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Michigan man turns his video game passion into a business

BATTLE CREEK (AP) — Michael Guest operates a video game truck called Big Tym Fun.

Guest rents out the truck for events across southwest Michigan, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. He does this on top of working a full-time job, so it takes up most of his free time. There’s one overwhelming reason why.

“I just love seeing the kids’ faces light up when they walk in,” he said. “It makes this the most rewarding job in the world.”

Guest, a Battle Creek native, has been in the business for more than three years, but one specific night sticks out in his mind.

He was hosting a boy’s birthday party a couple years ago. The boy’s mother hadn’t shown him any pictures of the truck.

When the boy came inside, he stopped and took a seat on the couch. Guest remembers him shaking and the smile that slowly spread over his face. Then the boy was screaming “Thank you” and hugging his mother.

“He nearly fainted he was so happy to see the inside,” Guest said.

Six years ago, Guest was scrolling through the internet and saw an advertisement for a video game truck in Florida.

“I thought, ‘Huh, what a cool idea,'” he said.

He saw the ad again a few weeks later. This time he started doing research and realized how uncommon video game trucks were across the country, especially in Michigan.

Guest had always enjoyed working with children. He had done volunteer work with Battle Creek Public Schools for nine years, and he loved video games when he was a kid.

It stuck him as an opportunity to turn those passions into a business.

He found Rockin’ Rollin’ Video Game Party, an established video game truck in North Carolina that helped him get started. He opened Big Tym Fun in August 2016.

He had no idea if it was going to be successful.

“I put a lot of money into this, so I needed to make it work,” he said. “I thought that since it’s mobile, I could take it somewhere else if it didn’t work here.”

It turned out that the business in demand. Bookings increased by the week, and he was spending every weekend working parties. Guest was getting so much business he needed help running the operation, so he brought in his nephew, Kylon Wilson, who loves video games and wanted to help.

“I really enjoy helping because I’m only 15, so it’s cool to be working and learning about the business at a young age,” Wilson said.

Wilson said his favorite part of the job is watching the kids see the inside of the bus for the first time.

“Their eyes light up and they start oohing and ahing. It’s pretty cool,” he said.

Guest said his niece and nephews are his driving forces. He wants to get the business to the point where he can pass it on to Wilson when he retires.

“If I can make it into something to pass on to them, then I’ve succeeded,” he said.

The walls of Big Tym Fun are filled with TV screens, arcade lights, speakers and comfortable seating. The colored lights flash while music plays.

Each of the five TV screens has a different video game console attached. Guest has PS4s, Xbox Ones, Wiis and more.