Chris Hignell from Joypads talks to us about bringing video gaming units to the masses - starting with Millennium Point's Christmas Parties!

Joypads is quite a niche company – can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

As a social enterprise, our main aim is to help young people learn and develop key life skills in a fun and engaging way. We do this by visiting youth clubs with our gaming units.

Gone are the days of reading from dull textbooks. We can now build a medieval fortress, race along speeding freight trains, solve brain puzzles with our favourite characters – all in virtual worlds using the much-loved medium of computer games.

To keep the business sustainable, we also hire our services out on a purely entertainment basis. We use multiplayer modern or retro games to create a fun and sociable environment. This goes down great at weddings, kids parties, Christmas corporate events and much more.

You’re teaming up with Millennium Point for its Christmas party packages. What can guests expect from these Christmas parties?

One of my favourite Christmas memories is opening a brand new Super Nintendo and playing Street Fighter with the whole family. We want to recreate this Christmas joy with some sociable retro games that we all loved growing up. Throw in an amazing venue, food, and a drink or two, and let the festive fun begin.

How do you think Christmas parties have changed recently?

With advancements in technology and the growth of social media, people are craving real-life social interactions. Talking to a stranger on the train always feels a little bit odd but what we have noticed is that people will just pick up a controller and race against a total stranger on Micro Machines 2 and have a blast.

Games are a great icebreaker and a Christmas party is no different. We may not want to be shown tricks from a magician or watch a firework display. Instead, we want to socialise with our colleagues, chat to someone new and have some friendly competition.

Which are your most requested units? Any surprises?

We have recently converted all of our event units to our blackboard design. They are really flexible as we can write challenges, who’s up next, and high scores straight on to the units. We can also change the colours of the LED lights and have them free standing.

We have a few special units in the pipeline, including the world’s largest playable Gameboy and some eco-friendly recycled units. 

We also custom build the units for private buyers and love a challenge. Some designs include a Transformer inspired unit, Lego and Star Wars. A custom gaming unit could make the perfect Christmas present this year. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

How does working with Millennium Point help raise the profile of your brand?

Working with a major venue such as Millennium Point has raised our profile with new customers, and helped get our name out there in Birmingham.

What makes Millennium Point the perfect place to showcase what you do?

The flexible venue space, helpful team, central location, established footfall and audio visual packages make Millennium Point the perfect place to showcase what we do.

What does Birmingham have to offer young entrepreneurs such as yourself?

Birmingham has a lot to offer young entrepreneurs and our business would not be where it is today if it was established in another part of the UK. As a diverse city, Birmingham is a great place to try out new ideas. The lower costs compared to London and other parts of the South East also make it the perfect location for start-ups and other small but growing businesses like ours.

Birmingham also has a vibrant street food scene and we are lucky enough to have worked with Seasonal Markets on a number of events. They have recognised that what we offer is fun, sociable and can entertain people of all ages.

Being in a central location also means we can easily travel up and down the country, which is handy.