Gamers in East Texas now have another option for indulging in their favorite pastime — a former school bus.
Skoolz Out has been renovated as a traveling video gaming center equipped with six televisions and consoles ready to set up at birthday parties and other events across the region, including Longview.
Joshlyn Jackson said she and her husband, who live in Pollok north of Lufkin, are avid gamers who always dreamed of owning their own business. After he lost his job because of COVID-19, the couple decided to take the leap.
“We wanted a storefront but knew that would probably never happen because it was too much upfront money,” she said. “Tre had the idea of doing a mobile gaming bus. We had previously seen gaming trailers, but that was too boring for our taste, so we decided on a bus.”
Skoolz Out, which launched Dec. 1, offers a wide variety of games, from those geared toward helping children learn to games rated for users ages 18 and older. Joshlyn Jackson said there is something for everyone, and the couple’s main goal is to make sure people have fun.
“No matter your walk of life, you can find a space with us and a game that will match your interests,” she said. “We also want people to learn how to game better and gain the new experiences they can bring to their own gaming at home. Both me and Tre are well-versed gamers and love to teach others how to better their own abilities.”
Joshlyn Jackson said there are many gaming trailers in the Houston and Dallas areas, but she has not found a former school bus serving as a mobile gaming facility.
Gamesters’ Paradise, which started in about 2016 in Longview, offered buses equipped with screens for video- and virtual-reality games. The business closed during the COVID-19 pandemic with a projected April 1 restart date.
“I also believe that adding a tabletop role-playing game like Dungeons and Dragons adds to our whole gaming experience,” Joshlyn Jackson said. “I don’t know if it is unique, but I do know that thus far parents have loved that we also offer younger kid games. Most people who rent us are having parties for their 12- to 14-year-olds. Often those kids have siblings that might not be able to play Modern Warfare, but they can play Paw Patrol.”
The bus can hold up to 25 people at a time, although the Jacksons recommend a guest count of 12, the maximum number of people who can play at one time.
Mini tournaments during scheduled events also are an option to foster friendly competition.
Joshlyn Jackson said the bus, which has heat and AC, is a fun and unique way to bring the party to gamers.
“There aren’t many unique birthday options in the area, so we offer a new and easier way of celebrating not just birthdays but any occasion with the simplicity of staying in your own home,” Jackson said.