Gamers on board
A MATRIX is defined as an environment or material in which something develops.
And for several young and old gamers in Barbados this could be the joy of playing their favourite game when they step aboard the Game Matrix, a mobile video game bus.
The bright yellow bus was parked at the edge of the field at St Gabriel’s School during the St Paul’s Fiesta on National Heroes’ Day, with several children lined up to get inside or disembarking.
Co-owner Michele Richards told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that the bus, which was launched at the event, made setting up for clients at fairs or parties much easier and she, her husband Elon, their four sons or employee Shakiel Stoute could pack away the ten roller suitcases of equipment which they previously carried to events.
“The idea was just birthed, I guess God just put it on my heart and I said, ‘Why don’t we get a bus?, and it moved from there. There was nothing super planned, no extravagant business plan. It’s just that we were already doing [games] and it was time-consuming [about two hours set-up time] and then taking down at the end of the event was another two hours.
“It’s fully air-conditioned, retrofitted, it has all the consoles available,…and we can sit 21 gamers at a time. We have all the games…whatever the kids want. Most of the games are loaded on the system already, some of them we will manually put in – like the older ones, we use the discs and we put them in,” she said.
Although the businesswoman declined to state exactly how much it cost to retrofit the bus, she did say that it was a “double digit” figure.
“We bought a bus from Sun Tours; they had some that were available and we retrofitted it. We sourced the stands from different people. My husband is a computer engineer; he’s very much into IT so he has done all the IT associated work with it.
“We have a UPS [uninterruptible power supply] system and we are just waiting to get the solar panels put on so that’s how we are going to power it. That should be coming in hopefully by next month,” she noted.
Michele said she and her family were determined for the game bus, which is believed to be the first in Barbados, to succeed.
“We’ve put everything into it, and we’re just trusting God and believing He will bless us. We’re Christians and everything has been done through faith. I can truly sing the song We’ve Come This Fair By Faith, trusting on the Lord.
“There were setbacks. It took us about a year to get here so we’re just so grateful and we are all so blessed that the first event was for a church. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. We did have an event before this and we tried really hard to get it ready but it wasn’t. So, we’re glad that this was for a church. We’re grateful and God is going to do what He has to do,” she said.
The businesswoman explained that the customer determines the length of time he/she wants to have the bus. The packages are tailor-made and there are rates for different events. After bookings, they will drive to the location of the event, which she said could include corporate team building exercises.
“You have to do absolutely nothing but come on and have a good time, play and that’s it. For team building, let’s say for example you have two departments, typically the sales department doesn’t mix a lot with the finance department and you want to get everyone in the corporation interacting with each other, we will set it up for you.
“We will take two people from sales and let them compete with people from finance so they mix with each other.
“It’s not always about going to work and going into your own department.”
“We also want to use it as a ministry, even when the young kids come on board and they’re playing, any opportunity you have to talk to them, seize it,” said the former full time teacher.
“We’re not looking back. We’re not forgetting where we came from but we’re not looking back,” Michele said assuredly. (Green Bananas Media)