I don’t know how this discussion got passed up in video games topic, but I just remembered, and had to post something about our high school Chuckie Cheese days.

Chuck E Cheese to most people outlived it’s “coolness” by the time you reached say 12 years old. But Jaime, Pepe, Eduardo and I managed to have a “renaissance” of sorts with that wacky mouse. One day, (I still don’t know the origin as to how and why he had this…) Pepe showed me a key…

“What’s that for?”

“It’s a key that will open a video game…”

“Where?”

“Chuck E.”

“Huh? How did you get it?”

“I made it.” (Only Pepe could do something like this…)

So one night, all us went to Chuck E to check out the key. Pepe led us back to the far reaches of the arcade to this totally random game. It was a game with 4 garbage cans, the garbage cans had cats inside of them. You would insert your token, and then try to throw as many plastic balls into the garbage cans while they openend and closed. Yes, the game was quite stupid. In fact, I truely believed that nobody would have played it.

However, when Pepe inserted his magic key into the coin box… and unvieled the bin FULL of tokens, I immediately thought otherwise. We filled our respective pockets and played games for hours.

Ahhhhhh… free entertainment.

The token snatching soon became a common occurence. It seemed like once a week we would head to the Chuck and play games for hours. In fact, it was because of those tokens, that I feel that Pepe and I were able to become proficient at Super Sprint.

One particular time, Pepe, myself, and a female friend of ours, (I’ll just call her the muppet) went to Chuck E to have some token fun. But this time, Pepe showed me a new key…

“Paco, look.”

“What’s that key for? Another game?”

“No, it’s for that door right there!”

“What?!?!? Are you serious.”

“Yeah, go in there.”

“I’m not going in there! That’s the Chuck E repair center!”

“You have to go in there, I bet there are a TON of tokens in there!”

It was tempting… but I knew it also could be a very bad idea. It was one thing to play garbage ball toss while someone secretly opens the coin bin. That game was hidden way in the back of the arcade. This door was way towards the front, and it’s not like random customers just walked into locked doors. But…

“Ok, you have to knock then if someone is coming so I know when to walk out.”

“Ok.”

So when the coast was clear, it slipped into the secret Chuck E door… Inside was a small room. And it obviously was just what I thought, a repair room. There were a few random tools, some broken game parts, but the mountains of tokens we thought would be in there was nowhere to be found. Just when I was about to give up I did find something of interst. A bin full of random non Chuck E tokens! It was funny… it was full of Scandia, Malibu, and Sex Shop Porno tokens! I grabbed a bunch, and quickly exited. I showed the bounty to Pepe, we had a few laughs, and went about our business collecting wrenches on Super Sprint.

Eventually the Chuck E fun started to get old. Part of the problem was we started to get a bit paranoid that someone at Chuck E was on to us. It seemed like every time we went we saw the same bearded man playing PacMan Mania. Maybe he just liked the game a lot, but we were sure he was undercover Chuck E protection. Soon, it became just us looking out for “Pac Mania”, it was like the fun was just trying to take the tokens without him seeing us.

I think the final straw came (correct me please Eduardo if my story is slightly off) when PacMania finally broke down and went after us. It was myself, Pepe, Eduardo, and Ryan. We were showing our friend Ryan the beauty of free tokens. Not long after we had paid a visit to the garbage cans, Mr. PacMania paid us a visit. I cleary remember running through Chuck E towards the entrance. (We all choose the larger glass doors over the small mouse door to the right) Once we got to the parking lot, Ryan threw his tokens all over the place. We were laughing so hard! I managed to wait until I reached my truck, and threw all of my tokens into the bed. We climbed in, and sped off.

I don’t think we made another visit to Chuck E for months… our cover was blown. But… it was fun while it lasted!