Wii Mario Kart Show (2009 Addition)
– 42″ plasma television with Marathon Professional case
– Wii with 4 remotes and recharging unit
– 1 powered speaker on tripod

Arcade Games (2009 Addition)
– 5 Multi-Arcade games with retro games installed (Ms. Pacman, 1943, Donkey Kong, etc.)
– Mortal Kombat 4
– Big Buck Hunter
– Golden Tee
– Narc
– Gauntlet 2
– Punch Out
– several others brought in for variety

Mobile Beat Mobile Beat (1728 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business