Monday, July 24, 2006

Space Aliens

So I've been a bit slow with the vacation photos and stories. But I know I promised a story about the restaurant called "Space Aliens" where we had my nieces' birthday party. Here's a picture of the front. You know you're in trouble when you're about to enter a building that looks like that.

I don't know about all of you, but I liked me a trip to Showbiz Pizza Place or Chuck E Cheese when I was a kid. We only went about once every two years, which kept the novelty up and didn't cause my parents to explode. I wouldn't have understood that as a kid, but now, I most assuredly do. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for living with the creepy robot show and letting us play stupid games like Skee Ball, Whack-a-mole and Pole Position for tickets. I'm pretty sure I got a plastic necklace and comb with my winnings.

The thing is, those were actual games, amusing in and of themselves. You could get tickets for certain score levels while playing a video game like PacMan or DigDug, but the emphasis wasn't completely on winning tickets. You'd play the game at an arcade without the chance to win tickets. At Space Aliens, the games were thinly-disguised intro-to-gambling games. There was one where you put in a token, you picked a color and a ball started spinning in a sort of tub that was spinning in the opposite direction. If the ball landed on the color you chose, you won tickets. I can't remember what it was called- but it should have been called Roulette Jr. Other than the ubiquitous Skee Ball, the games were pretty much casino games.

And my nieces and nephew were right in the thick of it. The kids raked in tickets by the hundreds! My 7-year-old niece traded in 800 tickets! There were these machines that sucked the tickets up and counted them for you. Gabby stood in front of it, shoveling in her tickets like a pro. I think the worst part was that you could trade in tickets for MORE TOKENS. So the more you won, the longer you could keep playing. These seem like they're not the best habits to instill in the young.

There was also the loud music, the flashing lights, all sorts of old sci fi movie posters and, if you were there for a birthday party like we were, you got alien antennae. I'm modeling them below. Sexy, eh?

I should stop being so critical of the place. We had a good time, the kids loved it, and it was all on my very generous sister- and brother-in-law. The food was good! And the air conditioning was divine.

I may be able to go back... in 2 years.

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