July 25, 2006 - Ed Kills Aliens
Any way you slice it, pizza parlors are beginning to look like olde-time nostalgic relics of days gone by. Ironically, in “ye olde” days, nostalgia was actually used to entice people. Shakey’s Pizza, one of the first parlor chains, featured Dixieland music and snappy old-time slogans to make their restaurant into a fun family destination. Chuck E. Cheese carried this concept to the nth degree with live performances and kid fun zones.
It got to the point where you couldn’t have a pizza parlor without at least a few video games and/or pinball machines. Order a pizza, give the kids some quarters,
and you’d have fifteen minutes of uninterrupted adult time to nurse your beer.
Sure there are still many places in town where the softball team can go after the game, or where the family can split a pie when it’s too hot to cook, but it’s as clear as onion toppings that now-a-days the market is dominated by delivery restaurants who can squeeze more profit from the same amount of tomato sauce and cheese by not giving customers a place to sit down and eat.
Some of the newer family restaurants don’t have any away-from-the-table activities for kids, but they do provide crayons.
Yesterday, the dedicated staff of edhat.com visited the parlors in town to see if they still have games to play. We visited as many as we could.
Once there, we counted the machines on hand. And, if the place had good air conditioning, we even dropped a few quarters and played some games.
We played old-fashioned pinball. We drove racecars through the streets of England. And, we fought aliens with machine guns at the Giovanni’s on Calle Real. Either we weren’t very good at alien killing, or the machine was just very cheap, because after less than a minute of alien hunting, the game was asking for more quarters to continue. Using the reasoning of, “What would we tell Ed?” we cut our losses and moved on. We spent our extra time examining the newest addition to the unusual statue garden on the lawn in front Takenoya Restaurant next store. The newest statue is of a couple of large birds – cranes or herons, we think.
We found that about half of the parlors in town are local chains, Rusty’s or Giovanni’s. These all have video games (the most was 9 games, the least was 4). The other standard parlor types have games as well:
Luigi’s (17 games), Deano’s (9), and Taffy’s (7). The designer pizza restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen or Pizza Mizza don’t have games. Some smaller shops like Uncle Rocco’s, Gina’s, and Gino’s don’t have games either. Woodstock in IV offers free Internet, but has just one little multi-function video game in the corner. Mesa Pizza is small, but still manages to squeeze in two machines.
We hope that we aren’t tilting the machine when we comment that, in the dedicated staff’s humble opinion, most of the machines we saw were sporting dated themes – nostalgic, one might say. Indiana Jones? He's, so last millenium!
Overall we looked at 20 pizza restaurants, and we found 15 of them to have games. That’s an even 75%. In yesterday’s contest, only Antonio, Bruin09, Bloo188, and Cisco2000 had the wherewithal to guess three quarters exactly. Each of the four names where written on small pieces of paper. A dog biscuit was put on top of each paper, and while the dog watched intently, we moved the biscuits around the floor like shells in a shell game. Finally, when the dog was a little bit dizzy and allowed to choose, she picked the biscuit with the name Bruin09 under it. Bruin wins a t-shirt!
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