Chuck E. Cheese
In a word: So it's come to this.
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Beth, John, JM, Nichole, Sean, and the kids helped eat two pizzas: one cheese and one sausage & mushroom. Kayla ate a chicken sandwich.
The bill was about $60, or $7.50/person, including lots of game tokens.
Beth, JM and Nichole gave Chuck E. Cheese a B-; Sean gave it a C+; Kayla gave it a C; and John gave it a D (see our grading rubric).
It seems unfair to rate Chuck E. Cheese based on the quality of the food. That's just not what it's there for. For a great many people our age, Chuck E. Cheese is an icon of childhood. This has led to strange hypertext experiments and a generation's deep-seated attraction to Skee Ball. (Finally, a game JM can win!)
And air hockey.
Oh, and the actual kids (thanks Sean and Beth, for bringing the family and lending our group some cred!) seemed to like it too.
That said, as John succinctly put it, the pizza fails. On our pizza quality spectrum, no one rated it above the 75th percentile. Kayla's chicken sandwich had an inexplicable piece of sausage in it. She said it was better than McDonald's sandwiches, however.
Between sets of the animatronic band, the videos yielded plenty of surreal fodder too. Footage of Chuck E. Cheese shopping among the bulk bins at what's clearly a co-op? Larry the Cucumber singing the praises of SUV ownership? According to Sean, when he brought the kids there around Christmas the carols were of a distinctly non-secular nature. This was surprising, to say the least.
Chuck E. Cheese does win big points for cleanliness and a helpful and welcoming staff. But you can never go home again, and returning to Chuck E. Cheese twenty years older was a strangely saddening experience.