Yes, last night, to celebrate a friend’s late birthday, we traveled to the magical place known as Chuck E. Cheese’s, home of giant rats, pizza, and arcade games. It was my first time in one of those places since I was like, 11, and it was surely a surreal feeling.
There was no guy in a rat suit, thankfully, but there was a giant animatronic Chuck E. who stood next to a little stage, randomly waving his arms, blinking, and trying to dance or talk. There were also three little screens up towards the ceiling where a weird, ATHF-style Flash cartoon played in between music videos of guys in animal costumes playing basketball with normal humans to the tune of “It’s A Beautiful Morning.” The employees there seemed pretty miserable, except for when they’d wander over and play the basketball game, in which case they’d come to life and actually speak and stuff, before eventually going back to vacuuming and being pissy.
The pizza was pretty good, as were the breadsticks, though a bit expensive. But that’s not the point of the blog. In the arcade, there were some particularly interesting games, but we only got the chance to play two.
The first being Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. Wait, what?
I knew they released a Mario Kart arcade game, our local theater had it a couple of years back, but a sequel? Really? I never heard of this.
Two-player racing didn’t work, as evidenced by the machine eating two tokens, so my friend did one race and I did another, both in a Waluigi circuit as Donkey Kong. The first thing we noticed was the announcer. I’ve never played a Mario Kart with an announcer, and it was TERRIBLE. “DONKEY KONG! Shot an ITEM! Did it MISS?!” “LUIGI! Is falling! BEHIND!” According to Wikipedia, it’s from some Japanese voice actor who is apparently quite popular. Well, I guess that kind of makes sense.
What also makes sense is the fact that one of the new playable characters is…A TAMAGOTCHI. Yes. Tamagotchi. It was interesting enough that this one and the last one had Pac Man characters in them, but why the fuck is there a Tamagotchi?
The other game, in my opinion, was far more entertaining, but just as effed up: Let’s Go Jungle!: Lost on the Island of Spice.
Our cabinet did not look like that, unfortunately. There was nothing to sit in. The game is a rail shooter from Sega, probably put together by the same guys responsible for the House of the Dead games and Ghost Squad. The guns were mounted to the front of the cabinet, fully automatic, with no need to reload. You play as those two ridiculously looking teenagers, the girl having a strange British accent that doesn’t fit at all and the guy having a true Pinocchio nose. The first level had us in the back of a mad Jeep being driven by uhh, no one, and we were shooting at giant insects. It was surprisingly a hell of a lot fun, and I’d love to check it out again, especially since we only made it five seconds into the second level before giant leeches killed us.
Really, that’s the reason I love arcades, is because you can walk in there and see a game cabinet that you’ve NEVER heard of before, and it happens far more often than just walking through Gamestop looking for something to buy. There was another lightgun game I wanted to try called Johnny Nero: Action Hero.
Looks sweet, eh? God I love arcades…