GAMBLING MACHINES AT CHUCK E. CHEESE
Instead of chips, you win tickets, and your parents foot the bill at Chuck E. Cheese.
There are gambling machines at Chuck E. Cheese, the casino for children. Instead of chips, you win tickets, and your parents foot the bill. It’s like a training ground, a way to skirt the law and introduce children to the cheap thrills of gambling. Condition them so the eventual transition is easy. As a child, Chuck E. Cheese inspired a mania like blackout into a world of pure ecstasy. And there are plenty of trappings to make it seem kid friendly, like a bacteria ridden play place, the nasty old balls pit, and of course, that fucking mouse. Where I come from, mice end up in the trap. Clap clap!
Seriously though, it was a realization I only made as an adult. That I failed the gambling test as a child. The way I see it, only some of the games are gambling machines at Chuck E. Cheese. If you throw a quarter in a machine, and then spend fifteen minutes fishing for 3D bass, that’s just arcade style gaming, and a good way for a kid to pass some time. Same with skee ball, Pacman, shooting games, and table hockey. But there are literal gambling machines hidden within this sophisticated architecture of seemingly benign play space.
This is entirely based off of my own personal experience as a kid at Chuck E. Cheese. I don’t know if these “games” are still in play. Here are the two main gambling machines that stand out to me. First one; Insert quarter, light begins launching around this 360 degree table, and your job is to push “the button” at the exact moment the light lands directly in front of you. How close you get determines how many tickets you get. If you nail it, jackpot! One quarter equals one button push. As adults we call this “the slots.”
Second one; Insert quarter, watch quarter slide down ramp, and launch into spinning circle of numbers that determines how many tickets you get. The machine itself was themed toward skiing, all white(cocaine) and you were sending your money down the slopes for a chance at the quick high of winning fifteen tickets. As adults this is roughly “Roulette”.
Resembling casino games is only a part of it. These machines also had significantly lower “playtime” per quarter, and paid out higher in tickets. A few dollars worth of tokens might keep you busy for an hour on regular arcade games, whereas you could burn through a twenty in minutes on the slopes or slots. But if you were there for tickets and prizes, you’d figure out the scam real quick. They want me to waste my time throwing footballs, kicking soccer balls, fishing, and throwing skee. The real booty is on the slopes and light game. And it worked too, as far as tickets are concerned.
But as in life, you’d be left broke while everyone else continued on playing and enjoying the lesser things in life, like physical activity and healthy play. Out of tokens and with a pocket full of useless tickets to show for it, the fun passed before your very eyes. Cashing out was okay, you got ten novelties while everyone else got five. If only there were a way to get more tokens, so many that you could play all day and never have to worry about running out. In Vegas, you can win more money to play with instead of stupid tickets! Maybe when I turn 21…