So the former videogame designer bought eight large projection TVs from Costco(COST), covered the walls of his garage with plywood, installed all the popular consoles -- including Nintendo's GameCube, Sony's(SNE) PS2 and Microsoft's(MSFT) XBox -- and loaded up on games like Halo 2, Mario and Mario Kart Double Dash.
An executive with Disney(DIS) at the time, Novis thought of transplanting the entire setup to a truck, making a video arcade on wheels that would appeal to kids. Later that year, he ordered a trailer and created his first GameTruck. It had four 50-inch plasma TVs on the wall, LED lighting and carpeted walls.
"It was a visceral experience, like you were stepping inside of the game," he said. Novis rented out the GameTruck, which could accommodate up to 20 kids, for birthday parties.
"Moms loved it," he said. "We could park it in front of the house and mom could keep an eye on the kids and not deal with any mess in her house."
Novis franchised the idea in 2008 and immediately locked in five franchisees. "Business exploded after that," he said. Today, GameTruck has 79 franchisees operating 85 trucks nationwide. He expects to add another 20 to 25 franchisees this year.
"We have a generation of kids today that are connected by technology but physically isolated from each other," said Novis. "GameTruck is bringing these kids together in a fun way."